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UFC 211: Live event recap and highlights


UFC 211: Live event recap and highlights

UFC 211: Live event recap and highlights

They say everything is bigger in Texas and the UFC brought a suitably huge fight card to Dallas for UFC 211 on Saturday night.

The stellar lineup was headed by a battle for the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship of the world, as champion Stipe Miocic registered back-to-back title defences with a first-round TKO victory over challenger, and former world champ, Junior dos Santos.

It was also a good night for UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who cruised to a shutout decision win over the exceptionally-game Jessica Andrade.

Recap the night’s action in our live blog replay, featuring text commentary, tweets from my press row colleagues in the States and highlight clips.

Simon Head May 13, 20178:04pm

Welcome to MMA365’s live coverage of UFC 211. We’ll be watching the action here in the UK on UFC Fight Pass, then BT Sport 2 and kicking things off from 11:30pm when the first Fight Pass prelim gets underway.

If you’re in the UK and Ireland, here are the all-important TV times:

Simon Head May 13, 201711:35pm

Here we go ladies and gents. The first fights of the night are about to get underway, live on the UFC’s digital streaming platform UFC Fight Pass.

The three Fight Pass prelims to kick off the night are:

Jessica Aguilar v Cortney Casey – strawweight
Gabriel Benitez v Enrique Barzola – featherweight
Joachim Christensen v Gadzhimurad Antigulov – light heavyweight

First up, it’s Christensen v Antigulov. Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier are on commentary duty.

Simon Head May 13, 201711:47pm


Great patience and composure on the mat from Antigulov, who took Christensen’s back and locked up a rear-naked choke to secure the first-round submission win.

That win completed a hat-trick of wins via choke for the Russian, who hasn’t lost since his 10th pro bout, way back in 2013. His career record now stands at 20-4-1, with 15 of those wins coming via submission.

It also stretches his winning streak to 15 in a row. Keep an eye on him as he moves up the ranks at 205.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:00am

While we’re waiting for the next bout to get underway, check out Joe Rogan’s preview of tonight’s co-main event, as strawweight champion of the world, Poland’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk, puts her title on the line against powerful Brazilian Jessica Andrade.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:02am

Here we go. Featherweight action is up next, as Gabriel Benitez and Enrique Barzola go head to head in a battle of former cast members of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:15am

That was a fun, action-packed opening round.

Benitez has been finding a home for his thumping kicks to the body, which are ringing out around the arena like rifle shots. He’s mixing things up nicely with his punches, too.

Barzola landed a hat-trick of takedowns, but none of them really came to anything, with Benitez doing a good job of getting back to his feet quickly.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:21am

Better second round from Barzola, who draws level on my (very unofficial) scorecard after upping his output.

Third and final round could well be a decider. Who’ll take it? Mexico’s Benitez or Peru’s Barzola?

Simon Head May 14, 201712:27am

Big knockdown right on the buzzer from Benitez, but up to that point Barzola was clearly winning the round.

It was a peach of a left hand that dropped Barzola, who looked decidedly wobbly when he got back to his feet after the klaxon.

That knockdown might just have won Benitez the fight. The verdict is next.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:29am


All three judges were in agreement, with Peru’s Barzola earning scores of 29-28 on all three scorecards.

That was an entertaining scrap between two former TUF Latin America graduates.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:30am


Here’s how Gadzhimurad Antigulov took the victory in the opening fight of the night, as he locked up the rear-naked choke for the win.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:31am


Gabriel Benitez may have thought he’d done enough to win it after this final-second knockdown, but the judges all agreed it was Enrique Barzola’s fight. 29-28s all round for the Peruvian.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:34am

Our final UFC Fight Pass prelim is up next, as ‘Cast Iron’ Cortney Casey takes on Jessica ‘Jag’ Aguilar in a 115lb strawweight contest.

This one should be interesting. Casey’s as tough as they come at 115lbs, while Aguilar is a well-seasoned veteran of the sport.

Simon Head May 14, 201712:58am


That one was easy to score. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Cortney Casey, who turned in the best performance of her UFC career to defeat Jessica Aquilar via unanimous decision.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:00am

Nice quote from Daniel Cormier on commentary just now.

“We may love boxing, but the baddest man on the planet resides in the UFC”

Simon Head May 14, 20171:05am

We’re into the televised prelims at UFC 211, with ‘The Texacutioner’ James Vick taking on Marco Polo Reyes in a lightweight contest that should produce action aplenty.

Vick is a huge lightweight with slick boxing skills, while Reyes is a come-forward fighter who’s more than happy to take a shot to give one of his own.

This one should be fun.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:10am


James Vick picked up his timing pretty quickly in the first round, slipping a Reyes right, then countering with a stiff left and a huge right that sent his opponent crashing to the mat.

A few ground strikes later and ref Don Turnage said enough was enough as ‘The Texecutioner’ picked up an impressive stoppage win.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:11am


James Vick picked up his timing pretty quickly in the first round, slipping a Reyes right, then countering with a stiff left and a huge right that sent his opponent crashing to the mat.

A few ground strikes later and ref Don Turnage said enough was enough as ‘The Texacutioner’ picked up an impressive stoppage win.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:15am


Beautiful work from James Vick, who puts away Polo Reyes with ease in Dallas.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:30am

It’s time for some heavy-duty action, with Chase Sherman taking on short-notice Dallas debutant Rashad Coulter in a heavyweight contest.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:37am

Big opening round by Chase Sherman, who looks in fine fettle so far.

His powerful leg kicks have marmalised Coulter’s lead leg to the point that he can barely stand.

Coulter needs to turn things up in the second or he could be out of there if Sherman continues attacking that leg.

Simon Head May 14, 20171:44am


What. A. Fight!

Sherman looked to have Coulter close to finished just through leg kicks, but then somehow the debutant found it within himself to come firing back and the Dallas native badly hurt Sherman.

But with the round winding down and both men absolutely exhausted, a thumping short elbow from Sherman closed the show after a crazy fight.

It wasn’t polished. It wasn’t technical at the end. But boy was it entertaining.

Simon Head May 14, 20172:02am
Simon Head May 14, 20172:03am
Simon Head May 14, 20172:04am
Simon Head May 14, 20172:05am

Up next, a possible fight of the night contender, as Chas Skelly takes on Jason Knight in a featherweight fight the smart marks are VERY excited about.

Simon Head May 14, 20172:07am

Frantic first round, as expected, between Skelly and Knight. Scrambles all over the place as both men tried to get the upper hand in the grappling stakes.

In the stand-up, Skelly’s edged it for me. But Knight looked the more dangerous on the mat. That was a super-close opening round.

Simon Head May 14, 20172:14am

Another round in the books, and another back-and-forth five minutes. The final seconds saw a furious flurry as Skelly caught Knight with a big kick. Who’ll go on to take this in the final round?

Simon Head May 14, 20172:17am


Jason Knight picks up a HUGE win after dropping Skelly with a lovely straight left, step-in uppercut combo, then finishing him with ground strikes.

The ref looked at the action for way too long for my money – Skelly looked done from the moment he went down – but he eventually waved it off and gave Knight a decisive, deserved victory in Dallas.

Simon Head May 14, 20172:22am
Simon Head May 14, 20172:29am

Coming up next, it’s our featured preliminary bout of the night, and it’s a doozy.

Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez takes on dangerous contender Dustin Poirier, and this one can’t be anything other than a barnburner.

Strap yourselves in, this’ll be a cracker.

Simon Head May 14, 20172:57am

The fight is over after Eddie Alvarez hit Dustin Poirier with two illegal knees – one when Poirier had one hand down and one when Poirier was down to one knee.

Ref Herb Dean ruled an accidental foul, meaning the fight was ruled a no-contest, ending what was an absolutely fantastic back-and-forth battle before we could get a satisfactory conclusion.

It’s a huge shame, but hopefully we’ll get to see that fight again. Who knows? Maybe during International Fight Week.

Simon Head May 14, 20172:58am

But what a slobberknocker of a fight it was while it lasted…

Simon Head May 14, 20172:59am

The champ enjoyed it, too…

Simon Head May 14, 20173:13am

We’re now into the pay-per-view portion of the show as we move towards the biggest and best matchups of the night.

Our first main card fight sees former two-weight World Series of Fighting champion David Branch make his return to the UFC to take on tricky Pole Krzysztof Jotko.

Simon Head May 14, 20173:17am
Simon Head May 14, 20173:36am

The fight goes the distance and the crowd didn’t like it. It wasn’t a stellar performance by either man, but Branch’s wrestling and takedowns may have done enough to get him the win here.

Simon Head May 14, 20173:37am
Simon Head May 14, 20173:39am


The judges were split on the result, but David Branch picks up the win on his return to the UFC. The scorecards read 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. It wasn’t pretty, but he’s back off and running again.

Something to build on for the New Yorker.

Simon Head May 14, 20173:46am

One of the greatest lighter-weight fighters in UFC history, Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar, is back in action next against Mexican super-prospect Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodriguez.

A lot of people are high on Rodriguez, but against Edgar he’s facing a world championship-calibre opponent. If he wins, he’ll propel himself right into the featherweight title conversation.

But a win for perennial contender Edgar would put the brakes on the Mexican’s rapid ascent and push his own championship claims once more.

Simon Head May 14, 20173:48am
Simon Head May 14, 20173:51am
Simon Head May 14, 20173:59am

Massive opening round for Frankie Edgar, who just spent five minutes battering Yair Rodriguez on the mat after landing his first takedown of the fight.

Rodriguez’s face is battered and bruised, but he’s still in the fight. He need to stay upright in the second round to stop the fight slipping away on the cards.

That was a clear 10-8 for Frankie. Over to you Yair…

Simon Head May 14, 20174:03am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:05am

Another absolutely dominant round for Frankie Edgar, who is giving Rodriguez an absolute caning here. The Mexican’s left eye is almost completely shut and it wouldn’t surprise me if the doctor calls this one off before the third round.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:07am

The fight is over, and it showed that this sport is all about levels. Looking good at a certain level is all well and good, but until you step in there with an elite fighter the question marks must always remain.

Yair Rodriguez stepped in with an elite fighter tonight and got absolutely smashed. He’ll come back better, for sure, but when you fight Frankie Edgar, you’d better bring your A game.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:09am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:11am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:13am

Coming up next, a pivotal contest at 170lbs as top contender Demian Maia takes on fellow title hopeful Jorge Masvidal. The winner may well find themselves next in line for a title shot.

Maia should arguably have had a shot already, but he now has to negotiate this exceptionally tricky matchup to leave no doubt about his credentials.

Masvidal is good everywhere and seems to have found the best form of his career. If he knocks over Maia here, he’s a serious title threat.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:15am

Unfortunately we’ve missed the announcement here in the UK as BT Sport are on an ad break, but it’s just been confirmed that the UFC will induct former matchmaker Joe Silva into its Hall of Fame this summer during International Fight Week.

You’ll find no arguments against that decision anywhere in the sport. His contribution, right back from the days when he was an exec for the UFC’s original owners SEG, simply cannot be overstated.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:16am

The fight is over (doctor stoppage) and it showed that this sport is all about levels. Looking good at a certain level is all well and good, but until you step in there with an elite fighter the question marks must always remain.

Yair Rodriguez stepped in with an elite fighter tonight and got absolutely smashed. He’ll come back better, for sure, but when you fight Frankie Edgar, you’d better bring your A game.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:20am


Check out some of Frankie Edgar’s handiwork as he dished out a one-sided beatdown to Yair Rodriguez, who had no answer for ‘The Answer’.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:25am

We’re underway in Round 1, and Maia has Masvidal’s back, body triangle locked and is hand-fighting with ‘Gamebred’ to work the space for a rear-naked choke or a neck/face crank.

There’s no more dangerous fighter in the world in this position than Demian Maia. This is not good news for Masvidal, who is in survival mode.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:28am

Masvidal didn’t just survive the round, he finished it unloading some heavy ground strikes on Maia after extricating himself from that submission position.

Maia looked decidedly weary as he made his way back to his corner. Was that his one shot, or can he keep that submission attack going in Round 2? We’re about to find out.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:34am

Second round also goes to Demian Maia on my card. Masvidal had some success with his strikes early in the round, but then Maia got the fight to the mat again and started mixing up ground strikes with advancement of position looking for a submission.

Super-close round that could be scored either way, but I’ve gone for Maia – just.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:41am

The fight goes the distance and it’s all going to come down to scoring. Masvidal had the clear striking advantage and had good success in Round 2 and a little success early in Round 3.

But Maia dominated on the mat, though he wasn’t able to lock up that fight-ending submission.

How do you score two vastly differing disciplines against one another? That’s the task the judges had in this fight. The verdict is next.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:43am


The Brazilian jiu jitsu ace gets the win, then kneels by the cage and asks Dana White for the next shot.

Dana’s response: “You got it”.

The judges scored it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 in favour of Maia and now he has his shot at the title.

And deservedly so.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:46am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:46am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:48am

It’s time for the co-main event, and time for ‘Joanna Champion’ to put her undisputed UFC strawweight title on the line. Jedrzejczyk takes on Jessica Andrade for the 115lb title next.

Simon Head May 14, 20174:56am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:57am
Simon Head May 14, 20174:59am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:07am

Fascinating opening round. Jedrzejczyk peppering Andrade with strikes from range, but the Brazilian seems totally unfussed with them. But when Andrade closes the distance, she can land big takedowns and rough up the champ at close quarters.

Joanna has a huge hematoma on her forehead as a result of that round, which overall was pretty close. I think the champ shaded it, though.

10-9 Joanna.

Simon Head May 14, 20175:12am

Round 2 goes to the champion, and that was a much clearer round to score.

Joanna dominated most of the round, landing repeatedly with that piston-like left jab, and scoring big with a huge head-kick towards the end of the round.

20-18 Joanna.

Simon Head May 14, 20175:13am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:31am

Joanna Jedrzajczyk is cruising to a decision win as we enter the final minute of the final round. Andrade was a worthy challenger who never stopped pushing forward, but she simply had no answer to the champion’s striking.

Jedrzejczyk should win this by a street on the cards.

Simon Head May 14, 20175:31am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:31am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:32am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:33am

The scores are in, and it’s not just a landslide, it’s a total shutout.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk wins each and every one of the five rounds to retain her title, with the judges’ returning scores of 50-45, 50-44, 50-45 in favour of the Pole.

Simon Head May 14, 20175:37am

Champ recognises champ…

Simon Head May 14, 20175:40am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:42am

It’s 5:40am here in the UK and we’re just about ready for bed.

But not until we’ve watched the big guns go toe to toe for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Stipe Miocic v Junior dos Santos is next, and if it’s half as good as the fight they served up the first time they fought, we’re in for a treat.

Simon Head May 14, 20175:47am

“He’s a walk-in-the-park killer.” – Joe Rogan on Stipe Miocic’s walkout demeanour.

Simon Head May 14, 20175:49am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:49am
Simon Head May 14, 20175:57am


Stipe Miocic drops dos Santos then smashes him with ground strikes until Herb Dean steps in.

JDS had success with low leg kicks, but never really got his hands going. Pawed a few jabs, but no right hand, and that left the door wide open for Stipe to step in and throw.

And when he did, he finished the fight.

Simon Head May 14, 20176:01am
Simon Head May 14, 20176:03am

“Too easy. TOO. F*****G. EASY!”

Simon Head May 14, 20176:06am
Simon Head May 14, 20176:08am

It was a fight card that promised much, and UFC 211 delivered plenty.

We had a little controversy sprinkled in there for good measure, but the big fights delivered the goods as both UFC world champions walked out of the American Airlines Center with their belts intact after two very different, but equally dominant, performances.

Thanks for following the updates. The next time I’ll be live-blogging will be from cageside at Wembley Arena for Bellator 179 as Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley welcomes Rory MacDonald to Bellator MMA.

Sports journalist and editor with 18 years’ experience, working on national UK mainstream media coverage of the world's biggest sporting events, from the Olympic Games and World Cups to world title fights and Formula 1 Grands Prix. Covered mixed martial arts for the last eight years for MMAjunkie/USA Today, BBC Sport, BBC Three, BT Sport, The Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Independent.

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