It’s that special time, finally UFC 217 has come around the corner and here my breakdowns and predictions to the five fights on the main card.
(C) Michael Bisping vs Georges St. Pierre
This fight has been on and off for nearly a year and for some people, they have been wanting this fight. Personally, I didn’t want to see this fight get made at all, but Dana White kept his word and made this fight feasible. First off, GSP comes back to the sport from nearly a three year long layoff. Since Georges, has come back into the picture it seems to me he doesn’t want to cut weight anymore and doesn’t want to fight at Welterweight any longer. With both ACL tears in both knees I can’t really blame him! That being said, Georges will have to use elite kickboxing and wrestling to win this fight. Bisping will be the heavier fighter when the weighs in are done but that has never been the issue for GSP. The issue I believe, is that Bisping has the chance to control Georges with the distance and being the one that pushes the pace. Michael has been dogged by the media and fighters for not fighting the true contenders in the Middleweight Division. It’s really smart on Bisping to have one big fight and retire sense he has been hinting at that. The fight will go like this, GSP obviously will have some sort of feeling out process while Bisping will start by testing how much ring rust GSP has. Bisping will use his boxing and constant leg kicks to possibly weaken the knees and legs of Georges. Once that happens, when GSP hopefully has some rhythm going, he’s going to use his lighting quick jab and wrestling to eliminate Bisping’s striking and reach advantage. If GSP, can get this to the ground he will have a the advantage using his ground and pound and Jiu-Jitsu. In the end, I believe Bisping will come off the victory by simply outlasting and bullying GSP.
Verdict : Michael Bisping via Decision
(C) Cody Garbarndt vs. #1 TJ Dillashaw
This has of course a big fight feel, drama, cringe worthy trash talk and two people that hate to be around each other. Once more, Garbarndt has proven at least to me he’s going to be the future of Bantamweight Division. He’s young, he’s already have the machine behind him, and the resume speaks for itself. He was the one to pick apart and out strike Dominick Cruz who beat all of his teammates at TAM at the team. His boxing is on another level and the way he uses and transitions it to MMA is by far steps above most fighters in the company; but that also is an issue to me. Most young champions get complaisant and constantly have the same people around them. When TJ left Team Alpha Male to train with Duane Ludwig, his striking has showcased and outclassed the Bantamweight Division. His recent fight with John Linkier, showed that he can truly mix his wrestling pedigree and elite level of kickboxing. Even in his loss against Dominick Cruz, he was able to land great legs kicks and slowly pick him apart on the feet. I don’t see this fight going the distance at all, if it does go the distance; Cody’s boxing and footwork will keep TJ at his toes and will look to see Dillashaw apply the pressure early. The one thing that TJ has over Cody is the way he changes levels and never lets off of the gas. Dillashaw will look to clinch and wrestle Garbarndt down and tire him out. I believe Dillashaw will beat Cody Garbarndt by simply outpacing and pressuring the champion.
Verdict: TJ Dillashaw via 2nd Round TKO
(C) Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs #4 Rose Namajunas
Last year, Joanna was in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd as she retained her title against Karolina Kwalkiewicz. That was a big showcase fight for her being as McGregor headlined UFC 205 and will be the third fight like last year. Joanna has been a dominant champion since winning the belt from Carla Esparza. She’s also been hinting at moving up to 125 to challenge the future contender of the belt. Rose Namajunas has been constantly building herself back up from her loss in the inaugural strawweight title and her most recent loss to Kowalkiewics, her win against Michelle Waterson put her back in the title hunt. Rose’s striking has gotten a lot better from she first fought for the title, her jab has gotten faster and her training with Fiancé Pat Barry has helped her kickboxing in some degree. If she is going to have any advantage to Joanna it’s going to be in the ground game, her game plan should be strike with Joanna as little as possible and use her grappling and jiu-jutsu as much as possible. If she doesn't, and decides to strike with Joanna, she’s going to be in for long night. Jędrzejczyk‘s striking is at higher class level anybody in that strawweight division, her Muay Thai and Kickboxing title speaks for themselves. Joanna is going to look to out cardio and out strike Rose in the first two rounds. She’s going to get her tired and then use her strength to push against the fence to work some knees and then get her down for some ground and pound. Joanna’s last four fights have come at the hand of decisions but she’s wanting to go to the Flyweight Division soon; she’s going to have make a bold statement and example out of Namajunas.
Verdict: Joanna Jędrzejczyk via 4th round (KO)
# 1 Stephen Thompson vs. #4 Jorge Masvidal
This is a fight of the night contender by a long shot. Masvidal is a guy who you can’t knockout, he’s a guy you can knockdown and hope he doesn’t recover quick enough to strike with you right back. Jorge’s only losses have come in the form of judge’s decisions in the UFC. If he beats Thompson, he puts himself back next in line for the Welterweight title. Thompson will need a huge win, he’s coming off of two disappointing title fights against Woodley. To be quite honest, I don’t even think he would get another shot at Woodley if he’s still Champion. The UFC have hated how Tyrone Woodley is smart enough to know ethier not to strike with Thompson or grapple with Damien Maia, and have turned on boring title fights because of it. Thompson could probably beat the rest of the Welterweight Division and not a get title shot against Woodley because that’s how bad their last fight was. Masvidal is going to be cautious and respect Thompson’s kickboxing and striking ability. Jorge’s grappling is really underrated of how he can control fighters against the cage and work the constant body shots. If Thompson wants to beat Masvidal, he’s got to let the hands go.
Verdict: Jorge Masvidal via 2nd Round (TKO)
Johny Hendericks vs. Paulo Borrachinha
I believe this should and will be Henderick’s last fight in the UFC and for MMA. Johny’s biggest issue isn’t switching camps, it’s his weight issues. The fact is, the wars he has been in at Welterweight haven’t helped his chin ethier. Johny still can turn the tide in his favor though, he’s boxing and jab are still a danger in the division. He’s facing a good, Brazilian fighter Paulo Borrachinha who’s coming off of a win from Oluwale Bamgbose. Paulo has some power in hands and it’s not the most polished striking in the Division, he’s got some serious lead in his right hand. While Johny has some power in his hands still, I really don’t see him pulling the trigger like the Bigg Rigg, he’s going to be in the parked for the last time in the octagon.
Verdict: Paulo Borrachinha via 1st Round (KO)