Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., Nov. 4, 2017) for UFC 217, which took place inside Madison Square Garden in New York City. The massive pay-per-view (PPV) event featured a Middleweight title fight that saw Georges St-Pierre stun Michael Bisping to capture the 185-pound strap in a history-making win with an impressive rear-naked choke (recap).
In the co-main event, Cody Garbrandt coughed up his Bantamweight strap after his former training partner-turned rival, T.J. Dillashaw, knocked him out in round number two to reclaim his 135-pound strap (recap).
Biggest Winner: Rose Namajunas
Let’s be honest, as impressive as the other title-winning performances were, Namajunas really pulled off the biggest upset of the night by knocking out the seemingly unbeatable Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the women’s Strawweight title. And boy did she make it look easy against a fighter who had previously defended her belt five times and had yet to taste defeat in her career. Indeed, Namajunas declared prior to the event that she was not fearful of the boogey woman, and wouldn’t lose the fight before the opening bell like everyone else. Even during the pre-fight staredowns it seemed Joanna’s usually-intimidating face-to-faces couldn’t faze “Thug Rose.” And after knocking her out and forcing her to tap, Namajunas upset the order of women’s MMA, ending any and all hopes of Joanna’s goal to break Ronda Rousey all-time title defense record. Most didn’t see it coming, but you should have, as the party popper (and I mean that in a good way) struck again, ending Joanna’s momentum just like she did Paige VanZant’s and Michelle Waterson’s.
Runner (s): Georges St-Pierre
What ring rust? “Rush” hadn’t stepped foot inside the Octagon in nearly four years, but after watching him take out former 185-pound champion Michael Bisping in “The Big Apple,” you would’ve never guessed he’d been out so long. Not only did Georges prove that he’s back and better than ever, but he made history by becoming only the fourth man to win two different division titles for the promotion, joining the elite company of B.J. Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor. And he did it all without losing a step, taking Bisping’s best shots (which oddly enough came off his back) and fighting through bloody eyes to clip the ex-title holder and ultimately sink a fight-ending submission by putting “The Count” to sleep. Now, St-Pierre can look ahead to his next fight, as he will face interim title holder Robert Whittaker in a title-unifying match in 2018.
After months and months of back-and-forth verbal sparring, accusations, physical altercations, T.J. finally got the opportunity to put hands on his former training partner Cody Garbrandt.
And put hands on him he did, knocking him out in the second round with precision striking. And he had to survive a scare to do it, as Garbrandt dropped Dillashaw in the closing seconds of round one, and had him on wobbly legs as he was going to his corner. In victory, “The Viper” can hopefully put aside the longstanding beef he’s had with his former gym, Team Alpha Male (TAM). Now, Dillashaw will be eagerly watching the upcoming 135-pound collision between Dominick Cruz and Jimmie Rivera at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, as the winner of that fight will likely earn his way into a championship fight, though T.J. has his eyes set on Demetrious Johnson.
Biggest Loser: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
As usual, Joanna talked the talk and tried to intimidate her foe at every turn with mean mugs, tongue lashings and everything else in the book. It didn’t work, as Rose refuse to falter, standing her ground and allowing her fists to do the talking. And talk they did, as she dropped Joanna twice, ultimately forcing her to tap to strikes the second time. In defeat, Joanna’s hopes of ending her career as a retired champion are no more, as is he goal of surpassing Rousey’s title defense record. It’s a crushing blow for the Polish-born fighter, but she has the tools and skill-set to climb back to the top. Many believe she deserves an instant rematch, but after losing a one-sided bout, that might not be a sure thing, and she’ll probably have to win once more before she gets another shot at reclaiming her belt.
For complete UFC 217 results and coverage click here.