Saturday 7pm, May 13. Dallas, Texas.
THE UFC Heavyweight Championship is on the line at UFC #211 this Saturday in Dallas as Stipe Miocic defends his title against Junior dos Santos.
It was dos Santos who escaped victorious the last time these two met in 2014, but Miocic has been on a tear through the heavyweight ranks since and dos Santos now finds himself as the #4 challenger for the title.
Miocic has won all four fights since his loss to dos Santos, which included a title win against Fabricio Werdum at UFC #198. He has since defended his title against Alisair Overeem at UFC #203 by a stunning knockout which earned him Fight of the Night honors.
dos Santos has had only two fights since his unanimous decision victory over Miocic at UFC on Fox, with a loss at the hands of Overeem by knockout and a last fight win over Ben Rothwell to earn his shot at redemption.
Stunningly, despite Miocic’s recent record and the questionable form of Junior dos Santos, Miocic is the narrow favorite with Vegas and we think bettors can capitalize on this opportunity.
Miocic is the -123 favorite at 5Dimes and that’s great money in our opinion. The man mountain is progressing nicely and although the heavyweight title is hard to hold on to, Miocic believes he’s a fighter on the rise.
“I’m just different, man,” Miocic said. “I’ve gotten better every fight. I’m not declining. I’m inclining every fight and nothing is going to change.”
The confidence is high in the dos Santos camp, with the Brazilian stating that he’s going to knock out the champ.
“I don’t think we will go past the third round this time,” dos Santos said.,”I can guarantee you it won’t be a knockdown like in the first fight, it will be a knockout now.”
“I believe (Miocic) has really evolved, but he can’t use his recent knockouts as a parameter,” dos Santos continued. “I’m different. I’m as strong as him, and I’m the fastest heavyweight in history. Whatever his strategy is, I will win.
“Everybody knows I’m more confident standing, that I have my boxing as my background and that I go for the knockout the entire time. There’s nothing new. If he decides to stand and trade with me, he will go down – and this time he won’t get back up again.”
Dos Santos is talking himself up, but we don’t believe him. His recent wins have come pretty unconvincingly and despite beating Miocic the last time they fought, both fighters have gone in opposite directions since.
Stick with the champion at -123 and we’re predicting he remains the champion throughout 2017.
Jedrzejczyk vs. Andrade
Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will face challenger Jessica Andrade for the Women’s Strawweight Title this Saturday and it should be a cracking co-headlining act.
Jedrzejczyk is undefeated after 13 professional fights and the Polish-born champion has beaten some handy fighters along the way. She defeated Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC #205 last time in the ring, but the real test will come when she faces Jessica Andrade.
Brazilian Andrade doesn’t have an imposing record (16-5), but it’s her recent record which needs to be accounted for. Andrade lost to Raquel Pennington in 2015, but has won her last three fights.
She defeated Jessica Penne via knockout at UFC #199 and followed that up with a round one submission of Joanne Calderwood. A Fight of the Night performance came next against Angela Hill and Andrade quickly found herself with a title fight.
Vegas has Jedrzejczyk as the -166 favorite, which is right on the money and bettors are getting good value for both fighters in our opinion.
-166 for Jedrzejczyk is about the best price you will get for a fighter of her class. Getting better than even money for Andrade is also good value considering her run of form.
Some critics believe Jedrzejczyk could be the best women’s fighter of all time – something she is taking in her stride.
“Ronda Rousey had six title defenses so I want to get to this spot,” Jedrzejczyk said. “If I get the opportunity to fight for a title in a second division, I will do that, but definitely this year I want to be focused on the 115-pound division.
(Moving up in weight) is going to take like a year, but I like to break the records with every fight. I like to break records with the punches or kicks or different things. I like to challenge myself and do some new stuff in my life and explore new things.”
Much like Junior dos Santos, Jessica Andrade believes she will knock the champion out.
“We are very much aware of everything Joanna does well and we are even more aware of what I do well and how those two match. If Claudia (Gadelha) was able to knock her down with a jab, once my straight lands or one of my hooks, I know there’s going to be a party in Brazil,” Andrade said.
“The thing with Joanna, she does have a lot of punching power but it comes a lot from speed and technique. We are very much aware of that. I’m not as technical as her, probably won’t ever be because that’s not the game that works for me.
“I don’t think she can even prepare for someone my size and my strength in her camp. It’s not something very easy to prepare for.
“At some point in those 15 minutes, my hand is going to connect and I’m not going to let her get back up. I’m not going to let her recover. I’m predicting a knockout by the third round.”
UFC #211 fight parlay
There are some great fights on the card and we’ve included them in our four-fight parlay for Saturday night.
We like both Stipe Miocic and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to defend their titles and we have thrown in two more fighters which bettors have had good success with.
Frankie “The Answer” Edgar could give bettors the answer this Saturday as he takes on Yair Rodriguez, who has a good record of 11-1, but hasn’t taken on the likes of Edgar.
Edgar has the more well-rounded game, both standing and on the ground, so we’re expecting a close fight, but ultimately Edgar to win via decision.
Bettors can get -140 for Edgar which is a fair price.
We’re also picking Demain Maia to win via submission over Jorge Masdival, but seeing as Vegas is giving us great odds for Maia to simply win, we’ll take that.
Maia is currently -111 to beat Masdival, despite Maia’s superior ground game and once this fight gets to the ground, it’s game over for Masdival.