UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre happens Saturday, Nov. 4 and you can find all the results below.
Everyone expected UFC 217 to be special — it was the best fight card of the year and all three championship fights looked outstanding on paper — but once the action hit the Octagon, Saturday's fight card at Madison Square Garden exceeded expectations. From start to finish, this was an absolute monster filled with outstanding performance, incredible finishes and championship belts changing hands.
Check out the blow-by-blow breakdown below and be sure to come back to Sporting News MMA in the next couple days for tons of post-fight insights and analysis.
(All times Eastern.)
UFC 217 results
12:50am: What a night, man. What. A. Night.
Three new champions. Three electric fights. All three turning in killer hooks. Lots of new matchups and stories to explore going forward. Nights like this are why we all love this crazy sport. This has been so much fun. Hope you guys all enjoyed this live blog - we'll be back with another one for UFC 218 and I'll be back here on Sporting News MMA in the next couple days with some post-fight thoughts.
Sleep well, Savages!
12:48am: Bisping says hats off to GSP, gives him credit. Thanks everyone for the support. Says he's not done, which is good to hear because he looked solid this evening right up until the end.
12:45am: GSP is speechless. Thanks everyone in attendance. Calls it a "dream come true." Says Bisping hurt him a couple times, wouldn't like to fight him again. Rogan asks him what comes next and St-Pierre says he wanted the challenge of fighting at middleweight and avoids the question. Talks through the replay, says he set a trap with the choke, which is exactly what it looked like - one punch, made Bisping defend and laced the arm under the neck. GSP talks about his technique and intelligence. Praises Bisping.
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre (for the UFC middleweight title)
Round 3: Bisping's athletic cup is busted; just sitting in his underwear now... GSP in on the shot right away, dumps Bisping to the canvas. Bisping trying to work from bottom, GSP trying to posture up. GSP is cut from an elbow from the bottom from Bisping. Champ doing a good job of tying up the arms and landing from bottom. GSP not getting off any offense here. GSP just misses with an elbow. Short elbow inside from Bisping and GSP is leaking somehting fierce. GSP gets up and his face is crimson from two cuts. Jab lands for GSP. Right for Bisping. Right from GSP connects over the top. Two minutes to go. Good right from GSP, but he's one and done now. Superman punch lands for the challenger. Short left unbalances GSP. Stepping side kick again from GSP lands to the body but nothing on it. GSP with a short left drops Bisping and he's swarming now with elbows. Bisping defending. GSP emptying the tank. Takes the back. Sinks in the choke. Bisping goes out. GSP is the UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION! GSP IS THE MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION! BISPING IS OUT! WHAT A NIGHT!
CANADA!!! YOUR MMA KING HAS RETURNED!! #UFC217
— UFC (@ufc) November 5, 2017
Official Result: Georges St-Pierre def. Michael Bisping by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:23 of Round 3.
Round 2: Side kick for GSP who presses forward. Jab lands clean for GSP. Bisping is letting GSP dictate the pace of the fight, which is weird because that's one of his best weapons. Pawing right hook for Bisping not even close. Inside leg kick hits for Bisping. Stepping side kick for GSP. Lead hook lands for GSP. The challenger is in charge right now. Two down, three to go. Right hand thunks home for Bisping, right on the jaw. Champ gained some confidence from that one. GSP's pace has slowed, a little more flat-footed here. Double jab lands and he's in on a shot. Gets Bisping down in the center of the cage. Into half-guard. Bisping cut along the forehead and he gets up. Right hand over the top lands flush for the champ. GSP is tiring here folks. One minute. Bisping catches a kick and you can see his confidence growing as GSP takes deep breaths. Jumping switch kick for Bisping lands; not hard, but it lands. He can see GSP is gassing.
10-9 Bisping for me thanks to the two big left hands, but it's a close round. 19-19 on my card, but could be 20-18 for GSP. That said, the challenger seems exhausted already.
Round 1: GSP doesn't look out-sized in there. Jab and an inside kick from GSP. Now outside. Jab for Bisping. Feeling eahc other out. Right over the top for GSP. Looks smooth. Lunging hook for GSP. Both guys cut and swell easily so keep that in mind as they land jabs and start connecting. Left hook connects short for Bisping. Kick from GSP high grazes. Bisping real cautious right now, finding his range, taking his time. Afraid of the takedown? GSP chants begin. Another jab for GSP. He's still got it, in case you wondered. Right hand lands with a jab behind it. Bisping counters with a right. Couple big swings miss for GSP. Short left lands for Bisping inside. GSP in on a single, dumbs Bisping by grabbing the back ankle. Super-technical takedown, but Bisping right back up. Left hand wobbles Bisping a little. Spinning wheel kick follows. GSP looking terrific to start.
10-9 GSP, no question. Now we have to see how his conditioning holds up because you know Bisping is good for another 20 minutes.
12:24am: They touch'em up following final instructions and it's time to fight!
12:20am: John McCarthy with the main event assignment.
12:17am: Boos for Bisping as "Song 2" kicks in. Huge fight for the champion - this could be a perfect ride off into the sunset moment if he does something special here. He looks very fired up and focused heading to the cage.
12:15am: For the first time in nearly four years, Georges St-Pierre is set to step into the Octagon. Firas Zahabi, Jonathan DiBella, John Danaher and Freddie Roach in his corner. So many questions about to be answered for the French-Canadian superstar. Huge pop from the crowd at MSG too. Good point by Cormier - GSP looks like a legit middleweight in terms of how he put on the mass; not just a puffy welterweight like Johny Hendricks earlier in the evenings.
The Skinny: GSP returns for the first time in just about four years fighting up in weight in search of a second UFC title. For Bisping, this is a chance to add another victory over another legendary figure to his resume. Additionally, both could retire after this contest or both could soldier on; that’s another piece of what makes this such an intriguing fight now that it’s finally here.
Pre-Fight Pick: Bisping – moving up to face a very good fighter after four years away is a tall order and as much as it might get me kicked out of Canada (yes, I’m Canadian), I just think Bisping’s style and skills will end up being too much for GSP in this one.
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12:12am: So given everything that has transpire thus far, can Bisping retain his title and add a win over GSP to his incredible final chapter or will the returning former champion make it 3-for-3 for the challengers at UFC 217? Either way, this has been an amazing night and a great way to kick off the final two months of action in the Octagon.
12:07am: This has been one of the best nights of action in quite some time - maybe the best depending on how this final fight plays out. I mean there have only been two decisions, there has been some weirdness and their have been two thrilling title changes... And we still have Bisping-GSP on deck!
12:04am: This rivalry is far from over, but for tonight, Dillashaw is the better man. Gives Garbrandt props for the first-round knockdown, says he'll see him again. Dillashaw says he's coming for Demetrious Johnson next; calls his championship record "fake." It would be a great fight, but I think Dillashaw needs to do some work at '35 before we do a "Champion vs. Champion" fight.
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw (for the UFC bantamweight title)
Round 2: Dillashaw whiffs on a kick to start. Misses high and Garbrandt styles. Low kick for Dillashaw. Lunges in and Garbrandt counters tight up top. Dillashaw looks to get inside for a takedown, but gets shrugged off. Head kick stuns Garbrandt, right hand follows and we've got ourselves a fight. Left hand from the champion in response. Dillashaw hunting for a kick again, but no one home. Midway point of the round. Right hook floors Garbrandt and the flurry that follows ends the fight! Garbrandt had no response and Dillashaw screams in his face! AND NEW AGAIN!
— UFC (@ufc) November 5, 2017
Official Result: TJ Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt by TKO (Strikes) at 2:41 of Round 2.
Round 1: No touch at the instructions; time to get it on... Dillashaw crouching and moving, Garbrandt in his usual orthodox stance. Low kick misses, Garbrandt showboats right away. Inside low kick for Dillashaw. Garbrandt just looking to counter right now, allowing Dillashaw to lead. Now the champion comes forward with a kick, but misses. Kick up the middle from Dillashaw. Dillashaw looks high with a kick, not there. Both swing and miss on hooks. Garbrandt tries to hustle forward, but doesn't throw. Low kick from Dillashaw and Garbrandt flurries after him, throwing four or five shots in quick succession. Low kick from Dillashaw and Garbrandt counters with a left hook. Dillashaw needs to set up those kicks. Three strikes from Garbrandt, all blocked. Left hook lands for the champ. Dillashaw trying to find an angle, but nothing there. One minute. Left lands for Dillashaw as they get close. Body shot counter for Garbrandt. Kick to the body lands for the challenger with a right behind. Garbrandt drops Dillashaw at the buzzer and the challenger doesn't have his legs back as he returns to the counter. Perfect counter right hand on the button to win the round.
10-9 Garbrandt thanks to that final right hand.
11:50pm: They're finally in the cage, joined by referee Dan Miragliotta. Goosebumps.
11:40pm: Here's the dopest part thing about this card - coming off that amazing performance, we've got two more title fights and this one was pegged as the best overall fight on the card. This should be fun.
The Skinny: Former teammates turned rivals clash in what has felt like a fight that is heated, but only on one side. Garbrandt has been going at Dillashaw hard throughout the buildup to this fight, but the former champion has opted to tune most of it out.
Pre-Fight Pick: Dillashaw – Garbrandt could blast him or style on him like he did Dominick Cruz, but I worry about (a) the back issues that forced this fight to be delayed, (b) the coaching drama around his camp, and (c) how fired up he is about facing Dillashaw.
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11:34pm: Setting up the Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar fight before getting to the bantamweights. Singing Max's praises - rightfully so - before shifting attention to Frankie. It's a quality fight, but after how Holloway looked against Aldo, my very early pick is Holloway by stoppage. UFC 218 is a great card top-to-bottom too - December 2nd on pay-per-view from the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
11:29pm: Namajunas tearing up as Dana White places the belt on her shoulder, fighting back tears with Joe Rogan. Says it feels like a movie. Namajunas uses her time to reiterate her message from last week of being good to one another before admiring her handiwork on the replay. The 25-year-old shows serious poise and class in victory. No interview with Jedrzejczyk, which is probably good since she got trounced. Such a brilliant performance from Namajunas. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas (for the UFC strawweight title)
Round 1: Jedrzejczyk right in her face as they get final instructions... holy schnikes! Right for Namajunas to start. Jedrzejczyk pawing. Namajunas with a leg kick. Left lands for Namajunas with a counter behind it. Right hand lands for the champion. Namajunas already looks like she's bruising a little on the left side. Right for Namajunas, three in response from Jedrzejczyk. Outside leg kick for Jedrzejczyk. Left hand drops the champ and Namajunas chases her to the ground. Namajunas briefly in mount, Jedrzejczyk gets to her feet. We got a fight, y'all! Namajunas eats right hand coming in; getting a little too eager. Left lands again as Namajunas comes in. Huge left floors Jedrzejczyk, follows come in a hurry and Jedrzejczyk taps! AND NEW! AND NEW! AND NEW!
— UFC (@ufc) November 5, 2017
Official Result: Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by Submission (Strikes) at 3:03 of Round 1.
11:23pm: John McCarthy is the referee for this one. Intros were steely and awesome. So hyped right now; had to sit down for the rest of the night. (Note: i have a standing desk, but a bar stool for moments like this.)
11:17pm: Jedrzejczyk has superstar potential and legit charisma - everyone that has ever been in her presence will tell you this - so if she wins here, the UFC must find a way to increase her exposure and do a better job of promoting her going forward.
11:14pm: This is a crucial fight for the UFC because Namajunas is pretty much the last fresh challenger for Jedrzejczyk at 115 and if she comes up short, the champion could bounce to flyweight in search of another title while the rest of the division sorts itself out. Namajunas has made great strides since her first title fight - going to Colorado was huge for her - but this is a huge test.
The Skinny: Jedrzejczyk is seeking her sixth consecutive successful title defense and has made things personal with Namajunas, who came out on the losing side of the first UFC strawweight title fight a few years back, but has shown a ton of development since.
Pre-Fight Pick: Jedrzejczyk – there are levels to this and I just don’t believe Namajunas is on the same level as the champion. In fact, I don’t think anyone is and I fully expect her to move to flyweight and win that title at some point in 2018 as well.
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11:12pm: Time for the title fights! So excited!
11:10pm: Setting up next weekend's main event between Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis, which is a great fight. Talked to Pettis earlier in the week and he sounded really excited about this moment, while also having a fresh perspective after his tough run at '45. Should be a barnburner in Virginia next Saturday.
11:08pm: So I didn't like the Thompson-Masvidal matchup going in because of exactly what happened - Thompson gets a win, but he has no shot at fighting for the title because he's 0-2 against Tyron Woodley, so now he's handed "Gamebred" a second straight loss and gained very little. Welterweight is pretty deep, so it's not the end of the world, but I really would have prefered to see Thompson fight someone a little further down the rankings - Alex Oliveira, Gunnar Nelson maybe? - so we're not losing contenders and quality fighters with no real gain. Oh well.
11:05pm: Thompson wisely side-steps Rogan's attempt to get him to say he wants another title shot, says he hurt his thumb in the second round. No callout again. K-Peezee (Kristaps Porzingis) in the building, as are CC Sabathia and Grodon Ramsey.
Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal
Round 3: Feels like Masvidal needs a finish in the next five minutes to win this fight. Touch of gloves as they get going. Double-leg shot for Masvidal, stuffed, but it gets him inside briefly. Low kick scores again for Masvidal. Clean 1-2 from Thompson, who keeps switching stances. Right over the top, left hook follows from Wonderboy. Jab for Masvidal lands. Jab snipes home from Thompson. Again. Masvidal fakes a low single, swings high, but misses both. Thompson starting to throw more, Masivdal trying to walk him down. Thompson lands a hard left, but Masvidal keeps coming. Three punches off the guard for Thompson. Two left. Spinning kick misses. Sniper jab for Thompson. 1-2 for Thompson with a minute left. Four-strike combo from Thompson. Body kick. Masvidal just can't put anything together that really does serious damage. Right hand lands, but Thompson gets out of the way of the followups. They throw to the horn and the crowd gives them a nice ovation at the end of the fight.
10-9 Thompson, 30-27 Thompson overall for me.
Official Result: Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Round 2: Thompson staying southpaw. Left hand comes up short for Wonderboy. Side kick up high presses against Masvidal's face. Takedown attempt from Masvidal gets stuffed, but he lands a couple punches on the break. Thompson rushes forward with a 1-2 that crashes into the guard. Thompson cuts an angle to the right, crashes a right hand home that drops Masvidal briefly. Looks for 'The Moneymaker,' round kick over the shoulder that he won his debut with, but nothing doing. Sniping jabs now as he moves. This is setting up as one of those fights Masvidal complains about losing. Body shot for Thompson. Outside leg kick for Masvidal. Side kick from Thoimpson at a weird angle. Two minutes. Clean left gets through for Thompson, who really looks good here. Masvidal pressing a little now, getting frustrated. Thompson moving well, but takes a kick to the body and a clean left upstairs. Another leg kick for Masvidal. Again. Combo for Thompson just before the horn.
10-9 Thompson in Round 2, 20-18 Thompson heading into the third.
Round 1: No touch... Southpaw, sideways karate stance for Wonderboy, who opens with a low kick outside. Masvidal looking for that oblique stomp. Thompson kicks high, nothing; Masvidal counters low. Thompson coming forward early, which is a good sign. Body kick for Masvidal lands with the toes. Side kick for Thompson, goes high with a second one. Two down. Inside kick for Masvidal, who is struggling to close the distance and get anything serious off. 1-2 for Thompson pushes Masvidal back without landing too much. Outside kick for Masvidal lands. Left high kick misses/blocked from Thompson. Side kick pushes Masvidal back. Body kick for Gamebred crashes home. Head kick from Thompson over the top; that's what you have to worry about. Side kick catches Masvidal coming in, dropping him to his butt momentarily. Masvidal pressing forward, Thompson circling away. Inside leg kick for Masvidal lands. He looks high, but is blocked. Left hand down the middle connects for Thompson. Corraling hook and leg kick for Masvidal. Left hand counter for Thompson. HORN!
10-9 Thompson in the first, keeping Masvidal off balance.
10:44pm: Ah NYSAC, putting the wrong tape on Thompson's gloves... nothing like re-taping him in the prep point. Oh well, gives us a little more Tenacious D in the background. Dan Miragliotta joins the welterweights in the cage and we're set for our final non-title fight of the night.
10:38pm: This one could be all kinds of fun or all kinds of boring - just depends on whether or not Masvidal can make "Wonderboy" engage. If he can, we should get fireworks. If he can't, we're in for a snoozefest.
The Skinny: An elite welterweight matchup where “Wonderboy” enters in dire need of a victory despite being entrenched in the Top 5. Masvidal is a slick, game veteran who won’t be content to let Thompson hang out on the outside, so we could get something special out of these two here.
Pre-Fight Pick: Masvidal – he’s very good at dictating pace and pressuring guys that like to work in space, keeping them off balance and forcing them to be defensive. If he can crowd “Wonderboy,” he can cruise to a very good win on the cards and maybe even collect a stoppage.
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10:35pm: EA Sports UFC 3 looks solid. Haven't played either of the first two instalments too much, but will try to get a hold of this one and give it a test drive after hearing good things from colleagues who tried it out early this week in NYC.
10:32pm: Costa thanks NYC, thanks Hendricks for the fight; says he's the new generation from Brazil and the next big thing from Brazil in the UFC. Praises Hendricks' toughness, but doesn't get asked who or what he would like next... weird. Give the kid a chance to call someone out.
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Costa
Round 2: Outside kick for Hendricks to open. Left hand and aleg kick again for Hendricks. Big John calls time for an eye poke; Hendricks wants to keep going right away. Just a warning for Costa. Inside leg kick for Hendricks, now outside. Hendricks charges forward into a right hand, eats a follow-up kick and Costa is swarming with bombs. Hendricks trying to cover up and find space, but Costa is bombing away. Left hand in tight drops Hendricks and McCarthy jumps in. Borrachinha is a serious threat, y'all.
Official Result: Paulo Costa def. Johny Hendricks by TKO (Strikes) at 1:23 of Round 2.
Round 1: No touch of gloves for these two. Hendricks out in his customary southpaw stance. Costa pressing forward to start, buries a kick to the body. Another one. Costa looks twice his size. Kick goes high and is blocked. Outside kick for Hendricks. Again. Hendricks lunging in with a circling hook, but nothing there. Costa doing a good job of walking Hendricks down. Hendricks shoots, walks into a knee and gets stuffed. Spinning back kick blocked by Hendricks. Left hand lands for Bigg Rigg and Costa smiles, calls him in. Left hook to the body for Costa. Hendricks circles to the middle, Costa walks him back into the cage again. Big right connects and Hendricks looks a little shook. Hendricks paws forward with left hooks, adds a kick. Knee to the body for Costa. Left hand lands and a body kick follows. Costa calling Hendricks in after every shot he lands. They trade outside leg kicks. One minute. Body shot again from Costa, which is a great approach. Body kick follows. Two lefts for Hendricks and Costa laughs and smiles. Costa just misses with a wheel kick. Another knee up the middle lands hard and another body kick.
10-9 Costa - far more effective, far more volume.
10:18pm: John McCarthy with his first assignment of the night here.
10:14pm: Hendricks did his camp for this fight at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque and it will be interesting to see what kind of impact that has on him here. He hasn't looked very good in his first two middleweight fights, he's undersized and has seemingly lost his power, but who knows. Mike Winkeljohn is one of his corners tonight; we'll see if it helps.
The Skinny: The former welterweight champ Hendricks missed weight and caught an “L” in his last appearance against Tim Boetsch, while Costa has wrecked a pair of warm bodies fed to him in showcase fights that took place in his home country of Brazil. This is his first true test in the UFC.
Pre-Fight Pick: Costa – he’s built like an action figure, hits like a ton of bricks and is significantly younger and far less shopworn than Hendricks, who seems to be in sharp decline.
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10:12pm: Time for the main card to start in the middleweight division.
10:07pm: Like the includsion of some quotes and graphics over the broadcast setups for the big fights; much better than just having the three-shot of Anik, Rogan and Cormier. Getting me hyped for these title bouts and I was already pretty keyed up.
10:03pm: The UFC really needs to get rid of 'Face the Pain' already. It's 2017 and we're still rocking the screamy thrash rock junk that kicked off cards more than a decade ago? Time for an update, yo.
10:01pm: Time to end this suffering! I need a minute to myself! (Note: these are the opening lyrics to the UFC PPV intro song, 'Face the Pain' and not an urgent notification from the author of this blog)
9:58pm: It has been a weird, entertaining preliminary card so far and the best of the night is yet to come. Hope you're enjoying it!
9:56pm: ESPN's Brett Okamoto bringing some alternate info to the Paige VanZant news from earlier:
Just spoke to UFC officials, who say there are no plans of a Paige VanZant 125-pound title fight being formalized as of right now.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 5, 2017
9:52pm: Huge win for James Vick, who needed a solid name on his resume to really get a look in the ultra-deep lightweight division. He becomes the first man to finish Duffy with strikes. Finally gets a big win, gets some microphone time on FS1 in NYC and he calls out... no specific, just rants about his record and no one wanting to fight him. Asks for the main event in Austin, Texas in February. Would have been nice if he had a name.
James Vick vs. Joseph Duffy
Round 2: Vick opens southpaw, but switches back quickly. Body kick for Duffy lands. Wide hooks from Vick are blocked. Duffy really managing distance well here tonight, making Vick miss more often than naught. High kick is blocked by Vick. Right hand lands for Vick off a fake knee, but he's yet to put any combos together. Counter left connects and Vick is starting to seize control here early in the round. Axe kick from Duffy goes wide. Left counter find a home for Vick. Low kick off-balances Duffy. Vick goes high with a kick; nothing doing. Jab for Vick, low kick for Duffy. Kick to the body for Duffy. Now low outside for Duffy. Vick gets it back. Front kick blocked and Vick misses high behind it. Good low kick from Duffy, but Vick counters with a jab and a low kick of his own that buckles Duffy's leg a little. Right uppercut floors Duffy and Vick swarms with hammerfists, hunting for the finish before the buzzer. He's unleashing and Anderson jumps in just before the bell!
Official Result: James Vick def. Joseph Duffy by TKO (Strikes) at 4:59 of Round 2.
Round 1: Vick is huge for lightweight. Duffy coming forward. Both just feeling things out, trying to find their range. Duffy catches a kick, can't do anything with it. Inside leg kick for Duffy. Jab for Vick lands. Outside kick for Duffy, returnded by Vick and then they trade jabs. Outside kick again for Duffy, followed by a right to the body. Right hand and an uppercut land for Vick. Two down. Body-head for Duffy that lands nicely. Calf kick for Vick with a jab behind it. Inside kick for Duffy. Clean jab for Duffy. Vick missing with a lot. Duffy catches a kick and dumps Vick, kicks his leg out as he gets back up. Head kick glances for Vick; just toes though and nothing on it. Vick looking for an elbow in tight. Right hand to the body for Duffy. Into the clinch, nothing happening. Back in space. One minute. Trading jabs. Change of levels for Duffy, takes Vick down into the fence. Vick to his feet and they break. Duffy doing a good job maing Vick miss. Left hand from Duffy. Jump knee from Vick. HORN!
10-9 Duffy for me - landed a little more early, scores with the takedowns.
9:37pm: Todd Anderson joins Duffy and Vick in the Octagon and we're live with the final prelim.
The Skinny: A classic deep cut from the lightweight division featuring a guy who is dying to break into the Top 15 (Vick) taking on a once-hyped talent looking to continue his slow creep back towards contention (Duffy).
Pre-Fight Pick: Duffy – Vick has an outstanding 7-1 record in the UFC, but he got blistered in his lone fight against a proven, legitimate Top 25 talent. The hype surrounding Duffy has died down since his UFC arrival, but the Irishman is still a very talented, very well-rounded fighter who I see getting the best of things in this one.
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9:27pm: Really wish the UFC would reconsider that VanZant title shot. Make her get through a contender. Give her Valentina Shevchenko or anyone for that matter. Make her earn it. Gifting her a title shot doesn't do her or the inaugural champion any favors; it's actually detrimental to both if you ask me. Anyway - we've had a weird night in the cage and we've got one more preliminary card fight to go and it should be fun.
9:25pm: Alright, so my guess is PVZ fights the winner, which mean she's getting a title fight in the new division in ealry 2018 coming off a first-round submission loss to Michelle Waterson last December... like December 2016. Coming off a first-round loss in 2016. I just... I mean... (sigh)
9:22pm: Apparently Paige VanZant is fighting the winner of Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter next. Everyone is super-confused right now because TUF 26 is supposed to crown the inaugural UFC women's flyweight champion, so... what gives?
My next fight is against the winner of the 125 division Ultimate Fighter. Don’t blink.
— Paige VanZant (@PaigeVanzantUFC) November 5, 2017
9:19pm: Rogan says Harris told him he didn't think the knee was low and that he believed Godbeer was hurt, so he went in for the kill. That's all well and good, but the referee is yelling "Time!" and grabbing him, so he's got to stop. You have to be in control at all times. You know you have to stop when the referee grabs you. Sucks hearing Rogan and Cormier say it didn't seem like a fight-ending shot; nothing like basically calling the guy who just ate an illegal kick a wimp for not soldiering on.
Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer
Round 1: Southpaw for Harris, who opens with a front kick. Harris goes high; Godbeer counters. Jumping front kick from Harris. Another kick that Godbeer almost dips into. Another kick to the body. Now high. Left hand lands. Harris is slinging! Harris ducks under, timing a nice takedown. Right into mount. Godbeer recovers half guard and now full guard and he closes it up. Short punches from the top for Harris. Two down, three left. Elbow over the top from Harris as he walks Godbeer back to the cage, burying his head against the post. Good short shots from top position for Harris. Godbeer's got nothing from bottom so far. Two minutes. Three lefts find a home. Big shot to the body from Harris. Good elbow from Harris as the ref tells him to work. Stay quiet, Blake - he's working. Godbeer trying to get up, but Harris staying on him, landing shots. The Brit gets to his feet, Harris knees him in the guts and they break. Left hand stings Godbeer. Harris knees him a little low, the referee starts shouting "Time!" and Harris kicks Godbeer in the face as he's walking away and Grice is grabbing hold of him.
Poor Blake Grice, man - that's two fights, two illegal kicks; that's a rough night. The doctor is in the cage. Fight is over. Replay is clear - Grice is yelling "Time!" over and over as Harris kicks Godbeer in the face. Should be a DQ here, but we'll see.
Official Result: Mark Godbeer defeats Walt Harris by Disqualification (Illegal Blow) at 4:29 of Round 1.
9:10pm: Buffer tells us that Blake Grice is the "Octagon Ranger" for this one (TM @JohnGoodenUK ) and it's go time!
The Skinny: These two were supposed to fight last month, but Harris ended up getting called up to fight Fabricio Werdum at the very last minute, where he promptly lost in about a minute.
Pre-Fight Pick: Harris – This is kind of a coin-flip fight and I’m going with the more athletic Harris, who had looked good in his most recent appearances prior to getting understandably trucked by the former champion.
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9:02pm: How do you follow up a thundering, out-of-nowhere knockout? Middle-tier heavyweights who will be throwing bungalows from the jump! Yippee!
9:00pm: Saint Preux says he'd like to throw down with Ilir Latifi in Las Vegas at the end of the year. I'd certainly watch that fight.
8:58pm: My guy Mike Chiappetta from MMA FIghting summed up that fight perfectly:
What a cruel sport this is. Going well ... going well ... Out cold.
— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) November 5, 2017
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Corey Anderson
Round 3: Anderson with an inside leg kick to start. Left hand for OSP lands, but he looks a little sluggish compared to Anderson, who is on the balls of his feet, pressing forward. Right hand for Anderson grazes. Left counters for OSP. Head kick and Anderson is on another plane of existence. Holy Jesus! Just completely out of nowhere - left foot to the face and we're done. Man. That was nasty.
Official Result: Ovince Saint Preux defeats Corey Anderson by Knockout (Head Kick) at 1:25 of Round 3.
Round 2: Interesting to see how well Anderson has recovered after being clipped and shaky at the end of Round 1; looks solid on his feet to start. Head kick from OSP jars Anderson's mouthpiece free and he alerts the referee, who calls time briefly. Weird. Anderson now clinches up on the fence. What a weird pause. Shouldn't have happened; you've gotta wait for an actual stoppage, not when the fighter calls time. Good knee to the body from Anderson along the cage. OSP needs to do a better job breaking free here and giving himself a chance to strike. Short right from Anderson scores. In on the hips and Anderson dumps OSP to the canvas. Riding the leg from the right side, Anderson landing elbows and punches to the side of the head. Two minutes. OSP up, but Anderson staying tight with wrist control. Anderson drags OSP to the ground again, more work from top position; nothing serious, but it all adds up. One minute. OSP up, but Anderson turns right back into front position along the cage. Good bounce-back round for Anderson.
10-9 Anderson in Round 2; all square at 19-19 heading into the final frame.
Round 1: OSP out all casual like always, fighting southpaw. Anderson pawing. Right hand lands for Anderson. OSP counters with a clean left down the pipe. Anderson in on the legs, rusn through OSP and scoops him up, dumps him to the mat. Wrist control from the back, riding the leg for Anderson. OSP looking to stand, Anderson making him carry his weight, staying tight with pressure. Anderson back on the legs along the fence. Two down, three to go. Knee to the body lands for Anderson, OSP circles into space. Good start for Overtime. OSP seems too mellow. Anderson pressure forward against the cage again. OSP defending, but this is good for Anderson. Elbow to the side of the head from OSP, who shows good balance as Anderson looks for a takedown. Knees inside for Anderson, followed by a spinning elbow. Anderson pressuring along the fence again. Knee to the cup, but no pause. Anderson ducks down, but OSP denies it. One minute. Back in space. OSP searching with single strikes. Uppercut lands for OSP. Knee up the middle as Anderson looks to change levels. OSP denies the takedown but Anderson pushes forward. Break into space, OSP landing clean late. Anderson is rocked and wobbling. HORN!
10-9 OSP for me because of that late flurry where Anderson was clearly on skates.
8:40pm: Bruce Buffer with the intros; Dan Miragliotta is the referee and we're ready to go in the 205-pound weight division.
The Skinny: OSP subs in on short notice for Patrick Cummins after picking up a submission win over Yushin Okami at the end of September, while Anderson has gone 1-2 in his last three fights after starting 8-1.
Pre-Fight Pick: OSP – Anderson is still learning and fairly hittable, while Saint Preux is a seasoned, established veteran. He’s never going to be a real title contender, but he’s settling into a position as the gatekeeper to the upper echelon at light heavyweight and should run his winning streak to three here.
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8:35pm: Interesting fight on deck between Ovince Saint Preux and Corey "Overtime" Anderson, a former TUF winner who was showing some development before getting tossed in with Jimi Manuwa and lit up. Needs a rebound here or else he's going to end up being a poor man's Ryan Bader.
8:30pm: Very good win for Brown, who rallied and controlled the action in the third after getting out-worked in the second. On a personal note, I'm not 0-3 with my picks; ugh. UFC announces some early dates for 2018 - UFC 220 in Boston on January 20; UFC 211 in Perth, Australia on February 10; UFC 222 on March 3 from Sin City are your first quarter pay-per-view events.
Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall
Round 3: Really entertaining fight thus far with each man taking a round, but Gall has all the momentum as the final five minutes begin. Brown comes forward and staggers Gall with an uppercut. Gall drops to his back, Brown comes down to the mat with him, into Gall's guard. Gall is leaking something serious right now down the left side of his face. Brown in top position, happy to bully Gall from here and ride out control time. Gall looking for a way up, but Brown having none of it. Brown smashing home elbows sporadically and Gall has no answers right now, pressed up against the cage. Brown postures up, lands three or four shots and drops back down. Good top pressure from Brown here. Gall looking for an arm or shoulder from the bottom, but nothing doing. Gall tries to get up, Brown stuffs it. Anderson warns Gall for grabbing inside the glove; his fourth or fifth warning of the fight. More top pressure from Brown. Gall looking at a guillotine, but Brown pops out. One minute. More elbows from Brown. Gall needs space and something crazy here, but Brown doing a great job of shutting it down. Excellent third round effort from Brown here to get the win.
Official Result: Randy Brown def. Mickey Gall by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Round 2: Gall is leaking to start the frame; whoever is in his corner did a terrible job cleaning him up and stopping the bleeding. Brown presses forward again and puts Gall back on the canvas. Gall reverses to top position though and now we'll see if he can do anything, Brown attacking with an omoplata, Gall defends and Brown nearly connects with an illegal upkick. Seriously New York. Brown trying to scramble, Gall staying tight. Brown has a better guard than anticipated. Gall passes to side control and lands an elbow. Looking for the crucifix, goes to knee-on-belly momentarily, but settles back into side control. Two minutes. Punches and elbows from Gall on top. Brown trying to scramble out, recovers guard, but Gall stays sticky. Butterflies from Brown, but Gall passes to side control again. Nice work on the ground from Gall. Brown tiring and seems content to try and lock up Gall on the mat, but it's not working. Gall briefly gets the crucifix, lands a couple elbows. Brown scrambling and Gall looks for a choke. Not there, but he maintains control on top. Climbs to mount, but Brown goes out the back door. Front headlock for Gall as he keeps Brown on the canvas for the entire frame.
10-9 Gall in Round 2, all even at 19-19 heading into the third and final frame.
Round 1: Todd Anderson gets the officiating assignment for this welterweight contest... Brown comes forward, pumping the jab, but nothing landing; just looking for range. Brown connecting now, forcing Gall to turn and scurry out of the way. Good right hand down the pipe from Gall connects. Another one comes, but doesn't land as clean. Clinching along the cage. Good knee from Brown. Again. One up high from Brown. Again. Brown with the body lock takedown into side control. Hammers from Brown as Gall recovers guard. Gall looks to get up, but Brown dumps him back down. Brown rises out, lands two kicks and dives back into Gall's guard. Left hands from top position for Brown. He's got Gall stacked up right now, but Gall is hunting from the bottom. Gall tries to get up, Brown tackles him back to the canvas and lands a couple short little shots from the top. Good elbows from Brown along the fence. Gall throws the legs up, but nothing doing. One minute. More short elbows. Brown controlling Gall's body on the ground, not letting him hunt. Good elbows again and Gall is busted up on the forehead. HORN!
10-9 Brown for me. You might even be able to make a case for 10-8 given the new scoring and one-sided nature of the round.
The Skinny: Two fighters who were “discovered” on the same episode of Dana White’s Lookin’ for a Fight meet in welterweight action. Gall has gone 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Mike Jackson, CM Punk and Sage Northcutt, while Brown enters with a 3-2 mark in the Octagon and looking to rebound from a loss to Belal Muhammad at UFC 208 in February.
Pre-Fight Pick: Gall – I’ve been high on him since before he fought Punk and believe that while he hasn’t faced anyone too tough yet, the New Jersey native is a much better prospect than people understand at this point.
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8:05pm: For those just joining the broadcast, it's Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier on the call.
8:00pm: Time for the televised prelims on FS2. Really looking forward to seeing Mickey Gall back in action and the lightweight scrap between James Vick and Joe Duffy should be terrific. Speaking of terrific, the Alex Rodriguez intro was great; A-Rod making fun of all the New York sports teams. "And the Knicks... well, they're the Knicks." #BURN #ARODSLAM
7:58pm: Why do these New York events always feature some kind of chaos? Right out the gate, we've had something weird. We're two fights in and there has already been a sketchy finish and use of replay. I don't know if it's better to get it out of the way early or if this is the start of a really strange night at MSG.
7:52pm: Blaydes gets a TKO win and some interview time with Joe Rogan. What a crazy, confusing situation. Blaydes says he can't respect Oleinik walking out of the cage like that. Says he'll take the win, but wanted more.
7:48pm: The referee calls the doctor in and now the fight is being waved off. Blaydes is livid and it sounds like we're going to replay. The slow-mo shows Blaydes barely grazed the side of Oleinik's head. You can hear referee Blake Grice saying it's not a "fight-ending blow," but they're trying to figure this stuff out.
Grice says the doctor declared Oleinik "too wobbly to continue." This stuff always seems to happen in New York. This is bonkers. Blaydes is irrate and rightfully so. There is no way he should catch a loss here. It's a doctor's stoppage because Oleinik couldn't continue, but we're not sure of the verdict yet.
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Curtis Blaydes
Round 2: Oleinik walking down Blaydes to start, but the American moving well and connecting right out the gate. Oleinik slinging hammers and eating punches in return. Blaydes with a well-timed takedown as Oleinik is off balance. Full closed guard from Oleineik. Blaydes up and he launches a kick at Oleinik as he's starting to get up - nearly connects and catches a warning from the referee.
Official Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Aleksei Oleinik by TKO (Doctor's Stoppage) at 1:56 of Round 2.
Round 1: Blake Grice is the third man in the Octagon... Blaydes in on takedown right away, but he gets back up quickly. Nice leg kick, low and outside, for Blaydes. Oleinik real stiff in comparison to Blaydes on the feet, but he lands a soft little left hook. Blaydes stuggling to get in close and connnect. Both winging shots, but missing. Another good leg kick from Blaydes. Jab follows. Clubbing left from Oleinik, uppercut behind it. Ugly spin from the veteran leads to a takedown for Blaydes. Oleinik immediately looking for a submission, so Blaydes backs out. Blaydes with another takedown. Oleinik looking for wrist control, but Blaydes defends and passes to side control. Big knee to the back from Blaydes. Grating elbows from the top from Blaydes, who stands and backs out. Uppercut connects for Blaydes, but Oleinik eats it. Collar tie uppercuts channelling Frye and Takayama and the crowd swells. One minute. Blaydes connects and staggers Oleinik, who is busted up now. The Russian happily falls to the canvas, calling Blaydes in. Big shots from Blaydes connnecting and wobbling Oleinik. Great round for Blaydes.
— UFC (@ufc) November 4, 2017
10-8 for Blaydes on my card. Remember, the new unified rules are in use here, so more liberal use of the 10-8 score is encouraged.
The Skinny: Heavyweights at opposites stages of their careers clash here as the veteran Oleinik jumps in with the up-and-comer Blaydes in a fight that should tell us where the 26-year-old prospect fits in the big boy ranks going forward.
Pre-Fight Pick: Oleinik – Blaydes loves to wrestle guys to the ground and work them over on the mat, but the 40-year-old Russian has earned 45 of his 55 wins by way of submission, so taking him to the canvas could be a huge mistake.
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7:45pm: Second Fight Pass Prelim on deck with heavyweights Aleksei Oleinik and Curtis Blaydes.
7:27pm: Man - what a way to kick things off; blistering finish from Ramos who knocks Zahabi from the realm of the undefeated. Big win for the 22-year-old, who should get someone with a little more seasoning and experience next time out. There is no need to rush him at '35 right now, but a showcase opportunity at home in Brazil against someone with a little more Octagon experience would make sense.
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricardo Ramos
Round 3: Both guys coming out looking to land, connecting with punches. Zahabi comes forward, looking to swarm Ramos along the cage with punches. The Brazilian spins and connects flush with an elbow to the jaw and Zahabi is starched. This one is over. That's a scary knockout and a blistering start to this card.
— UFC (@ufc) November 4, 2017
Official Result: Ricardo Ramos def. Aiemann Zahabi by Knockout (Spinning Elbow) at 1:58 of Round 3.
Round 2: Jab from Ramos lands clean. Back to the outside leg kick. Zahabi is flat-footed and struggling to find offensive openings. Front kick misses from Ramos, but the jab lands. As does another leg kick. Spinning elbow whiffs. 2-1 from Zahabi connects with a right to the body behind it. Good right hand from Zahabi connects over the top. Another good right follows. Jab connects and Zahabi seems to be finding his footing. 1-2 connects. Zahabi catches Ramos jumping in for a knee, but nothing there. Uppercut connects for Zahabi. Halfway home. Zahabi slipping Ramos' shots, walking forward. Another good jab lands for the Canadian. Ramos looking for a jump knee, but nothing doing. Outside leg kick connects for Ramos. One minute. Another sharp kick for Ramos, but Zahabi counters with another uppercut. Ramos is bleeding from the nose. Jab for Ramos is clean. Countered well by Zahabi. Ramos misses with the low kick. Two good jabs from Ramos to close.
10-9 Zahabi in Round 2, 19-19 heading into Round 3 on my card.
Round 1: Touch of gloves and we're off. Zahabi presses forward early, into the clinch. Zahabi misses a trip and ends up on bottom. Ramos tried to get the back, but Zahabi scrambles out to his feet. Ramos looked for a leg, nothing there and they'e standing again. Good leg kick from Ramos. And again. They're starting to have an impact on Zahabi. Another one. Another one, but Zahabi checks in, although he looks a little tender already. Ramos jabbing clean. Zahabi clinches, but Ramos breaks free. Good uppercut for Zahabi inside. Two minutes to go. Ramos with a takedown, but Zahabi right back up. Zahabi moves to southpaw and presses forward, landing clean with the right. Into the clinch on the cage, Zahabi out front. One minute. Knees from Zahabi. Just kind of hanging out here, but the ref is letting them stay there. Trip from Ramos, who attacks right away, gets the back and a takedown, but no time to work. HORN!
10-9 Ramos for me.
The Skinny: Bantamweight hopefuls collide in the opening bout of the evening as Zahabi, the younger brother of TriStar Gym co-founder and GSP’s head coach Firas Zahabi, seeks collect his second UFC victory and maintain his perfect record against the talented 22-year-old Ramos, who earned a unanimous decision win in promotional debut back in February.
Pre-Fight Pick : Zahabi – he’s far more polished and has the jiu jitsu to hang with Ramos on the ground or finish him from top position.
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7:10pm: Intros are done. Let's get it.
7:00pm: Here we go. Getting all the set-ups out of the way before the first set of fighters make the walk. A little FS1 promo, followed by the awesome "Brass in Pocket" trailer for Jedrzejczyk vs. Namajunas. This should be fun.
7:05pm: New Unified Rules in effect, plus limited use of replay. Happy to see the NYSAC making some changes. Time to get started with Zahabi and Ramos heading to the cage.Round 1: Todd Anderson is the referee...
6:45pm: Just under 15 minutes until things jump off at MSG. Should be an outstanding night of fights and plenty to talk about come tomorrow morning. Be sure to check back throughout the night for all your updates and hit us up on Twitter too: @spencerkyte and @SportingNews
UFC 217 card
Pay-Per-View Main Card (starts at 10pm ET)
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre (for UFC middleweight title)
Cody Garbrant vs. T.J. Dillashaw (for UFC bantamweight title)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rosa Namajunas (for UFC strawweight title)
Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Costa
Televised Preliminary Card (starts at 8pm on FS1)
James Vick vs. Joseph Duffy
Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Corey Anderson
Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall
Fight Pass Prelims (starts at 4pm on UFC Fight Pass)
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Curtis Blaydes
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricardo Ramos
UFC 217 preview
Tonight's fight card is the best of the year in the UFC and arguably the best collection of championship fights ever assembled on a single UFC event. All three title matchups are compelling, intriguing clashed between talented champions and deserving challengers and each has become more heated and intense as the this evening's festivities drew closer.
Not only do championships hang in the balance in the three final contests, but the outcomes of those contests could have significant ripple effects on the UFC's plans going forward.
Will GSP emerge as a returning hero who reclaims his place as the biggest star in the organization? Can Michael Bisping continue his incredible final chapter with a second successful title defense? Is Cody Garbrandt poised to be the next big thing in MMA or will TJ Dillashaw halt his ascension before it really gets underway? And what about Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who has the opportunity to equal Ronda Rousey's record for most consecutive successful title defenses on the distaff side of the draw with a victory - she too seems to be on the brink of a breakthrough and has her sights set on a second title in 2018, but first she has to get through the icy, unflappable Rose Namajunas, who looks to make her second bid for the strawweight title a successful one.
In addition to the outstanding troika of title fights that close out the show, UFC 217 also includes a host of competitive contests with serious rankings implications and features a collection of emerging talents looking to use the grand stage at Madison Square Garden as their launchpad to bigger and better in the years to come.
It should be an electric night of action inside the Octagon and you won't want to miss it!
UFC 217 predictions
My guy Steven Muehlhausen and I went head-to-head with our picks for this evening's three championship bouts. Check those out here and peep my predictions for the rest of this tonight's fights below:
Jorge Masvidal def. Stephen Thompson
Paulo Costa def. Johny Hendricks
Joseph Duffy def. James Vick
Walt Harris def. Mark Godbeer
Ovince Saint Preux def. Corey Anderson
Mickey Gall def. Randy Brown
Aleksei Olienik def. Curtis Blaydes
Aiemann Zahabi def. Ricardo Ramos