Tuesday 27 June 2017

WATCH - Stipe Miocic etches himself into history with dramatic first round KO of Junior Dos Santos at UFC 211

Stipe Miocic celebrates his knockout win against Junior Dos Santos
Stipe Miocic celebrates his knockout win against Junior Dos Santos

Gareth A Davies

It was as emphatic as it was impressive. Stipe Miocic used his hammers to knock Junior Dos Santos out in the first round of their UFC heavyweight fight in Dallas last night and retain his title, despite damage he received from kicks to his lead leg.

His urgency was extraordinary, as he knew he was hurt. Miocic remains a fighter who is calmness personified and with this second defence of his UFC heavyweight crown he also avenged defeat in 2014 to the Brazilian.

"It's terrible. My shin really hurt," he said. But he had Dos Santos on the run and simply got the job done.

Next up? "My kitchen is getting done at home." One of the best answers ever.

What a devastating fighter Miocic, of Ohio, is, and he may well have the skills to hold this belt for some time, and break records as never before in the division whose title has changed hands so frequently in history.

In the second of the title fights in Dallas, Joanna Jędrzejczyk made her fifth - and toughest yet - defence of the UFC women's strawweight crown, dominating the stand-up against the bullish Jessica Andrade, who always looked dangerous.

The champion punctuated leg after leg kick, with measured jabs and counters, slowing the movement of the little tank constantly advancing on her. It was technically brilliant from the Polish fighter. Yet Andrade never relented. Through three rounds, the champion dominated, and in the fourth, a sublime five minutes with heavy shots and elusive movement. An incredible display. Head kicks, jab, body shots, masterful and technically brilliant , 215 strikes landed -- almost four times as many as the challenger. 

The champion moved to 14-0. "There is one strawweight champion, and no one is taking this belt from me," said Jędrzejczyk, who is peerlessly the women's No 1 pound for pound.

Andrade asked for her girlfriend's had in marriage from the Octagon. She got the thumbs up from the lady in the plush seats. How could it be a 'no' after commitment like that ? 

Demian Maia used his jiu-jitsu to get himself through a very tough fight with Jorge Masvidal, and will face Tyron Woodley next in a bid to win the UFC welterweight title. It was a strange fight of two halves, the Brazilian wrapping Masvidal up on the ground, while his opponent, an accomplished striker, dominated the stand-up. For me, Maia did just enough to take two rounds. Hence, it was split by the judges. No surprise, really, given Masvidal's resilience on the ground. 

Maia said: “He came really prepared and I was really surprised. I thought it was going to be hard to deal with his standup and to maybe take him down. But, I thought that once I had him on the ground I would be able to submit him. He was really well trained and very ready for my submissions. Dana (White, the UFC President) said after that I have the next title fight, so I’m really happy and I will now get ready to fight for the title. I would like to rest a little, take a couple months off and then we’ll figure out when that fight will be.”

Also on the main card, Frankie Edgar, the former lightweight champion, used his wrestling skills to nullify the dangerous young striker Jair Rodriguez, winning by doctor stoppage after two rounds with the Mexican's left eye purpled and swollen closed. Edgar is sure to fight the winner of Jose Aldo and Max Holloway who compete for the undisputed 145-pound title. Holloway's movement and transitions, iron-clad chin and pinpoint striking, for me, will win the Hawaiian the belt; and I also believe Holloway will be successful defending it against Edgar. Styles make fights, and Holloway has the style as one of the most improved fighters in the UFC during the last two years.    

It appeared that Eddie Alvarez ought to have been disqualified for an illegal knee in the second round of a thriller against Dustin Poirier at lightweight. The former 155lb champion landed an illegal knee to the head of Poirier while his hands were on the canvas on his knees but referee Herb Dean, calling a halt to the action and after consulting with UFC vice president of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, called the final knee an 'unintentional foul', and therefore he saw to as a 'No Contest'.

Not in my book. But there was great sportsmanship from Poirier who implored the Dallas crowd not to boo the Philadelphian. They will go at it again, for sure. Up until that point, Poirier had been clean and technical with his striking in the opening stanza, with Alvarez hurt in the second but showing incredible heart to somehow maintain his composure and counter strike, hurting Poirier before another dissatisfying end to a contest through 'knee confusion'.

Overall, though, this was a welcome return to a greatly entertaining UFC card. And having known former UFC matchmaker Joe Silva for many years, it was a delight to hear during the event that he will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.    

Telegraph.co.uk

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