We are now just days away from what is without question the biggest UFC event of 2017 thus far, and although it may not be carrying the type of buzz it likely should be, UFC 217, which will take place this Saturday (Nov. 4, 2017) live on pay-per-view (PPV) from Madison Square Garden in New York City, boasts an incredible lineup of fights.
In the main event, Michael Bisping will look to make the second defense of his middleweight title in a clash against returning former longtime welterweight titleholder Georges St. Pierre. In the co-main event, former teammates turned bitter rivals Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw will do battle with Garbrandt’s bantamweight title hanging in the balance.
Also on the main card, dominant strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk will look to once again defend her 115-pound strap against surging contender Rose Namajunas.
Let’s take a deeper look at the three title fights that headline this weekend’s UFC 217:
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St. Pierre
Georges St. Pierre is without question one of the very best fighters of all-time, but he hasn’t competed in four years. He’ll also be competing at middleweight for the first time in his career at UFC 217, which is why there are many questions surrounding his highly anticipated return.
In regards to the striking department, both men are well versed on the feet. St. Pierre comes from a karate background, but he possesses one of the most lethal jabs in the history of MMA. Working with highly renowned boxing coach Freddie Roach, it’s expected that “Rush” has continued to improve his hands as well.
Michael Bisping, on the other hand, has continued to elevate his striking game over the years under the tutelage of Jason Parillo, and overall, he has the edge in this department.
As far as grappling goes, St. Pierre is without question the better wrestler. If St. Pierre can land the takedown, he’ll put himself in the best position to inflict damage. Given Bisping’s movement, size, and takedown defense skills, however, it’s unclear if “Rush” will be able to do so.
While St. Pierre will undoubtedly be the smaller man going up against Bisping, he may not be at too large of a strength disadvantage. Throughout his career, “Rush” has always been in top shape, as his conditioning and athleticism have consistently been some of his strongest assets. With that said, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to wear down Bisping given “The Count’s” incredible cardio.
In the end, both men are world class fighters. However, I’m just not sure what to expect from St. Pierre, and although it feels a bit strange to pick against him, I’m going to side with the Brit.
Prediction: Michael Bisping def. Georges St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision