Oh my god. If you were one of the people that chose not to tune into this pay-per-view, I feel SOOOO sorry for you. How many finishes did you miss? A shit ton. It was a night of 3 championship fights, and we got 3 finishes to crown NEW champions. The biggest name making his triumphant return was George St-Pierre taking on Michael Bisping for the middleweight title.
GSP looked like a completely different fighter when he made his walkout. I’ve never seen him so bulked, and at first I thought he was going to have a tough time with his cardio. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but he got cut pretty damn bad by some elbows while in the guard of Michael Bisping. At that point, I expected Bisping to take control of the fight, and GSP wanted to show the world just how wrong I was….
In the post-fight interview, he talked through his training camp and how they studied this exact setup, because they believed it was a weakness in Bisping’s game. It shows how cerebral his whole process is, and why he is a legend of the sport. After dropping Bisping with that left hook, GSP pounced and was raining down shots until he moved around to the back to sink in a rear naked choke. Bisping, not being one to ever give up, chose to go unconscious rather than tap. And with that, GSP becomes one of the rare fighters to hold a belt in two divisions.
No idea what happens from here. GSP hinted he wanted to return to welterweight, which sucks because interim champ Robert Whitaker was sitting cage side, and I just really want to see him fight for an actual belt.
The fight I thought would prove to be the most entertaining ended up being as crazy as advertised. Cody Garbrandt went into the cage making his first title defense against former teammate TJ Dillashaw. There was a lot of animosity between these two leading up to it, and even more tension when it had to be scrapped because of an injury to Garbrandt a few months back. Madision Square Garden was lucky enough to be the host for this bantamweight championship, and it was quite a show.
Dillashaw was actually the first one to meet the canvas when he was knocked down at the end of the first round. After the horn, he walked back to his corner on wobbly legs, and I couldn’t imagine a worse scenario for him to face. Garbrandt only gets stronger when he smells blood in the water, so imagine my surprise when TJ lands a monster of a hook.
Dillashaw attacked with a vengeance to put Garbrandt away and reclaim the belt. Then something happened I didn’t think possible from these two guys that seemed to hate each other.
I’m actually really proud of both of those guys. And if Dominick Cruz beats Jimmie Rivera at UFC 218, we could have a bantamweight belt that is just constantly changing hands between three of the scariest guys in the division. Dillashaw says he wants to jump down to flyweight and take on champ Demetrius Johnson. Don’t know how that will shape out, but TJ looked ready for anything after getting his title back.
Now…..this next one was the shocker. The first two fights were pretty much toss ups. This one wasn’t. This one was about a dominant champion taking on a young challenger who was a huge underdog, and everybody expected champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk to make short work of Rose Namajunas. Joanna had just been such a savage in all of her other fights. Rose had already come up short in reaching the title after her stint on The Ultimate Fighter. I was left with my mouth hanging open and staring at the screen when Namajunas was not only standing toe to toe with the champ, but did THIS to her…..
I wasn’t the only one left saying, “…..holy……shit….” after that fight was over. EVERYONE thought Namajunas would try and use her grappling skills to get the win; it’s what she’s known for. Now she has striking power, too? Damn, what a crazy win. She was 22 she fought for her first title, and had to wait until age 25 before reaching that goal. This opens up so many options in the division, and god bless her for staying so humble.
Man, that wasn’t even the whole thing. We also had Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson fighting Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal in what had to be a title eliminator at welterweight, but with GSP back in town, who the fuck knows. These two didn’t seem to care, and put on a hell of a show. Thompson is one of the most unorthodox and prolific strikers in the division. Masvidal tried his damnedest to push forward and land shots, but doing that to Wonderboy is damn near an impossible task. He’s the best in this division outside of champ Tyron Woodley, who happens to be the only guy to give Thompson a run for his money. Wonderboy admitted he probably broke his thumb on the thick skull of Masvidal during the fight, and with Colby Covington, Robbie Lawler, and now GSP in the title mix, we may not see him get a third title shot anytime soon.
There was also a pretty intriguing showdown of lightweights over on Fox Sports 1. Joe Duffy and James Vick were two rising stars, and of course they wanted to put on a show and get noticed. However, this fight ended at quite literally the last possible second of the round when Vick landed a sneaky uppercut followed by some good old fashioned punches to the face.
The first thing he did was walk over to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and scream that he wants more top fights. I think he should at least get a top 15 spot, and he mentioned a possible fight in his native Texas if anyone is willing to take him on.
Oh by the way, we also had a top 10 matchup of light heavyweights who look fucking terrifying. Ovince Saint-Preux took this fight against Corey Anderson on short notice, and Anderson couldn’t believe his luck. This was his chance to shine and break into the top 5. He was doing very well early on by taking OSP down and using his superior wrestling skills. But then OSP found a nifty little tool to strike back with in the form of a head kick.
This was, of course, a bad thing for Corey Anderson, and the last thing he needed was years taken off his life by one of them again. But OSP does what OSPs are wont to do from time to time, and put Anderson’s lights OUT. I mean dear god….
And if you were hoping I’d leave off with a nice little submission win or a cute little victory speech, then you don’t know me very well. My favorite thing is violence. Thus I present to you Ricardo Ramos trying not once, but twice to land a brain-shattering spinning elbow on Aiemann Zahabi.
What a night. It was my favorite card of the year, so far. I can’t believe so much crazy shit went down. Congratulations to all the new champs!!