Stipe Miocic beats Dos Santos to retain UFC heavyweight title
DALLAS — A piece of history and a measure of revenge both came swiftly for Stipe Miocic.
Miocic beat Junior Dos Santos with a technical knockout at 2:22 in the first round to defend his heavyweight title at UFC 211 on Saturday night.
In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland scored a unanimous, five-round decision over third-ranked Jessica Andrade to defend her women’s strawweight championship.
Since the heavyweight division was formed in 1997, only Miocic, Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar have won two title defenses. Miocic avenged a loss to Dos Santos in December 2014 in Phoenix, which was a five-round bout that left both fighters bloodied.
Miocic (17-2) stunned Dos Santos midway through the round with a series of punches ending with a hard right to Dos Santos’ left cheek as the challenger was backing away. That pushed him into the cage before he fell to the mat. Miocic then straddled Dos Santos and fired away with a series of lefts that ended the fight.
“We’ve been working on that for 10 weeks,” Miocic said of the critical punch. “My coaches are the best in the world. If it wasn’t for my coaches, we wouldn’t be here right now.”
The fourth-ranked Dos Santos (18-5), who’d hurt Miocic with multiple kicks, called the loss “terrible.”
“I know he likes to walk forward, and I like to walk backwards,” he said. “The last kick I threw, he felt a lot, and I felt I did well. ‘Now, I have to move.’ Then, I don’t remember anymore.”
Saturday’s victory was Miocic’s fifth straight since the loss to Dos Santos. As for who’s next, the affable champ said, “Right now, it’s my kitchen. The kitchen when I get home. That’s all I’m worried about.”
The 34-year-old claimed his crown with a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum in May 2016 in Brazil. He defended against Alistair Overeem last September “at home” in Cleveland with a first-round knockout.
Will Miocic become the first UFC heavyweight to defend his title three times?
“He’s looking like the man,” UFC president Dana White said. “Cleveland’s killing it right now.”
Dos Santos is 3-4 since his championship loss in a rematch with Velasquez in December 2012. The Brazilian returned to the octagon on Saturday following a 13-month absence that began with surgery on his right shoulder.
Jedrzejczyk (14-0) has defended her title five times since defeating Carla Esparza in March 2015 here at American Airlines Center. That ties Ronda Rousey for the most title victories among UFC women.
“I didn’t even know,” Jedrzejczyk said. “This is amazing. I respect Ronda so much as a fighter but more as a human. It’s a pleasure for me to stand next to Ronda in this category.”
The explosive Andrade (16-6) came out early and took down the champion in the first two minutes after landing a left hook. She pressed throughout but didn’t come close to matching Jedrzejczyk’s contacts.
Andrade didn’t regret her plan to attack.
“The strategy was to fight her and take her down at the end of the rounds,” she said through a translator. “But, as everybody saw, she’s really good. I couldn’t manage to keep her down.”
When Jedrzejczyk won the title in Dallas two years ago, she referred to the championship belt as her “baby” and said no one would get it.
“It was not a joke,” she said with a laugh. “I feel like I was born to be a champion.”
Demian Maia, the third-ranked welterweight, won a split decision over No. 5 Jorge Masvidal. Maia, 25-6 with seven straight wins, said he was told afterward by White that he had earned a title fight with Tyron Woodley.
Frankie Edgar. The 35-year-old former lightweight champion and second-ranked featherweight, beat seventh-ranked Yair Rodriguez, 24, in a second-round TKO.
The first bout for former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez since he lost the title to Conor McGregor last November was stopped as a no-contest late in the second of three rounds against Dustin Poirier because of an accidental foul.
The third-ranked Alvarez delivered an illegal left knee to the left side of Poirier’s head while Poirier’s right hand was on the mat, and Poirier’s blurred vision was judged inadequate for the fight to continue.