May 12, 2017

UFC 211: Stacked Card Makes This 2017's First Can't Miss Event

By Raphael Garcia

This weekend’s UFC 211 event seems to have crept up on many people, but even though there has been a slow build to the show, it still features a number of major bouts. In some ways, this could be the deepest card the UFC has presented up to this point in 2017. It’s clear that the UFC has struggled to consistently put together big time cards, especially since the change in ownership, but this event shows that the promotion can still give fans more than their money’s worth.

Whether fans realize it or not, this card features a host of fighters that have reached the highest pinnacle of the sport. Ten different former champions or title challengers, both within the UFC and other promotions, are competing on Saturday. David Branch is making his return to the organization after winning two titles in the World Series of Fighting promotion. Jessica Aguilar is also a former WSOF champion; she’s set to make her second appearance in the Octagon.

Beyond the former champions and challengers competing, there are a number of fights that have been set up in order to build up the future of the organization. Many of these fights pit “old guard” big names against up and coming stars in their respective divisions. Yair Rodriguez may be the underdog heading into his fight with former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, but fans shouldn’t be surprised if he walks out of the cage with the victory. This is a win that would immediately catapult him into the conversation to face the likes of Jose Aldo or Max Holloway in the near future. Rodriguez has star appeal and his Mexican heritage creates yet another promotional benefit to a win for him on Saturday. A loss at this point wouldn’t derail his climb completely, but an “upset” would help him and the UFC at the same time.

Other fighters on this card see Saturday as their opportunity for a breakout moment. Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade, Jorge Masvidal, and others are poised to capitalize on exceptional performances this weekend. The UFC has shown that it is willing to throw its promotional weight behind someone that it believes has the potential to break through to the masses. Look at examples such as Michelle Waterson, Derrick Lewis, and even Artem Lobov being recently pushed to main event status. The new ownership is ready to put more fighters in a position of prominence if they can perform, and this card is an opportunity for many of the fighters competing to catch the attention that matters most.

UFC 211 is the biggest event that the organization has put together in 2017. Two titles on the line and a number of other fights that are worth watching; everything about UFC 211 says that this is a card that is not to be missed. Although it may not have received the same type of promotion as some of the other events in recent memory, this fight card is going to change the future for many of its participants.

UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2 takes place May 13, 2017 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

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