The fights to watch: ranking the best matchups of UFC 211

UFC 211 is lining up to be one of the best cards of the new year. There have been some great matches announced and some decisions that have been questioned by the mixed martial arts community. If you’re new to watching MMA, or an addicted viewer, we’ve got you covered with the fights to watch.

With two titles on the line, could UFC 211 bring light to bigger stars for the UFC? We put together a list of the fights that we are most excited about, as Miocic headlines against the man who beat him last, Junior dos Santos.

 

Ranking the fights announced for UFC 211

When the first few fights were announced for this card, we knew it would line up to be a great night of scraps. UFC 211 has truly lined up to be one of the best fight cards of the year, so far. We have two title fights, three fights that can determine the next contenders for the title holders of their respective weight-classes, and some all-around great matchups that can help boost the careers of the up and comers in the organization. Here's a list of the fights, ranked by importance and excitement.

#7: James Vick vs Marco Polo Reyes

Vick is a top prospect to watch in the lightweight division. This matchup with Reyes will be a great stepping stone for him, if he's able to pull off the win. Reyes however, has a win over Dong Hyun Kim at welterweight, so it will be interesting to see how he faces off against "The Texicutioner" when they meet at UFC 211. A win in either corner will be beneficial to their fighting careers. Make sure you keep an eye on this fight, especially with such a stacked card.

#6: Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis

This was the wrong fight to make. If Pettis wins, he could put himself in the title picture as #3 Wilson Reis is already getting his shot. Now if Cejudo wins, then he would need one more fight to get a rematch at Johnson. The fight that should have been booked was Benevidez vs Pettis. Cejudo is coming off two consecutive losses and Benevidez hasn't lost since losing to the champion back in 2013. Now, he's being forced to either sit out for a while or take on a much lower ranked opponent because everyone in the top ten is booked.

#5: Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier

If there weren't so many exciting matches, this would be much higher on our list. Regardless, this fight is going to be a slugfest. Both men have suffered losses to Conor McGregor and while one has been rebuilding his career since then, the other is now trying to do just that. It will be interesting to see how Alvarez bounces back and if Poirier can continue on his win streak after beating Jim Miller at UFC 208. If Alvarez can pick up the win, he'll easily climb back into the title hunt. If Poirier pulls off the upset, he could claim the next lightweight title shot. With McGregor out of the picture, the UFC desperately needs new stars. If they doesn't rebook Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, then you're looking at the potential filler with the winner of this fight.

#4: Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez

This is another fight I feel would be higher up on our list, if it weren't up against other amazing matchups. This fight is huge for the featherweight division. Not only should the winner of this fight get a title shot, they should hopefully emerge a star. Rodriguez has a chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets (and he already has big ones under his belt). He could call out the winner of Aldo vs Holloway and it be acceptable. Let's see if Yair can put Mexico on the map again and bring home a belt in the near future.

#3: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Jessica Andrade

Jedrzejczyk is eyeing Ronda Rousey's record of six title defenses and on the verge of five defenses as she faces Andrade at UFC 211. This will be Joanna's second appearance with her new camp, American Top Team. This has war written all over it. Can Joanna make it five defenses? Or will Andrade blemish her record and take the gold strap? The spotlight on the strawweight division is about to get brighter. Much brighter.

#2: Demian Maia vs Jorge Masvidal

It's been a while since a fight has intrigued me this much. This fight has potential to be a fight of the year candidate. Maia has been long deserving of a title shot and he has been very open about his feelings. Masivdal, the UFC's Scarface, comes in after knocking out Donald Cerrone at UFC Denver. The bad boy is on track to fighting everyone and eventually claiming the belt. It's evident that whomever comes out victorious, they will have solid argument for a title shot.

#1: Stipe Miocic vs Junior dos Santos

This was an easy pick, solely based on the fact that Miocic is on a quest to be the best heavyweight champion ever. If he's able to avenge his loss to dos Santos, that "best ever" title won't be thrown around so loosely and will be fitting to the Croatian star. Other than needing to avenge his loss to Stefan Struve and fighting Cain Velasquez, there aren't many other heavyweights left in Miocic's way to becoming the greatest. 

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