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Not one… not two… however three UFC championships shall be on the road Saturday evening in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The predominant occasion occurs to be the return of one of many greatest stars within the historical past of MMA in Georges St-Pierre, however any of the three are deserving of headlining a pay-per-view card.
St-Pierre will transfer as much as the middleweight division to tackle Michael Bisping practically 4 years from saying his retirement after a five-round warfare with Johny Hendricks during which he defended the welterweight belt for the ninth consecutive time.
The returning legend shall be preceded by the primary title protection of a rising UFC star in Cody Garbrandt. No Love will look to defend the belt that he gained by beating Dominick Cruz soundly towards former Team Alpha Male teammate TJ Dillashaw.
The trifecta all begins with Joanna Jedrzejczyk trying to make her sixth-straight title protection within the girls’s strawweight division towards Rose Namajunas.
It’s a card worthy of the Big Apple and one that ought to stand out as the most effective of 2017. Here’s a take a look at the cardboard, the newest odds from OddsShark, ticket data and predictions for the three title fights.
Ticket Info: StubHub
Main Card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
- Michael Bisping (-105, guess $105 to win $100) vs. Georges St-Pierre (-115) Middleweight title combat
- Cody Garbrandt (-179) vs. TJ Dillashaw (+154, guess $100 to win $154) Bantamweight title combat
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk (-530) vs. Rose Namajunas (+415) Women’s Strawweight title combat
- Jorge Masvidal (+147) vs. Stephen Thompson (-172) Welterweight
- Paulo Costa (-210) vs. Johny Hendricks (+180) Middleweight
Prelims (Fox Sports 1 at eight p.m. ET)
- Joe Duffy (-190) vs. James Vick (+165) Lightweight
- Walt Harris (N/A) vs. Mark Godbeer (N/A) Heavyweight
- Corey Anderson (+147) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (-172) Light Heavyweight
- Randy Brown (-110) vs. Mickey Gall (-110) Welterweight
Prelims (Fight Pbad at 6:30 p.m. ET)
- Curtis Blaydes (-365) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+300) Heavyweight
- Ion Cutelaba (-500) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (+385) Light Heavyweight
- Ricardo Ramos (-170) vs. Aiemann Zahabi (+145)
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre
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This could be the toughest combat on the cardboard to select. Although each have the longest resumes on the cardboard, their current inactivity makes it laborious to know what both will seem like within the cage on Saturday evening.
For GSP, the layoff has clearly been loads longer. Nearly 4 years is a very long time for an athlete to step away from a sport. Especially one which evolves on the charge that MMA has since he is left. Firas Zahabi—St-Pierre’s longtime coach—would not see it being a difficulty, although.
“I always believed Georges had a lot of fight left in him; it was just a matter of him taking some time off,” he stated, per Mike Bohn of Rolling Stone. “If he had a limited amount of experience I believe time off could be a major issue. He’s been competing since he was six or seven years old. For him, it’s like riding a bike. I don’t believe ring rust is an issue in this fight.”
There are two methods to have a look at the layoff, although.
The first is that GSP wanted the day off. Years of taking over all comers because the welterweight champion not solely took a psychological toll however a bodily one. Now, 4 years faraway from the limelight and the depth of being one of many UFC’s greatest points of interest, he’ll be re-energized and as scary as ever.
The second method is that GSP is a mortal similar to the remaining. Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson—all have been legends of the game, however their time as champions has expired. GSP’s final combat towards Hendricks was arguably the hardest in his profession and it was in all probability the precise time to exit on high.
Of course, St-Pierre’s opponent on Saturday evening is not a badpersnapper anymore both. Bisping is definitely two years GSP’s senior. At 38 years previous, he is managed to defend his belt simply as soon as since profitable it in June 2016. That got here towards a shell of Dan Henderson over a yr in the past.
So if the primary possibility is true and GSP appears to be like one thing like the person that dominated the welterweight division for years, Bisping is in hbadle. St-Pierre as a middleweight was as soon as key to the superfight that everybody needed to see between Silva and the Canadian.
What’s extra possible, although, is that it is a matchup between two males combating to point out who has extra left to supply. In that regard, Bisping has the benefit. St-Pierre—as technical as he could be—is a fighter who has at all times benefited from unimaginable explosiveness and athleticism.
Bisping would not want these benefits. Many occasions in his profession he hasn’t had these benefits and possibly will not have them Saturday evening. What he does have is an unimaginable gasoline tank, technical placing and nice combat IQ.
That could be sufficient to beat no matter’s left of GSP.
Prediction: Bisping by unanimous resolution
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw
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It would not get significantly better than this matchup within the combat recreation. Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw are two of probably the most expert fighters of their weight clbad on the peak of their powers who’ve a real disdain for each other that shall be settled within the cage.
The storyline is acquainted to only about everybody by now. Once upon a time Dillashaw and Garbrandt have been teammates at Team Alpha Male, till Dillashaw left the fitness center to go prepare at Elevation Fight Team with Duane Ludwig.
The outcome was a confrontation and occasional throat-grabbing that led as much as this anticipated matchup. The UFC hasn’t hesitated to play the angle up both:
Five days ’til they settle it within the Octagon. #UFC217 https://t.co/4KMu3oW2dH
This is not a type of bouts that is simply intriguing exterior of the cage, both. The battle that may ensue inside it’s an attention-grabbing one as effectively.
Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz have typically been in contrast for his or her kinds. The two former champions make use of related motion and placing repertoires so it is simple to see why they get in contrast so typically.
The distinction between the 2, nonetheless, is aggression. While Cruz has solely completed one combat in his whole time within the UFC, Dillashaw has picked up six wins below the UFC banner by both TKO or submission, together with two TKO wins over Renan Barao.
Garbrandt’s combat towards Cruz was the most effective performances in current reminiscence given the opponent, the execution and the shock issue. It wasn’t simply that he gained, however that he mad Cruz look foolish at occasions.
Dillashaw’s aggression will present Garbrandt with a brand new problem that differs from Cruz. The champion’s newest opponent shall be extra inclined to reap the benefits of alternatives and put No Love on the defensive.
The nice equalizer is Garbrandt’s energy, although. The champion has elite boxing expertise, however that is not what provides him the benefit right here. It’s the truth that he’s equally as prone to outpoint Dillashaw within the exchanges as he’s to land the one punch that would finish the evening early in any given change.
Prediction: Garbrandt by third-round TKO
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas
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The first title combat on the cardboard has the widest odds, and for good cause. Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been a dominant champion of the ladies’s strawweight clbad and can proceed to be a large favourite towards all comers till proved in any other case.
With 5 title defenses to her title already, Joanna Champion has reached the purpose the place most of her contenders do not have the resume to problem for the title, however they’re the one choices left.
Namajunas is an ideal instance. Thug Rose is only one win faraway from her final loss. A submission win over Michelle Waterson was sufficient to get her this shot.
Granted, Namajunas is a protracted, dynamic fighter who may very well be one in all few fighters to present the champion issues on the surface. She’s additionally simply relentless sufficient with takedowns that she might land one towards the champion.
That can be one thing we have not often seen the champion take care of. She defends 81 % of all takedowns, per FightMetric.
The scary factor for Namajunas, although, is her observe report in longer fights. Thug Rose is simply 1-2 in fights that go the space whereas the champion needs to have lengthy fights. Her final 4 fights have been unanimous-decision victories.
Jedrzejczyk believes Namajunas’ psychological state will play a job on this combat. She’s stated so on a number of events.
“Hey, listen to yourself,” Jedrzejczyk stated to Namajunas, per Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting. “You didn’t even want to do media. You didn’t want to do extra media. How do you want to be a champion and deal with all of these things? You know what? You are not stronger mentally. You are mentally unstable and you are broken already, and I will break you in the fight.”
Namajunas’ aggression and ability set needs to be attention-grabbing to see within the first few rounds. She has the power to tug off the upset if issues line up for her and he or she catches Jedrzejczyk early.
The sensible choose is on Joanna Violence doing her factor, although. The champion may need to climate an early storm, however will then take over in brutal trend, choosing up one other resolution victory.
Prediction: Jedrzejczyk by unanimous resolution