UFC 217 was the craziest night of the year for fighting. Not because of just the results, but how the results happened. The atmosphere at Madison Square Garden was electric and made the UFC 217 fight card unforgettable.
Hendricks and Paulo Costa kicked off the main card and it was clear the size advantage leaned towards Costa. Costa looked noticeably bigger standing next to Hendricks as even the commentators went on to say how Costa looked like a light heavyweight and Hendricks should be at welterweight. Hendricks was able to land some shots in the first round, but Costa never looked to be in danger as he got the TKO victory over Hendricks in Round 2.
In the next fight, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson was able to keep Jorge Masvidal from getting inside to land heavy shots on Thompson. Thompson used incredible footwork and unorthodox attacks to keep Masvidal off balance and earn the unanimous decision. After watching a very talented striker in Masvidal struggle to be comfortable against Thompson credit should go to UFC Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley for being able to defend his belt twice against this awkward style. After this was where things started to become absolutely unthinkable.
Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyck
In the words of the light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who was on the call for UFC 217, “THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE! THUG ROSE!” This fight left everyone at a loss for words. No one expected this performance from Rose over Joanna and especially in this fashion. Most people didn’t give Namajunas any chance of taking out the “strawweight queen”. For those that did think Rose had a realistic chance they figured it would be through a grappling exchange where Rose has a knack for being able to take her opponents back. I don’t think anyone except Rose and her coaches Trevor Whitman and boyfriend Pat Barry thought that they could put Joanna away from the feet in Round 1! When Joanna fell to the devastating left hook the crowd sat speechlessly and when referee Big John McCarthy broke up the onslaught MSG absolutely erupted. Credit to Rose on a remarkable performance. This could have been the card and people would have went home happy, but there was still two more title fights on the card.
TJ Dillashaw vs Cody Garbrandt
This was the fight I feel most fight fans were looking forward to the most on the card. Everyone was invested in the bad blood between the two, their teams, and the unique skill set both posses. In the first round, both were landing shots, but Garbrandt tended to land the harder shots. At the end of round one Cody dropped TJ and TJ was able to protect himself to get out of round one. Going into the second round TJ was able to land a head kick on Cody to rock him. Cody was able to recover until later in the round Dillashaw was able to land a right hand that dropped Garbrandt and after some ground pound was stopped by the referee. After the fight, both fighters embraced and showed true class as TJ Dillashaw was now the new bantamweight champion of the world.
Georges St. Pierre vs Michael Bisping
Now for the return of Georges St. Pierre as no one really knew what to expect going into this fight. Was Georges going to look like the Georges of before or was ring rust going to be real? Answer: He looked better than he ever did before. St. Pierre was able to win round one with a good mixture of his top-level wrestling and staying behind his jab. In round two we started to see some momentum swing towards Bisping, and Georges looked to be slowing down. In round three St. Pierre was able to land a short left hook and after some ground and pound St. Pierre was able to take Bisping’s back and choke him unconscious. All of Madison Square Garden was on their feet as now everyone knew GEORGES ST. PIERRE IS BACK!