UFC 217 popped off tonight (Saturday, November 4, 2017) from Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, headlined by a trio of title clashes. The three challengers all dethroned the champions in epic and stunning fashion, and so the three of them took home Performance of the Night honors.
Rose Namajunas unseated formerly dominant strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk in stunning and brutal fashion, dropping her twice and finishing her in the first round. The second knockdown was a lunging left hook that folded the champion, buckling her legs completely. “Thug” Rose came through as the biggest underdog on the card in sensational fashion and took home an extra $50,000 for her efforts (as well as a shiny new belt).
In the co-headliner, TJ Dillashaw also sprang an upset via knockout. In the long-awaited grudge match with former Team Alpha Male teammate and champion Cody Garbrandt, the former bantamweight ruler got it done with a head kick and a massive left hook. Dillashaw had to survive a harrowing end to round one, when he himself was dropped and nearly finished. He was saved by the bell and staggered back to his corner, but he made Garbrandt pay for failing to finish the job. Dillashaw got his belt back and will enjoy an extra $50,000 in his bank account come Monday.
In the main event, a historic third title changed hands as Georges St. Pierre returned from a four-year retirement and looked like he never left. He outstruck and out-wrestled champion Michael Bisping for most of the fight, particularly in the first and third rounds. “Rush” closed the show in the third by dropping Bisping with a left on the chin. He followed the Brit to the mat, forced him to turtle from the ground and pound onslaught that followed, took the back, and sunk in the fight-ending rear-naked choke. Bisping elected to go unconscious rather than tap. With that, GSP became the fourth man in history to hold UFC belts in two different weight classes.
No Fight of the Night bonus was handed out. Instead, the last Performance of the Night bonus was split between undercard finishers Ovince St. Preux and Ricardo Ramos, who both took home an extra $25,000.
Ramos obliterated Aiemann Zahabi – brother of TriStar gym head coach Firas – with a spinning back elbow in the second round of their bantamweight fight to open the card. St. Preux came back to dust fellow ranked light heavyweight Corey Anderson with a flush third-round head kick after being outwrestled for most of the first ten minutes. Both Zahabi and Anderson were unconscious before they hit the deck, follow-up shots unnecessary.
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