Matchmaker: Six Fights To Make After UFC 211

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UFC 211, which went down last night (May 13, 2017) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from Dallas, Texas, was being billed as the biggest and baddest event of the year and it certainly lived up to the expectations that had been set for it, as it produced a plethora of exciting fights and finishes.

The main attraction featured a heavyweight title rematch between champion Stipe Miocic and ex-titleholder Junior Dos Santos. The co-main event played host to a strawweight title fight between 115-pound queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade.

The rest of the card featured pivotal fights as well, as top contenders faced off with major implications on the line.

Let’s take a look at six fights to make after UFC 211:

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier Rematch:

A highly anticipated lightweight fight between exciting contenders Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier headlined the preliminary portion of UFC 211, although it didn’t end without controversy.

Alvarez, a former champion who hasn’t competed since losing his title in brutal fashion to Conor McGregor last November, was looking to bounce back against Poirier, who had won four of his last five up until that point. The two went back-and-forth throughout the first round, but things went south when Alvarez landed an illegal knee in the second round that forced referee Herb Dean to stop the bout and rule it a no contest.

Being that this bout had such high expectations surrounding it, it only seems right to run back and both fighters appeared to be interested in doing so.

Photo by Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports

Frankie Edgar vs. Ricardo Lamas:

At UFC 211, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar reminded everyone that he is still an elite level featherweight, dominating red hot rising contender Yair Rodriguez over the course of two rounds before the bout was stopped between the second and third frames.

The win made it two straight for “The Answer” and he could campaign for another 145-pound title shot, although it’s unlikely he’ll receive one at this moment, especially if Jose Aldo beats Max Holloway next month. Edgar has already lost twice to Aldo.

With that being said, a bout between Edgar and No. 3-ranked Ricardo Lamas makes the most sense.

Lamas has won two of his last three bouts and he even called out Edgar on Twitter prior to “The Answer” being booked against Rodriguez. Edgar seemed interested in a fight with “The Bully” then and now it lands as the fight to make.

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada USA Today Sports

Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson:

Jorge Masvidal came up short in a title eliminator with Demian Maia on UFC 211’s main card, but he still put on a solid showing, picking Maia apart on the feet and avoiding the Brazilian’s submissions, albeit losing a split decision.

In his next fight, “Gamebred” should take on top contender and two-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

Thompson is coming off of back-to-back fights with champion Tyron Woodley, battling “The Chosen One” to a majority draw last November before suffering a decision loss to the champion in their rematch this past March. “Wonderboy”, however, still represents a big name in the sport and exciting fighter to watch at 170 pounds.

Masvidal and Thompson should do battle in a bout that could propel the victor back towards title contention.

Photo by Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports

Demian Maia vs. Tyron Woodley:

With his win over Masvidal, Maia extended his winning streak to seven straight and he can no longer be denied a title shot. In fact, he kneeled before UFC President Dana White and asked for the shot after his win over Masvidal. White appeared to have granted him his wish.

A bout between Woodley and Maia not only makes sense from a rankings standpoint, but it is also an intriguing bout stylistically.

Woodley is an explosive and powerful fighter with brutal knockout power and a division one wrestling background. Maia, on the other hand, is arguably the very best submission artist to have ever competed inside of the Octagon, and although opponents know what’s coming, few have been able to stop it in recent memory.

It’ll be interesting to see which man can implement his game plan first when these two inevitably meet.

Photo by Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas:

Strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk defended her 115-pound title for the fifth consecutive time last night, winning every round in a one-sided decision victory over the tough but overmatched Jessica Andrade. “Joanna Champion” is now one win away from tying Ronda Rousey’s record of most consecutive title defenses made by a female fighter.

In her sixth defense, Jedrzejczyk should meet surging contender Rose Namajunas. The 24-year-old “Thug” Rose has won four of her last five bouts and is coming off of an impressive submission win over former Invicta champion Michelle Waterson. Namajunas has improved each and every time out and she may be able to provide “Joanna Champion” with a legitimate test.

Photo by Jerome Miron for USA TODAY Sports

Stipe Miocic vs. Cain Velasquez:

Stipe Miocic continued to establish himself as an all-time heavyweight great last night, scoring yet another first round knockout victory over Junior Dos Santos in the second defense of his heavyweight title.

In my opinion, there’s only one opponent who makes sense for Miocic next: ex-champion Cain Velasquez.

Velasquez was scheduled to compete against Fabricio Werdum in a title eliminator last December, but he was forced to withdraw with a back injury. He hasn’t competed since.

Werdum, on the other hand, will take on Alistair Overeem in July in a bout that could potentially produce the next title challenger, although Miocic has already scored first round stoppages over both Werdum and Overeem.

With that being said, Velasquez should be the next title challenger. A bout between him and Miocic would pit two well-rounded, elite level, athletic heavyweights against each other with a title on the line.

This is the fight to make.

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