UFC 217 review and predictions

Edward L'Orange Roar Guru

By Edward L'Orange, Edward L'Orange is a Roar Guru

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    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques Boissinot, File)

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    UFC 217, possibly the most exiting line-up of the year, is finally upon us this weekend. Headlined by the return of Georges St-Pierre against the middleweight champion Michael Bisping, this card is packed with great fights.

    So let us get into the breakdown.

    The night begins with the middleweight bout between Johny Hendricks (18 wins seven loses) and Paulo Borrachinha (10-0). Journeyman fighter Hendricks is coming of a salty resent record, having lost six of his last nine fights.

    However, as his loses come largely from names such Stephen Thompson, Robbie Lawler, or Georges St-Pierre, and the majority being decisions, he is still very much in contention. However, his opponent is the undefeated Brazilian monster Paulo Borrachinha, who has a record of ten wins and nine KOs.

    Having only made it out of the first round once in his career, Borrachina is the quintessential knockout artist, and has an imposing seven cm height advantage over Hendricks.

    Hendricks’ best bet in this fight is to try to get the match into the last round and tire the big Brazilian. However, this is a hard task, and I expect Borrachina to win by TKO in first or second round.

    Next is the very exciting match between Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (12-2-1 draw) and Jorge Masvidal (32-12). Although two years his junior, Masvidal is a true MMA veteran, with an impressive 44 professional fights.

    Besides his last split-decision loss against Demian Maia, Masvidal has a decent recent record, with victories over Donal Cerrone, Jake Ellenberger and Ross Pearson, and a win against Wonderboy may well get him a title shot against Tyron Woodley.

    Stephen Thompson is also coming of a loss, his now infamous match against Tyron Woodley. However, he had a very impressive record previous to his two fights against Woodley, with an eight match winning streak including a win over Rory McDonald. Both being upright fighters, this bout is hard to call.

    However, I expect Wonderboy to get the better of this fight in what for him is a return to the big stage after his loss to Woodley. His karate style will prevail to get the points over Masvidal, who will lose by decision.

    The next is the first of three championship fights on this card, with the Women’s Strawweight belt on the line between champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk (14-0) and Rose Namajunas (6-3). Joanna is an outstanding champion, with endurance to be marvelled at. Her undefeated record puts her well on top in the odds for this fight.

    Indeed, on paper, the 25 year-old Numajunas does not seem to compare to the champ. However, with fierce, unorthodox submissions, including a spectacular flying armbar, she is difficult to train for, and is likely only just coming into her prime as a mixed marital artist.

    With five of her six wins coming from submission, she will be looking to take the bout to the mat early, or surprise Jędrzejczyk with a submission from a outside the box.

    However, against the experience and skill of Jędrzejczyk this is a tough ask. I am interested to see how this one pans out, but I think we will see Joanna avoid the take downs and pace herself to win points and take the match by decision.

    Next we have the much anticipated bantamweight champions between Cody Garbrandt (11-0) and T.J. Dillashaw (14-3). With genuine animosity between these two, and both being outstanding competitors, here we have one of the fights of the year: one I think should have been the main event.

    Former teammates, Cody and T.J. share after a long saga of dislike and confrontation which is far too long to go into. How the two approach this fight will be interesting. Certainly, any outright head to head banging will benefit Garbrandt.

    With nine of his 11 wins coming from knockout, Garbrandt is possibly the best striker the weight-class has ever seen, and he will be searching for an early KO.

    Dillashaw, however, is the more well rounded fighter. He owns an impressive background in college wrestling and solid Jiu Jitsu, but still can strike with the best.

    If he is smart, he will look to evade Garbrandt’s early onslaught and take the fight to the ground and win points. However, an infamously competitive and emotional fighter, it is possible T.J. may let pride and animosity get the better of him and attempt bang with Cody.

    This would be a mistake. If Dillashaw keeps his head, this has the potential to be an all-time classic fight, and is very hard to predict.

    However, I will go out on a limb and say that T.J. has seemed the more focused fighter in the lead-up, and will keep his head to outscore Garbrandt and win by decision.

    The final fight of the night is the middleweight champion bout between the champion Michael Bisping (30-7), and returning legend Georges St-Pierre (25-2).

    UFC 114: Michael Bisping v Dan Miller

    (Photo: Zuffa – Flickr)

    Returning from a four-year retirement, the former champ ‘GSP’ jumps straight back onto title contention in this match against Englishman Bisping.

    There has been some contention about the bout, with claims that the fight is not in the best interest of modern UFC fans.

    Nevertheless, the fight has been endlessly promoted by the UFC, with Bisping doing more than his share of the talking.

    The fight itself is an interesting one. Both fighters are veterans, with incredible wins over outstanding opponents. Indeed, GSP is possibly one of the greatest champions of UFC history, defending the title nine times in one of the most competitive weight-divisions in the UFC.

    Both are well rounded fighters, with GSP perhaps having the edge on the skills front. Both also have excellent cardio, having fought five rounds multiple times, but Bisping, being the more current fighter, would seem to have the edge here.

    In the end, the biggest factor in this fight is GSP’s four year stint on the sidelines. He has come back and gone up a weight-class, and how ring rust and his new weight will impact his performance is a huge unknown.

    Bisping is the reigning champion and has much more recent fights, and thus despite being almost 38, is more ring ready than St-Pierre. Because of this, I am going to go against the odds and say that Bisping will win an underwhelming, but nevertheless entertaining, match by decision.

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 7:06am
      Jerry said | November 3rd 2017 @ 7:06am | ! Report

      Possibly one of the greatest champions in UFC history is a bit of an understatement – no possibly needed there. If you take Jones out of the discussion it’s Silva and GSP at 1 and 2 and the only question is in what order.

      Also, re Garbrandt & Dillashaw, I wouldn’t necessarily read too much into pre fight focus. If you recall the build up to Garbrandt’s challenge v Cruz, it looked like Cody was all over the place and as if Cruz had taken up residence in his head. Every encounter between them featured Cruz talking circles around Cody and leaving him flustered and frustrated – but the fight was a different story….

      Also, it’s bizarre to recall Hendricks pre title days when he was a first round knockout artist sleeping the likes of Fitch and Kampmann.

      • Roar Guru

        November 3rd 2017 @ 10:27am
        Edward L'Orange said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        Well, I would chuck Mighty Mouse in there as well, but can’t disagree with GSP and Silva.

        As to Cody vs. TJ, I hear you. It’s such a hard fight to call. I just feel that TJ is the more bitter and desperate to win, and it might give him the edge. But it could just as easy go the other way. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trilogy out of these two and it go down as one of the best rivalries we’ve seen.

        And Henricks, he’ll retire tomorrow, I think. It’s a pity, but the time comes for all.

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:13am
      Steven Lawrence said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      I think that the UFC world is very cautious and concerned about what to expect in GSP return. I am so looking forward to this fight card and hope that Gsp gets the win and then fight Silva. Nice article Edward thanks for the read.

      • Roar Guru

        November 3rd 2017 @ 10:30am
        Edward L'Orange said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Thanks Steven. I’m honestly not sure who I want to win the headline, but I do hope the winner fights, and gets beaten by Whittaker. Although the news is there will be a UFC event in Perth, with Whittaker possibly putting him interim title on the line against Rockhold.

    • November 3rd 2017 @ 8:34am
      theHunter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      Johnny Hendricks is one of my favorite fighters. I think he lost his mojo when GSP retired. He was very hungry to dethrone the than Champion and it was entertaining watching him move up the ladder. Anyway, I hope he gets the “W” this weekend.

      I also believe TJ and Cody should have been the main event. The ability to stand and trade punches should have given them the upper hand for this. I tip Cody to give TJ an ass-whooping.

      GSP is one of the most boring fighters I have ever watched and I don’t think people will see an exciting fight. It would be GSP going for hugs while Bisping will try to have an actual fight. GSP is new to the weight class and his type of fight might not work with the bigger weight class here and will (I hope) get knocked out.

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 9:37am
        Jerry said | November 3rd 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        I find the criticism of GSP’s fight style kind of incongruous with your declaration of Hendricks being your favourite fighter. Hendricks has been all lay & pray since the Condit fight.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:52pm
          theHunter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

          Jerry, I liked Johnny Hendricks when he was moving up the ladder, he was knocking people out and it was exciting to watch him as he had a mission to take GSP’s head after every match.

          After GSP retired his fight with Lawler for the belt was a brawl but after he lost in the second bout he has being a bit off the mark but while with GSP he is technical but it’s just boring to watch for me. As compared to other greats such as Silva, Jones, even Mighty Mouse, GSP is not an exciting person to watch in my opinion

      • Roar Guru

        November 3rd 2017 @ 10:38am
        Edward L'Orange said | November 3rd 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        I think people will be seriously disappointed with the GSP/Bisping fight. It’ll be a grind, and entertaining to real fans, but not a barnburner. Cody/TJ will surely be better. It’s an interesting card actually, I only see the Hendricks/Borrachinha fight not going the distance.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 12:34pm
          Jerry said | November 3rd 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          I suspect you’re right. Neither is a hugely exciting style of fighter – Bisping’s most exciting fights (other than the KO on Rockhold) tend to be when he gets beat up and then stays in it (eg A Silva, W Silva or Henderson 2) and I don’t see GSP doing that. It’s either gonna be GSP outpointing Bisping on the ground or Bisping outpointing GSP on his feet, I suspect (though it is possible GSP could win the standing battle too).

      • November 3rd 2017 @ 2:49pm
        jimmy said | November 3rd 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        Hendricks didn’t ‘lose his mojo’…he lost his ability to make weight and do whatever else he was doing, before USADA starting testing UFC fighters. The difference in his physique from before and after USADA is crazy…

        • Roar Guru

          November 3rd 2017 @ 3:01pm
          Edward L'Orange said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

          Must concur here. Missing weight like he has is not professional, and has hurt his career (amongst other things). Possibly another USADA casualty.

        • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:54pm
          theHunter said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

          Yes Jimmy but it still felt like he didn’t care about much of his career after that when GSP retired. If you watch his matches before challenging GSP, you could tell he was highly motivated and that all changed when GSP retired.

    • November 5th 2017 @ 10:34am
      Rob9 said | November 5th 2017 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      Card of the year!

      Garbrandt to get it done in the 3rd. I don’t think he’ll hold back on T.J. like he did against Cruz.

      GSP/Bisping is the great unknown. I’m leaning towards Bisping on points to (fingers crossed) set up the Middleweight unification in Perth in Feb with Robbie.

      • November 5th 2017 @ 10:38am
        Rob9 said | November 5th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        I’m also looking forward to seeing Wonderboy. I’m thinking suprise KO in the 3rd.

    • November 5th 2017 @ 4:18pm
      R2k said | November 5th 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

      Well then! 3 new champions. Would have liked to have placed money on that!

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