This past Saturday, the UFC's second card ever at the Madison Square garden took place and had a card full of exciting fights, surprising finishes, and overall, what could be the UFC's BEST card of 2017.
Let's get into the action and go over what made this card so incredible.
Michel Bisping vs. George St-Pierre (win)
Now we come to one of the most anticipated returns in UFC history. In the main event of the evening, UFC Middleweight champion Michael 'The Count' Bisping would put his 185-lb strap on the line against a legend who has been away from the sport for FOUR years; the returning former Welterweight champion, Georges 'Rush' St-Pierre.
The fight begins with GSP landing a good overhand right to cheers from the crowd. He follows with a spinning back kick that grazes Bisping, although the champ keeps a poker face and tries to press forward. GSP continues his barrage though, landing his stiff jab and good follow up punches behind it. Towards the end of the round, GSP lands a takedown on Bisping, but 'The Count' quickly gets up, showcasing his touted scrambling ability. To end the round, GSP lands a good combo.
In the 2nd, GSP comes out with his jab once more, and then a leg kick, but this time Bisping is able to check it and counter with kicks of his own. He is wary of the constant advancing of GSP but is able to time it and lands a good leg kick followed by a straight right. GSP responds with a jab then goes right into a double leg, but Bisping is able to secure half guard then get to his feet. Towards the end of the round, Bisping looks fresher as GSP's hands are low, and the Champ takes advantage landing a good combination to end the round.
Now we come to the third round. GSP comes out with a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the round. However as GSP tries to work from within Bisping's guard, the champ lands a large amount of punches and elbows from the bottom, which opens a cut on GSP. St Pierre is able to land a good elbow of his own but then Bisping lands another elbow from the bottom that open's up GSP's cut even more. Past the midway point of the round, both fighters rise, Bisping bloody from his foe and GSP wearing his own blood like a mask. However this won't stop Georges, as he continues to walk down Michael. As they measure up, they both throw right hands, Bisping's misses, GSP's clips Bisping's midsection, then, GSP's counter overhand left flys in and catches Bisping right on the chin. Bisping falls back, onto the canvas, trying to compose himself. GSP won't let him though, and follows him down and begins raining down elbow after elbow, most of which connect clean. Bisping does just enough to defend the onslaught, but once he tries to push off Georges and get to his feet, he exposes his back as he tries to stand up. GSP jumps on this immediately, and after a quick punch from the back he locks in the Rear-Naked choke flawlessly, dropping back and squeezing as Bisping struggles with terror at being caught. After a couple of seconds, Bisping's arms stop defending and his face goes expressionless. Referee John McCarthy immediately steps in, stopping the fight as GSP chokes Bisping unconscious. He gets up, face bloodied, once again a UFC Champion. Georges St. Pierre def. Michael Bisping via R3 Technical Submission, becoming the NEW UFC Middleweight Champion of the world. Incredible!
UFC 217: Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping Octagon Interviews
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillasha (win)
In the co-main event of the evening, we had a long-anticipated match-up between UFC Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and #1 Bantamweight contender TJ Dillashaw. In the first round we saw a feeling out process for most of the round, both fighters exchanged shots but couldn't find much early. Cody is steady in his boxing style stance but TJ is moving around, feinting and flowing in and out of stances. After the halfway mark, the action picks up as Cody throws a good combo, but most of it is blocked by TJ. Cody throws a left hook and finds a home for it, hitting TJ with a second left. TJ tries to clinch up but eats a couple of body shots as he fails to do so. They exchange in the final seconds of the round and it is a Right overhand eerily similar to the one he Knocked TJ down with in their training camp video. Cody followed up but TJ defends for a second before the round ends. TJ bounces up, a bit wobbly. In the second round, TJ comes out aggressively as Cody dodges his attacks. He stuff's TJ takedown attempt, but then TJ launches a left high kick that catches Cody on the cheek, dropping him. He jumps back to his feet though, and seems to have recovered a bit. However, come mid-round, there is an exchange of punches between the two and in it, TJ connects with a huge right hook that drops Cody once again. This time, TJ follows him to the ground and throws down right hand after right hand to pound out the champ. After 7-8 shots to the turtled-up Garbrandt, Referee Dan Miragliotta steps in to stop the fight, and TJ Dillashaw rises up shouting in celebration, as Cody stands, wobbly and obviously hurt from the barrage. TJ successfully reclaims his belt. TJ Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt via R2 TKO, becoming NEW UFC Bantamweight champion.
UFC 217: TJ Dillashaw Octagon Interview
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas (win)
In the first Championship fight of the evening, we have the Women's strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk going up against the challenger, Rose Namajunas. This fight started off quickly, with Rose landing the first strike, a leg kick. Joanna circles around and finds a home for a good straight hand as Rose comes in. After a bit of back and forth, Rose lands a huge overhand right that drops Joanna to the canvas hard. Rose follows, but Joanna is able to scramble and get to her feet against the cage. They separate and Rose tries to come in again and Joanna finds a good counter right. However, Rose measures her and lands a good 1-2 combo that ended with a right hook. As Joanna backpedals, Rose closes the distance successfully this time, and throws a perfect left hook that lands flush on the Champion's jaw. Joanna's legs give out as she hits the canvas even harder than the first, the crowd exploding with surprise. Rose follows her down again and this time she follows up with a flurry of ground and pound in which most punches connect with the head of the rocked Joanna. Just as Big John McCarthy steps in, Joanna taps her hand on the canvas, showing that she reached her breaking point and was going to tap out if McCarthy wasn't ready to stop it. However at the end of the day, Rose made history, dethroning the undefeated Jedrzejczyk and becoming the 3rd Strawweight champion in UFC history. Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via R1 TKO, becoming the NEW UFC Strawweight champion.
UFC 217: Rose Namajunas Octagon Interview
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricardo Lucas Ramos (win)
To kick off the night, we had a Bantamweight contest, between 7-0 Aiemann Zahabi, and the explosive Ricardo Ramos. In the first round, we had back and forth exchanges on the feet between both fighters. Zahabi establishes the jab while Ramos goes with leg kicks early. Mid-round the pace slows as both men look to counter, and as Zahabi gets hit trying to engage the clinch, Ramos hits a takedown. Zahabi is able to fight to his feet and then Zahabi lands a right of his own, looking for a takedown before the end of the round. It is Ramos, however, who gets the takedown from this position and the round ends. In the second, Ramos comes out using his leg kicks well, but as he backs up a bit Zahabi lands some good right hands and a good hook. Zahabi was able to use is offense more effectively this round, and began to catch Ramos with his stiff jab and a pair of good uppercuts that damage the nose of Ramos. He ends the round with a jab and it appears the fight is 1-1 now. In the third round, Ramos comes out and gets caught with a right after he tries a leg kick. Zahabi begins to land his hands once more, with a good uppercut lands for him. Ramos appears tired and as he backs up, Zahabi rushes forward trying to land a KO blow on Ramos. However out of nowhere, Ramos spins and lands a flush spinning elbow on Zahabi's chin. He eats it though, and continues throwing. Then lightning strikes twice as Ramos again spins and connects with the spinning elbow and this time, Zahabi cannot withstand the shot. As the elbow hits his chin he falls to the canvas stiff and the fight is stopped. Ricardo Lucas Ramos def. Aiemann Zahabi via R3 KO.
Aleksei Oleynik vs. Curtis Blaydes (win)
In our next matchup, we have a Heavyweight contest between veteran Alexey Oleynik and up and comer Curtis Blaydes. The first round begins with Blaydes shooting a takedown on Oleynik, however he wisely stands up as Oleynik almost establishes full guard. On the feet, it is Blaydes who is doing the better job, landing a flush jab and as Oleynik tries a spinning backfist, Blaydes takes him down again. As Oleynik looks for the arm bar, Blaydes again gets up out of the world of Oleynik, being aware of his submission prowess. Another takedown attempt by Blaydes results in another Oleynik arm bar attempt but this time Blaydes gets free and gets to side control, working ground and pound. As they stand, they begin trading heavy blows, and after they separate Blaydes lands a good combo that sends Oleynik down. The round ends with a great combo by Blaydes that leaves Oleynik a bit wobbly. In the 2nd, Oleynik comes out aggressively but pays as he eats a good left hook from Blaydes. As Blaydes shoots another takedown, Oleynik goes down but wraps up guard once again. As Blaydes gets up he throws a kick and it tags Oleynik as he was getting up, which appeared to be illegal. The referee called time and asked for the physician to examine Oleynik. The doctor decides that the fight should be stopped, and therefore it is. There is some confusion but the foul committed was determined to be non fight ending, and the doctor called for the stop due to the damage that Oleynik had already sustained. Curtis Blaydes def. Alexey Oleynik via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in R2. KO.
Mickey Gall vs. Randy Brown (win)
To kick off the FS1 prelims we had a Welterweight contest between Mickey Gall and Randy Brown. In the first round, Brown comes out fast landing accurate shots on the defending Gall. Brown continues his assault but Gall is able to slow him down with a right of his own, and then clinches Brown. However it is 'Rude Boy' Brown who lands the takedown against Gall, after some good knees in the clinch. Gall is able to get to full guard, but Brown postures up against the fence and begins looking for Ground and Pound on Gall. Towards the end of the round, all of Gall's submission attempts from the bottom are stopped early, and Brown is able to land a huge handful of elbows that damage Gall and some heavy punches to follow them. These punches cut open Gall, and the round ends. In the 2nd round, Gall is taken down again by Brown but is better prepared this time. He executes a great sweep and thenlooks to maintain top position as Brown fights back from the bottom. As Gall transitions to side control, he begins to land ground and pound of his own, including palm strikes and elbows. He looks for the crucifix but can't get to it and as Brown scrambles he goes for the guillotine. Brown gets out and the round ends with Gall in side control on top. In the 3rd round, Brown throws a big lead uppercut and although Gall moves to avoid, it clips him and he falls from the strike. Brown follows up with a flurry but Gall is still ok and is able to defend well. Brown looks to control on top now, and lands good elbows as Gall fails with some submission attempts. Brown is able to maintain good top control throughout the final round and although Gall looks for a guillotine late he can't secure it. Brown stands and forces Gall to as well, letting the fight end on the feet. Randy Brown def. Mickey Gall via Unanimous Decision. t
Ovince Saint Preux (win) vs. Corey Anderson
In our next fight of the Prelims, we have an important Light Heavyweight contest, as Ovince St. Preux faces off against Corey Anderson. The first round begins with some good exchanges by both men, but then a good takedown by Anderson. He rides the leg of OSP, using his left hand to land shots while he uses his right to aid in keeping OSP down. St Preux is able to get to his feet after a while and as they get to their feet Anderson stays on OSP and lands a knee to the body and attempts another takedown. OSP defends this time and is able to land good strikes of his own, elbows to be exact. They separate again but Anderson keeps his wrestling strategy as he throws a couple shots and then shoots again. At the end of the round, OSP lands a good combination that drops Anderson. In the beginning of the second, OSP lands a huge left high kick to Anderson's jaw, knocking free his mouth-guard. After a quick pause to get Anderson's mouthpiece back in the action resumes, and Anderson returns to the takedowns with a shot on OSP. St Preux lands some good shots but Anderson is able to land a good slam, and he goes back to the leg riding position. He stays in this position and OSP is trying to defend, absorbing shots while he does. The rest of the round goes this way, and although they are able to stand, they stay clinched until the horn. In the 3rd OSP lands the first good shot of the round, and then stuffs Anderson's takedown attempt. This causes Anderson to stay on the feet with OSP, not a good idea for him. After about a minute, St Preux throws up another left high kick, this one landing flush on the jaw of Anderson, as in trying to avoid it he leaned into the kick, taking it with even more impact. This shot was enough, as Anderson falls limp to the canvas. OSP walks off celebrating as Referee Dan Miragliotta steps in to stop the fight. Ovince St. Preux def. Corey Anderson via R3 KO.
Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer (win)
Next up, we have a bout between two heavy handed Heavyweights, Mark Godbeer and Walt Harris. The fight starts well, as Harris is doing damage early with good body kicks. He then takes down Godbeer easily then passes to full mount. He lands good ground and pound, but Godbeer works hard and gets back to Full guard where he is doing well to defend the shots of Walt, but not for long. Eventually, Harris begins to land heavy rights and a good elbow, but Godbeer is able to find some composure and get to his feet. Harris stays on him and lands good left, but the knee he throws next strikes too low, hitting Godbeer in the cup. Referee Blake Grice rushed in to call a halt to the fight to give Godbeer a chance to recover, but it appears that Harris was either too in the zone, or simply didn't hear the referee as he continues despite the 'break!' calls and throws an illegal high kick that catches Godbeer on the chin. He staggers to the other side of the cage and collapses after taking the blow without defending. Harris is immediately regretful and it is obvious he didn't intentionally mean to throw the kick after the low blow. He later said that he thought his knee struck Godbeer's body, which is why he didn't immediately stop. However, the damage is done and Godbeer cannot recover as he sits on his knees trying to compose himself. The officials deem Godbeer unfit to continue and since the foul by Harris was fight-ending, he was Disqualified. Mark Godbeer def. Walt Harris via DQ in R1.
James Vick (win) vs. Joe Duffy
In the featured prelim fight of the evening, we have a Lightweight contest between James 'The Texecutioner' Vick and 'Irish Joe' Duffy. The fight begins with a back and forth exchange between men. Vick uses his reach advantage to find his jab, and finds a few combos early against Duffy in the 1st. The momentum changes after Vick tries to jump into guard and falls, then gets back up. Duffy then finds a good straight that backs up Vick, and as Duffy clinches with him he lands a good body shot. After Duffy lands a takedown Vick gets back to his feet and tries to land a flurry as the round ends. It is close. However in the 2nd round, Vick is able to find his momentum. He comes out establishing his jab well, and then goes to good low kicks to the legs and body of Duffy. As Duffy continues to press forward Vick stays with his striking attack and lands more low kicks. As the 3 clacks denoting the final ten seconds sound, Vick lands a huge uppercut that sends Duffy to the canvas. Vick follows him down and tries to pound away with hammerfists to finish the fight at the very last second. He lands just enough for Referee Todd Anderson to jump in just before the horn sounds, stopping the fight at 4:59. James Vick gets it done at the last second. James Vick def. Joe Duffy via R2 TKO.
Paulo Costa (win) vs. Johny Hendricks
To kick off the main card, we have a clash between the past and the future, as veteran Johny Hendricks takes on explosive newcomer Paulo Costa. In the first round, Costa comes out with good low kicks. Hendricks lands some leg kicks, but they don't do much damage. As Hendricks goes for the takedown Costa stuffs it, landing a knee before they separate. Costa backs Hendricks against the wall and lands a good right hand then a knee. Hendricks tries to attack at the end of the round, but it only draws smiles and taunts from Costa, who lands the more powerful combo at the end of the first round. In the 2nd round, Hendricks tries to get momentum going with low kicks, but is accidentally eye poked by Costa. After a brief pause, the action resumes. Costa then lands a good left hand followed by a head kick, and it rocks Hendricks. He begins to back up and Costa takes chase. He catches up to the retreating Hendricks and lands a series of good punches as he walks him down. A huge body shot by Costa buckles Hendricks and a series of hard uppercuts causes him to drop to his knees. Referee Big John McCarthy steps in as Hendricks grabs the leg of Costa in desperation, but as Costa gets up and celebrates it is obvious that Hendricks is still hurt as he stays on his knees for a bit after getting stopped. Paulo Costa def. Johny Hendricks via R2 TKO.
Stephen Thompson (win) vs. Jorge Masvidal
In our last 3-round fight of the evening we have a Welterweight contest between #1 ranked Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson, and #4 Jorge 'Gamebred' Masvidal. To begin the fight both men are starting out very tentatively and cautiously. Masvidal knows that going crazy against Thompson is like buying a one-way ticket to KO city. Thompson's style is a more counter-reliant one as well. These factors contributed to a slower fight pace between the two. Throughout the 1st round, Thompson is able to land good kicks to the body of Masvidal from range, also showing off his hand speed. Masvidal begins to come back but is caught by a powerful side kick from Thompson, knocking him to the canvas. He bounces back up though, but it is Thompson with the final word landing a good straight left at the end of the round. In the 2nd round, we see more caution from both fighters, as Thompson defends a takedown by Masvidal after some inactivity. Thompson then lands a good body shot that drops Masvidal, but not for long. Masvidal comes back with a good hook, but Wonderboy is unfazed and is able to utilize good straight punches against Masvidal. In the 3rd round, both men open it up a bit more as Masvidal tries unsuccessfully for another takedown. After this both men continue to engage against one another and Thompson is doing more damage although Jorge has found a home for his leg kicks. Thompson continues to use his precision Karate style straight punches and both men end the 3rd with a swinging exchange, both looking for the KO. The story of this fight overall was Thompson's ability to do steady damage throughout the fight, deny takedowns, and avoid the big shots of Masvidal. Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal via Unanimous Decision.