A Card With Plenty Of Finishes And Great Fights
UFC 217 will be an event that fighters, the organization and fans will never forget. All three champions who walked into the octagon, left the cage without the belt. The UFC had three new champions, all crowned in one night.
The event was at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York City and made for an unforgettable event twelve months after the UFC’s first event in New York.
The three title fights alone could have made the card special, but from top to bottom, the fighters delivered. Only two out of the eleven fights went to the judge’s scorecards for a decision.
Starting with the main event, Georges St-Pierre entered the octagon for the first time in four years. GSP, up to weight 185 lbs for the first time in his career, challenged middleweight champion, Michael Bisping.
Many questions arose with St-Pierre fighting again. How would the four-year layoff affect the former champ? Would the added weight slow him down? How will his cardio be? And most importantly, would we see the same GSP we saw dominate inside the cage years ago?
St-Pierre (26-2) did look good Saturday night. He mixed up his striking and wrestling very well against the now former champion. They both had each other hurt, but it was GSP, with blood dripping down his face, who sent Bisping (30-8) to the canvas in the third round. St-Pierre followed him to the ground, took his back and choked Bisping unconscious 4:23 into the round.
With the victory, St-Pierre became just the fourth fighter in UFC history (Penn, Couture, McGregor) to win a belt in two different weight classes.
As for the co-main event, bitter rivals Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw threw leather for the bantamweight belt. Garbrandt stepped into the cage as champion, but it was Dillashaw who got his hand raised.
Both fighters looked for the finish early, with Garbrandt dropping Dillashaw towards the end of the first round before landing ground and pound. The round came to a close with Garbrandt landing shots, with Dillashaw possibly being saved by the bell.
Dillashaw recovered in between rounds, coming out strong in the second. He knocked Garbrandt out, before landing more shots from the top, and the fight was stopped by the ref.
In the biggest upset of the evening, Rose Namajunas took on the five-time defending strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Namajunas is a ground specialist while Jedrzejczyk is a world-class striker.
But Namajunas seemed unfazed, standing with Jedrzejczyk and showing off her stand-up skills. Namajunas knocked Jedrzejczyk down twice in the first round but didn’t let her get up after the second knockdown, finishing her off just 3:03 into the fight.
With so many exciting finishes on the card and three champions losing their belts, UFC 217 will be a card for the ages and go down as one of the best events in combat sports history.