New York City is getting another stacked UFC PPV with 3 titles fights and so much more. UFC 217 is going down November 4 at Madison Square Garden. Stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers. ;)
Michael “The Count” Bisping (c) vs. Georges “Rush” St-Pierre
Bisping’s MMA journey has been very interesting to watch. A longtime gatekeeper to the elite, Michael took full advantage of his first title shot on two weeks notice while finishing shooting a movie. He did in a way no one expected, KO. Something he hasn’t done since 2004! Granted, Bisping racked up plenty of TKO from his onslaught of strikes.
Not since Randy Couture has a champion retired to come back for title implications. After 4 years away from the sports, George is going up a weight class higher than he last dominated in. How in shape will he be? How will his style hold up after 4 years? These are the questions we are going to learn.
Bisping has always been extremely difficult to take down, with incredible cardio and fantastic striking. I see GSP struggling to mix it up enough to get the fight to the ground while avoiding taking big damage on the feet.
Prediction: Bisping by TKO in the 4th round
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (c) vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Holy Mole! This is going to be a crazy fight and a very tricky one to predict. I don’t give too many betting advice but don’t bet on this one. This is a true pick em’ fight. Former training partners for years before TJ left the Team Alpha Male to work more closely with Duane Ludwig in Colorado.
Both of these fighters last fought 10 UFC PPV cards ago on UFC 207, Dec. 30, 2016. Both put on incredible performances against very dangerous opponents.
Simple MMA math would dictate the Cody > Dominick Cruz > TJ. Life is never that easy especially if they have trained together. Dillashaw is known for being a fighting very aggressively during practice which should help Cody out in the mental prep for this fight. TJ is going to have to fight a near perfect fight mixing all of his tools together to keep the champ guessing. In his last two fights, he did that incredibly but became flat-footed against Cruz. The power of Cody is going to make the difference and with hands as quick and the timing, he should take the win in a war.
Prediction: Cody by split decision
Women's Strawweight Championship
Joanna Jędrzejczyk (c) vs. Rose “Thug” Namajunas
Joanna has cleared out the top of the division and is now working her way down the list.
As Joanna has been screaming at Rose every chance she gets, Rose is known for being mentally unstable. She does appear to have figured something out in the past year or two so I am willing to assume the best with Thug. The tricking thing is trying to forget the split decision loss to Karolina Kowalkiewicz just over a year ago. Rose did come back looking like a world beater taking out the tough Michelle Waterson in the second round. As bad as I would love to see Thug Rose flying armbar her way to victory (something she has done in MMA) it is tough imagining everything that needs to go right for her to win.
Joanna is going to deny the takedown while landing more on the feet. The big question is, can she do enough damage to get the finish?
Prediction: . . . and still Champion! By decision
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Jorge “Gamebreed” Masvidal
This should be one of those pure striking battles with tiny gloves and almost no clinch work. Wonderboy is a high-level karate practitioner with had a Floyd Mayweather like kickboxing record of 57-0 with 40 KOs. His two losses in the UFC have come from Matt Brown five years ago and the current champ (Tyron Woodley) in his last fight for the title.
Jorge is coming off being grapple fucked by Demian Maia for 3 rounds like everyone else. What makes this fight so interesting is the boxing exchanges here. Wonderboy has shown to be hittable with boxing and that is where Masvidal shines. This is going to be a game won and lost by range If Thompson can come in and out hiding his kicks, this fight is his. If Jorge can keep in boxing range and land some bombs, he is going to get the finish if not the scorecards.
Masvidal has never been much of a pressure fighter so I expect Stephen to get the distance and time to set up a crazy kick KO.
Prediction: Thompson by KO in the third
Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks vs. Paulo Borrachinha
I wasn’t very big on Johny even on his way to the title run. That said, he was a force to reckon with at the 170lbs division when he is in shape and motivated. Those times have past and is showing clear signs of dropping off physically and mentally. Personal issues and jumping around camps have caused tons of instability in Hendricks showing by not making weight three times (one of which was at middleweight). He won his middleweight debut with that being his sole win in his last five fights. He is at Greg Jackson’s camp training with other elite fighters but I feel it’s too little too late.
Paulo is an undefeated Brazilian prospect looking to get a highlight finish on a big name. Paulo is a savage finisher having never gone to the judges' scorecard. This Brazilian has some legit striking skills and going to be 3 inches taller with 3 inches of reach. If Tim Boetsch, bless his barbarian soul, shut Big Rig’s lights out. Without a doubt, Paulo is going to finish him. Hendricks could possible try to stale this out on the cage but is very tentative and will likely be afraid to engage.
Prediction: Paulo by TKO in the 2nd or 3rd round