UFC 217: Bisping vs St-Pierre Main Card Preview and Predictions

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Main Event 

Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre

Betting Odds, Bisping +100 or 1/1 St-Pierre -130 or 4/5

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Close to 4 years ago Georges St-Pierre surprised everyone by announcing that he would be taking a leave of absence immediately after his split decision win over Johny Hendricks.

There was no timescale given on a return just a vague explanation in which he stated: “I have to go away for a little bit at least, personal things happening, I want to say thank you to the UFC from the bottom of my heart”.

A former two-time welterweight champion who made his UFC debut 13 years ago at the age of 23, he’s one of the few fighters that we’ve witnessed grow both as an athlete and a person over an extended period of time in the UFC. Widely recognized as the greatest welterweight of all time, no doubt deserves a place in the argument for the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, St-Pierre was the first champion with no obvious weaknesses.

Having retired on top after making 9 defences of his title against strong contenders you could argue there’s little left for him to prove. St-Pierre feels as though he still has something to offer, he’s returning to cement his legacy by possibly becoming one of four men to have won UFC titles in two different weight classes.

Bisping who’s been an active UFC fighter for 11 years himself recently broke the record for most wins in the UFC octagon, coincidentally the man he overtook was Georges St-Pierre which places some added significance to this fight.

Until recently Bisping’s history with UFC titles had not been as memorable as his scheduled opponent, after working his way to two middleweight title eliminators Bisping was unsuccessful on both occasions. His luck changed when At UFC 199 he replaced an injured Chris Weidman on 17 days notice & went on to stop champion Luke Rockhold inside of a round.

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His first defence of the title came against Dan Henderson who previously knocked Bisping out cold back at UFC 100, still, to this day it’s one of the most replayed knockouts in MMA history.

The fight took place in Manchester, England, a short distance from Bisping’s hometown of Clitheroe. Bisping avenged his earlier loss to Henderson winning a unanimous decision despite surviving two knockdowns.

The ultimate opportunist has been presented with the ultimate opportunity, two years ago Bisping had never even held a UFC title but this Saturday he will attempt to become the only man to have beaten both Anderson Silva & Georges St-Pierre.

(For my detailed breakdown of the fight click the link below)

http://www.slickstermagazine.com/michael-bisping-vs-george-st-pierre-analysis/

Co-Main Event 

Cody Garbrandt vs T.J. Dillashaw

Betting odds, Garbrandt -150 or 4/7  Dillashaw +110 or 6/4

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This is the standout fight on the main card for me, I can’t think of many title fights this year with the level of intensity that this match-up brings. Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones aside it’s the most competitive title fight of the year.

Animosity is sometimes manufactured between fighters to peak the interest of fight fans, there is nothing manufactured about the bad blood between former teammates Cody Garbrandt & T.J. Dillashaw.

The rivalry began when Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male to join Duane Ludwig in Colorado, Ludwig was also a member of Team Alpha Male in the form of a striking coach. After a disagreement with Urijah Faber, Ludwig left the camp and the rest of the team felt betrayed when Dillashaw followed him.

Garbrandt & Dillashaw coached opposite teams on The Ultimate Fighter show this year, they were involved in many verbal confrontations which occasionally turned physical.

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T.J. Dillashaw was Bantamweight Champion at the time he left Alpha Male, he went on to lose the belt to former champion Dominick Cruz who was originally stripped of the belt due to inactivity following a string of injuries. Cruz then faced Urijah Faber for the third time ending their trilogy with a convincing win. Urijah challenged Cruz to fight Cody Garbrandt in his post-fight interview, Cruz accepted the challenge.

Garbrandt shocked the MMA world by defeating Cruz despite his lack of experience at the highest level, he looked extremely comfortable even though he had never previously been past 3 rounds.

The two men have contrasting styles, Garbrandt stalks opponents reacting only when they get in range. Everything he throws is with power, the efficiency of his footwork allows him to do so without leaving himself wide open for counters.

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Dillashaw focuses on movement, feints, & deception. He uses his unpredictable footwork to create space and misdirect opponents. Dillashaw has more variety than Cody when it comes to striking.

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What makes this fight so intriguing to me is there are so many possibilities to how it could end. Both have the potential to finish each other & neither has shown any problems with going five rounds so a win on the cards for either man is also feasible.

 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas

Betting Odds, Joanna -417 or 2/11 Namajunas +310 or 4/1

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In Recent years Joanna has taken the benchmark for women’s MMA to the next level, Ronda was a pioneer in terms of commercial success but skill-wise she was one dimensional.

The striking mechanics of Joanna are so fluid & technically correct you’d be hard-pressed to find a fault in them. Even though she favours standing, anytime she’s been taken down she’s managed to avoid danger and get back to her feet. No amateur wrestling experience but such is her desire for greatness Joanna works tirelessly on her grappling to make sure it is not a huge disadvantage.

If Joanna beats Rose this Sunday she ties Ronda’s record for most consecutive UFC title defences by a woman.

Rose Namjunas is the biggest underdog on this card, however, she still has a genuine chance of winning. Namjunas is the most talented striker Joanna has faced to date. Young, Hungry, & improving with every fight, Rose is finally displaying the sort of confidence we saw from her in The Ultimate Fighter.

Rose is only 25 years old with a total of 9 fights on her record, such is the case her development between fights at this early stage is difficult to calculate. If Joanna is expecting the same Namujans that choked out Michelle Waterson she could be in for a rude awakening.

Predictions 

Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre (St-Pierre)

Cody Garbrandt vs T.J. Dillashaw (Dillashaw)

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas (Joanna)

Stephen Thompson vs Jorge Masvidal (Thompson)

Johny Hendricks vs Paulo Borrachinha (Borrachinha)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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