The opening main card bout at UFC 211 in Dallas, Texas saw surging Polish middleweight Krzysztof Jotko go up against former two-division World Series of Fighting champion David Branch. In contrast to the preliminary card, this bout was anything but exciting, and Branch was able to halt Jotko’s winning streak with a split decision win.
After a feeling out process in the first minute, Branch timed a Jotko knee and charged through for the takedown. From there, he went to work with good ground-and-pound to the head, particularly the elbows. Jotko was able to get back to his feet. In a surprise move, Jotko tripped Branch to the mat for a split second. Jotko then kneed his opponent in the clinch. A stalemate ensued for the remainder of the round, much to the crowd’s annoyance.
Jotko closed the distance and leaned on Branch against the fence, then threw a spinning backfist that caught Branch’s attention. A groin shot stopped action temporarily, but Jotko didn’t need much time to resume fighting. Jotko was finding his range, snapping that left hand from southpaw stance, and not getting hit in return. Jotko was held up against the fence for a few seconds, the Polish fighter essentially pleaded to the ref to separate them, and he obliged. Jotko just missed with a wheel kick, then was taken down, only to immediately spring back up with the use of the whizzer.
The crowd booed as hardly anything of significance was happening in round 3. Powerless striking, ineffective clinching, just very little to separate the two. Branch got an important takedown and then went for a d’arce choke before Jotko was back to his feet. More clinching is not what fans wanted to see, so the ref offered up another quick separation. A hard knee and a punch scored for Jotko in the final minute. He was able to get in a knee to the body and then an uppercut. Branch’s takedowns and ability to clinch up Jotko were able to get him the decision win.
Official result: David Branch def. Krzysztof Jotko by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
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