Alright, I’m going to try and stay as objective about this as possible, but I am SO FUCKING EXCITED for this event (shit that didn’t last long). Oh well, I’m not here to be objective. I’m here to watch some damn good fights and to tell you magnificent sons of bitches why you should too.
If you didn’t already know, UFC 217 is set to go down Nov. 4th at one of the most iconic arenas in all of sports: Madison Square Garden. This pay-per-view is packed to the rafters with badasses and rising stars. The entire night culminates in a slate of THREE championship fights, all of which could have had their own event if the UFC wanted to. Who got top billing? That would be none other than middleweight champ Michael Bisping trying to play party pooper for the return of the legendary George St-Pierre.
GSP has taken about four years off from the sport, but his career is almost entirely in the welterweight division. Coming back after that long of a layoff to face a bigger guy like Bisping who is already getting into GSP’s head could be a recipe for disaster. But GSP was one of the best in the world for so long that it’s impossible to ignore his chances. However, Bisping has been on a sort of “destroy old people” tour with wins over Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson. Neither of those two had been inactive for four years when he faced them, either. When he took the belt from Luke Rockhold with a knockout victory, it seemed like fate, and I just don’t get that same feeling with GSP. I only assume he’s been sitting up there in Canada scarfing down poutine and trying to find movie roles. Michael Bisping vs GSP is the headliner for a reason with two of the biggest names in the sport, but I have to say that my heart is actually with this next fight….
The fight I’m most willing to shill out 60 bucks for is Cody Garbradnt vs TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight title. In my opinion, Cody Garbrandt is the most talented guy in the division. I had my doubts until he snatched the belt from Dominick Cruz last December, but that performance solidified him as the best bantamweight. Cruz is known for his movement and being hard to hit, and Garbrandt had no trouble making it seem like he wasn’t even trying. In my opinion, there’s only one guy that can give him a challenge right now, and that is TJ Dillashaw. I don’t know if there’s two guys in ANY division that work as hard as these two. They already hate each other, so there’s extra motivation. This fight could go anywhere, and I couldn’t say who would have the advantage. Maybe on the feet Cody Garbrandt has that extra bit of power? But Dillashaw shocked the world with his KO of Renan Barao, so who the fuck knows. All I know is that I am insanely pumped for this fight, and I want the winner to face Demetrius Johnson.
(Okay, I need to catch my breath. We’re just getting started. Aaaanndd here we go…)
As if having ONE undefeated champion on this card weren’t enough, we also get Rose Namajunas stepping into the cage with the insanely talented and dangerous strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (just say Joanna Champion for short). Joanna has left a trail of blood in her reign in the division. She’s one of the most prolific strikers in the UFC, and no one has escaped unscathed by her ferocity. She’s got confidence and swagger galore, and is like a sniper with her fists and her words. Her ability to get in people’s heads is the most surprising aspect of her game, and she wants nothing more than to break Ronda Rousey’s record of title defenses. But if you want an opponent who is tough enough to stand toe to toe with her, then you want Rose “Thug” Namajunas.
Joanna is one of the best fighters in the world, and no one has figured out how to take her belt.
As if THAT weren’t enough, we also get a top 5 welterweight match between Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal that will likely decide the next title challenger. I don’t expect much wrestling in this match, but you have to make a statement here. Colby Covington grabbed headlines with his win last weekend, and the only way to take away his spotlight is to force your way into the title conversation on a bigger stage with a highlight reel win.
Dear god I can’t believe there’s still so many fights I want to highlight. For brevity’s sake, I’ll put up a quick list.
James Vick vs Joe Duffy: A lightweight matchup of two guys that are really hitting their stride in the division. The winner will likely be in the rankings afterward, so a good time to shine.
Walt Harris vs Mark Godbeer: A heavyweight match that was supposed to happen a few weeks ago until Harris became a last minute replacement against Fabricio Werdum (bad fucking luck that). Really want to see what he can do with a fighter on his level.
Ovince Saint-Preux vs Corey Anderson: Two top 10 light heavyweights looking to become Daniel Cormier’s next opponent. I happen to love OSP. He’s a good guy and a great athlete. Corey Anderson has to stay away from the Von Flue choke and he’ll have a shot. OSP seems to be a magician when it comes to getting that submission, but has trouble at times when he can’t get a takedown.
Randy Brown vs Mickey Gall: Gall will forever have a place in my heart for making CM Punk look like an idiot for getting into the UFC. But let’s see if he can find continued success against a more experienced guy. Randy Brown is looking to bounce back from a loss back in February.
God damn. That’s a lot of fights I want to see. Get your ass to a bar and watch it if you don’t want to pay for it yourself. This is one of the biggest events of the year.