Miocic x dos Santos 2 / Jedrzejczyk x Andrade
Picks, Parlays, and Predictions
Ya’ll in for a treat in Texas
dos Santos x Miocic
Jędrzejczyk x Andrade
Masvidal x Maia
Edgar x Rodriguez
Branch x Jotko
Poirier x Alvarez
Skelly x Knight
Vick x Reyes
Aguilar x Casey
"BIGGER IN TEXAS" EDITIONdos Santos (+115)
$1.50 to win $12.76
"SWEET TEA" EDITIONMiocic (+115)
$2.11 to win $43.17
The big and small of it
Stipe Miocic x Junior dos Santos 2 for the Heavyweight Championship
Reunited like Peaches & Herb, heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will be asked to shake his groove thing against Junior dos Santos in their second five round affair. Except this time the stakes have been raised, as they should be in any proper sequel. With a win, Stipe will tie the record for most heavyweight champion title defenses in UFC history – putting him among the likes of Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, and Cain Velasquez. Unfortunately for Stipe, his dance partner, or roller-skatin’ mate if you’d like to keep with the theme, for Saturday is the last man to hand him a loss.
Stipe Miocic has knocked out everyone he has faced in the last two years, with most of those victories coming in the first round. It’s the nature of a heavyweight slugfest. He’s not afraid to throw hands, he’s got a good chin, and his confidence in that combination has kept him conscious against other 260+ pound men looking to do the same thing. The issue at this weight class, as other champions have found out, is that you need more than one way to win. Stipe has an impressive defensive wrestling game, though we hardly see him using it offensively. We know he can knock anyone out if he connects, but we’ve seen him take losses (in the past) playing the same game. Listen, we all love him because he has the skillset of Cain Velasquez in the body of a gangly Al Bundy. I get it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t grant you invincibility. His first fight against Junior dos Santos was encouragingly close, but JDS proved to be the better technical boxer, he defended the takedown, and found a way to steal every round. Those are precarious statistics in a rematch that’s doesn’t look very different on paper..
As heavyweights go, Miocic’s movement is one of his more overlooked qualities. He’s light on his feet and can stay agile for the entire 25 minutes. That will come in handy, because Junior dos Santos attacks with both volume and power. A title shot for dos Santos seems a little premature, but this is easily the most enticing bout available at heavyweight. Most fans know Junior as the adorable giant that has always been the UFC's second best. JDS is rarely outmatched, even holding the title briefly in 2011, and he’s only dropped three of his last sixteen fights. He’s tough to finish, almost to a fault, because those Velasquez fights still make me shudder. On a positive note, outside of the boxing JDS has a delightful assortment of bone-rattling kicks that keep his opponents guessing. His first fight against Stipe happened less than three years ago and despite a minor reach disadvantage, Junior managed to make Miocic miss, eat counter shots, and stay on the feet. It earned them both <i>Fight of the Night</i> honors and I’m interested to see how both men adapt this time around.
Stipe Miocic is on a four fight win streak against dangerous heavyweights, mostly strikers, but you can only flip the coin so many times. As much as I’d love to see the record get broken, I think JDS has the upper hand – especially considering the first fight. Stipe has the boxing to get it done, make no mistake, but I think Junior fights patiently, stays on the outside, and avoids getting sucked into a slugfest. Either way, I’m happy. It’s a tough matchup for Miocic and a victory for him would settle the score and make him a part of history. That would be a nice addition to the resume of a part-time firefighter, UFC champion, and Polk High football legend.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk x Jessica Andrade for the Women’s Strawweight Championshi
Jędrzejczyk, pronounced “champion”, is everything the world of MMA needs. She’s vicious, she’s entertaining, she’s a little crazy, and she keeps improving. Her physical gifts don’t hurt either, as Joanna’s constant height advantage at 115 pounds certainly doesn’t impede her masterful striking capability. Her world-class muay thai and kickboxing education is always on display, as she’s known for launching devastating four-or-five strike combinations that leave challengers bewildered mid-fight. As the rounds go on, Joanna gets even better – proof of world-class cardio and insatiable hunger, even as champion. It’s a rare sight to see. She’s beaten the best grapplers and strikers the UFC could throw at her, all in impressive fashion, and her rematch against Claudia Gadhela proved that Joanna Champion is something special. Jędrzejczyk is more than ready for this test and is equipped with all the tools necessary to carve another notch in her belt.
The best thing about Jessica Andrade is that she’s a walking X factor. A glance at her record may not seem like much, but she has only recently dropped to the strawweight division. She was getting outmuscled by bigger, stronger women at 135 – especially at only 5’2”. Her career makes much more sense at 115 pounds, evidenced by the fact that she’s had three fights and three victories since dropping. One decision, one knockout, and one submission. The neapolitan, if you will. Andrade will find herself, once again, facing a technically bigger opponent, but if she is able to force a grappling match, it could make things interesting. Joanna likes to strike and even though she’s adept at getting back to her feet, she doesn’t always look comfortable on the mat. Jessica’s small stature and impressive strength could be an awkward recipe for disaster. Could she sink in a quick submission if the champion makes a mistake? Probably. Will Joanna Champion make an egregious error? Probably not. The advantage in striking power might even go to Andrade, but Joanna’s precision and volume will more than compensate. Expect violence.
This is the best the UFC has done in 2017, and it’s a must-watch event. Having the champions of the biggest and smallest weight class on the same card is a novel booking, and there doesn’t look to be a dull moment scheduled during the entire main card. I’m beyond excited to watch Maia, who is almost purely jiu-jitsu, take on Masvidal, the epitome of a well-rounded fighter. We also get to see Yair Rodriguez take another step towards stardom if he’s able to escape the grasp of a fired-up Frankie Edgar. If that wasn’t enough, t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶o̶p̶e̶n̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶C̶e̶j̶u̶d̶o̶,̶ ̶a̶ ̶g̶o̶l̶d̶ ̶m̶e̶d̶a̶l̶ ̶O̶l̶y̶m̶p̶i̶c̶ ̶w̶r̶e̶s̶t̶l̶e̶r̶,̶ ̶s̶m̶a̶s̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶r̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ ̶a̶ ̶h̶i̶g̶h̶l̶y̶-̶t̶o̶u̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶P̶e̶t̶t̶i̶s̶-̶b̶r̶a̶n̶d̶e̶d̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶s̶p̶e̶c̶t̶. Maybe. What a night. A lot to be happy about here. If Alvarez vs Poirier on free TV doesn’t get you hooked, we didn’t want you anyways. Giddyup!