UFC 211: The Card We Needed Ahead of a Fight-Filled Summer

Stipe Miocic UFC 218
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

A poor refereeing decision, canceled bouts, and one-sided title fights couldn’t stop UFC 211 from delivering a fun card in Dallas. Last weekend’s card came at the perfect time, cleansing our palates before a fight-filled summer.

While it faced some issues, UFC 211 is still easily the best pay-per-view (PPV) card of 2017. Facing weak competition, the bar wasn’t set very high. But the timing couldn’t have been better, for the promotion and fans alike. Heading into a summer with quality cards coming throughout June and July, 211 reminded us all what the UFC is capable of when things go (mostly) according to plan.

Despite facing frustrating issues regularly associated with professional mixed martial arts, UFC 211 was able to persevere, unlike other events. The card had extraordinary depth, and while it wasn’t the most exciting main card, the top-tier of the card went off without a hitch.

There was no snoozefest main event like at UFC 208 with Holm-de Randamie or UFC 209 with Woodley-Wonderboy 2. None of the major fights were canceled like Khabib Nurmagomedov’s interim lightweight title bout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209. Even at it’s most controversial, the messy finish of Alvarez-Poirier at UFC 211 has nothing on the Weidman-Mousasi disaster from UFC 210.

Yeah, neither the of the two title fights in Dallas were very competitive. But we did get to watch two of the sport’s best champions perform at their highest level. The way Joanna Jedrzejczyk dispatched of Jessica Andrade and Stipe Miocic knocked out Junior Dos Santos are things that committed MMA fans will appreciate. After what we’ve been treated to in recent title fights, both bouts were more than welcome.

Yeah, we lost the fantastic flyweight main card matchup between Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis the week of the fight. Thanks to the great card they’d put together, the promotion was able to fill the slot with the intriguing return of former two-division World Series of Fighting champion David Branch. The fight with Krzysztof Jotko wasn’t exactly entertaining, but in that scenario, it’s hard to ask for much more. (Except, maybe Alvarez-Poirier…)

And yeah, we still got the necessary dramatic weigh-in story, too, this time coming courtesy of Jared Gordon. Announcing he would be unable to make weight, Gordon’s feel-good story came to an abrupt and melancholy halt as his bout with Michel Quinones was canceled.

Even then, the 12 fights fans prepared for Saturday night were as appetizing as any card all year. And those 12 fights delivered. Veterans Demian Maia and Frankie Edgar put on classic performances, showcasing their value at the top of their respective divisions. Up-and-comers James Vick and Jason Knight highlighted their improvements, ensuring solid spots on future cards with impressive TKO victories. There was something for everyone at UFC 211, from top-to-bottom.

Being able to enjoy and reflect on these great fights and quality performances, without the cloud of a major disappointment, was a nice change of pace from recent UFC PPVs. Fans will put up with a lot to enjoy a sport they love, and MMA fans will put up with more than most. But people don’t have time for consistently crappy PPVs, something recent buyrates will support.

Luckily, the quality of the cards, purely on matchmaking, looks to be improving this summer compared to the first few PPV events of the year. The PPVs in July alone, 213 and 214, are set to be a couple of the best of the inarguably lackluster year. The events in Oklahoma City, Singapore, and Glasgow also boast fan-friendly fights that should do a solid job of keeping spectators entertained and interested throughout June and July.

So, thank you, UFC 211. We were excited for you, like we were for UFC 209. But this time, you delivered. Yeah, it wasn’t perfect. But it didn’t need to be. We don’t want perfect, we just want the UFC we know and love. We’re in a bit of a rough patch, but things are looking up.

*checks phone*

They canceled Garbrandt-Dillashaw?