How strong is the card for UFC 211 on Saturday from American Airlines Center in Dallas? It’s the first time that Eddie Alvarez is back in the Octagon since losing his lightweight title belt to Conor McGregor, yet Alvarez’s bout with the rising Dustin Poirier is relegated to the prelims.
The main event from Big D is a heavyweight title bout and rematch between current champion Stipe Miocic and fourth-ranked challenger Junior dos Santos. Miocic is trying to tie a UFC record with a second successful defense of that belt. Heavyweight champions simply don’t hold their titles long in that brutal division. Miocic is a -140 betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with dos Santos at +110.
These two fought in December 2014 at UFC on Fox 13 and Dos Santos took a unanimous decision in a back-and-forth close battle. Dos Santos was a heavy -480 favorite that night with Miocic at +300. Dos Santos, a 33-year-old Brazilian, won the heavyweight belt in November 2011 with an upset of Cain Velasquez (in just 34 seconds) and defended the crown successfully with a second-round TKO over MMA legend Frank Mir in May 2012.
However, dos Santos then lost to Velasquez and hasn’t gotten the belt back. Dos Santos has fought just twice since the first Miocic bout due to injury – losing to Alistair Overeem by second-round TKO in December 2015 and beating Ben Rothwell by unanimous decision last April. Dos Santos has claimed he will win this fight by the end of the second round.
Miocic, a 34-year-old American, has won four in a row since the dos Santos loss. Miocic fought for the belt as a +140 betting underdog at UFC 198 against Fabricio Werdum and pulled off the upset with a first-round KO (punch). He defended the belt at UFC 203 as a -145 favorite against Alistair Overeem and won by first-round KO (punches). Overall, 75 percent of Miocic’s career wins are by KO/TKO.
In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts her women’s strawweight belt on the line in a fifth title defense as a -170 favorite against Jessica Andrade. The 29-year-old Jedrzejczyk (13-0) beat Polish countrywoman and formerly unbeaten Karolina Kowalkiewicz by unanimous decision back in November in her most recent fight at -450. Most consider Jedrzejczyk the No. 2 pound-for-pound female fighter in the world behind “Cyborg” Justino.
Andrade is a 25-year-old from Brazil who improved to 16-5 with a unanimous decision win over Angela Hill in February. Andrade is priced at +140 on the UFC 211 odds, her first fight as an underdog since losing to Liz Carmouche in July 2013.