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Georges St-Pierre towards Michael Bisping is the superfight you by no means knew you needed to see.
After almost 4 years away from the Octagon, GSP returns looking for to seize the middleweight title after years of dominating the welterweight clbad. No, it isn’t the Anderson Silva-GSP fantasy battle of yore, however it’s an intriguing matchup towards Bisping.
There’s extra the place that got here from, although. Cody Garbrandt and Joanna Jedrzejczyk might be placing their titles on the road towards TJ Dillashaw and Rose Namajunas, respectively, in a title tripleheader.
The non-title fights are must-see TV, too. Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa appears to be like to make a reputation for himself towards Johny Hendricks, whereas Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal will interact in what could possibly be a title eliminator within the welterweight division.
Here’s a take a look at the whole card together with predictions for every bout and a take a look at the highest storylines to look at.
UFC 217 Card and Predictions
Author’s predictions are underlined.
Main Card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
- Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – Middleweight title battle
- Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw – Bantamweight title battle
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – Women’s Strawweight title battle
- Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson – Welterweight
- Paulo Costa vs. Johny Hendricks – Middleweight
Prelims (Fox Sports 1 at eight p.m. ET)
- Joe Duffy vs. James Vick – Lightweight
- Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer – Heavyweight
- Corey Anderson vs. Ovince Saint Preux – Light Heavyweight
- Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall – Welterweight
Prelims (Fight Pbad at 6:30 p.m. ET)
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik – Heavyweight
- Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi – Bantamweight
How Much Does Georges St-Pierre Have Left?
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press
“You either retire the champion or fight long enough to become washed up.” – Batman. Well, type of.
That’s the MMA tailored model of what The Dark Knight mentioned, and it holds true for Georges St-Pierre. The man was as soon as the undisputed king of the welterweight division and a pay-per-view titan, however 4 years away from the highlight raises the query: What will we see from Rush on Saturday night time?
St-Pierre constructed his legend on dominating the welterweight division. He took the honour from Matt Hughes with the identical ferocity he used to faucet the UFC Hall of Famer in 2007 with 9 consecutive title defenses.
The ninth one was by far his most tough, although. Hendricks took GSP to process, touchdown 85 important strikes over the course of 5 rounds—a profession excessive for St-Pierre, per FightMetric.
So there’s two methods to have a look at it. Either GSP’s exodus was really about needing a break to get well and he’ll be again stronger than ever, or he noticed the inevitable finish coming, walked away and is now drawn again by cash, fame, alternative for a belt or some mixture thereof.
He’s doing all of the discuss to say that it is the first choice.
“I’ve stepped up tremendously in those four years,” St-Pierre mentioned, per Rachel Brady of the Globe and Mail. “I’m not the same guy I was when I left off. I’m a much better version, and he’s going to find out the bad way.”
Of course, what else is he going to say?
The truth is that GSP was one of the vital explosive athletes to compete within the Octagon in his prime. It appeared that he was dropping that edge when he fought Hendricks, and he is not more likely to get it again on the age of 36.
Like a basketball participant who develops a artful post-game to increase his profession after he can not dunk over all people, what St-Pierre does to fight father time is essentially the most attention-grabbing battle inside the battle in the primary occasion.
Is Cody Garbrandt a Transcendent Talent within the Bantamweight Division?
John Locher/Associated Press
The return of St-Pierre is only a reminder that the UFC is in want of some true superstars who can carry a pay-per-view.
St-Pierre’s return is sweet for followers, however it is not a long-term resolution. The group wants some fighters from the subsequent technology to turn into the type of fighters that may transfer the needles.
Garbrandt could be a kind of guys, however it needs to be as a champion.
Garbrandt has the look, thrilling type and outcomes to turn into a star. In a latest piece on the way forward for MMA, Brett Okamoto of ESPN in contrast the 26-year-old to Chuck Liddell:
“Garbrandt has that silly knockout power, similar to Liddell, and he isn’t afraid to get hit. And although he doesn’t sport the Iceman’s notorious mohawk, Garbrandt’s neck tattoo makes him easy to spot in a crowd. They’re both soft-spoken, but extremely confident, violent individuals.”
As Okamoto identified, Garbrandt checks all of the bins for a marketable star. Now he simply has to show that he can present the outcomes. At the height of his powers, The Iceman put collectively a 15-2 run within the UFC and Pride towards a who’s who of names in his division with two title reigns.
Garbrandt has the chance to show that he is able to that type of run with a win towards Dillashaw.
Garbrandt’s education of Dominik Cruz was spectacular. Considering Cruz’s place within the historical past of the division, his huge expertise benefit over No Love and the efficiency that he had simply put in towards Dillashaw, the brand new champion’s efficiency was stunning.
Now it has been 11 months since he received the title and we are going to see his first title protection. A win over Dillashaw would give him a win over the No. 1 and a pair of ranked fighters in his division that occur to be the final two champions.
That’s dominance that may be marketed as a real celebrity within the sport. With that weight added to the truth that he is preventing a bitter rival that was once a teammate, that is Garbandt’s probability to indicate that he can thrive below stress and carry the banner for the group.
Is Jorge Masvidal a Contender within the Welterweight Clbad?
Gregory Payan/Associated Press
Lost in the truth that there are three nice championship fights on this card is that there is an superior welterweight battle between Thompson and Masvidal.
For Thompson, it is a chance to battle somebody not named Tyron Woodley. After competing for the title towards the champion in back-to-back fights, a battle towards Masvidal is simply one other problem. He’s already proved he is able to competing for the championship.
For Masvidal, it is a shot at proving that he is worthy of that consideration. Masvidal’s final battle got here on the heels of a three-fight win streak over Ross Pearson, Jake Ellenberger and Donald Cerrone. A win over Maia—who till final week was No. three within the welterweight rankings—would have put Masvidal in consideration for Woodley’s subsequent title protection.
Instead, Masvidal misplaced a detailed break up determination to Maia. Masvidal proved that he might dangle with Maia, however he wasn’t higher than him.
Now Gamebred will get a shot at redemption. Thompson’s expertise are well-known, and a win over him will propel the 32-year-old into the realm of title contenders.
According to the stats from Reed Kuhn of Fightnomics, Masvidal will as soon as once more have a grappling benefit:
Fightnomics Reed @Fightnomics
Although the three title fights at #UFC217 will get many of the protection this week, remember about this one.
Very key Welterweight matchup: https://t.co/Ut50keMIoP
The query turns into whether or not he can get Thompson to the bottom for lengthy sufficient to trigger him these issues. That’s simpler mentioned than performed. Thompson has been taken down simply two occasions since 2013—as soon as in every Woodley battle.
If the champion cannot even get him to the mat with regularity, it will take a particular effort from Masvidal to get this battle to the place he needs it to be.