All new Stars and Strikes where we’ll tell you which fights are can’t miss.
Man, you’d better be ready for Saturday night’s UFC card. It’s going to be one heck of a night and a card MMA fans have been starving for. With today’s UFC roster growth and the rate of which fights take place, some of the cards have felt a little watered down. This card, not so much. There are three world title fights at the top of the card. If that’s not enough (it should be) we also get Stephen Thompson and Jorge Masvidal in what should be crazy! Let’s take a look at how these fights score with the first ever Stars and Strikes UFC 217 report.
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – UFC Middleweight Championship
This is one interesting match to be certain. Bisping has done the yeoman’s work carrying the promotional load for this one. GSP has never really been about promotion. He would prefer to just show up and perform on fight night. We haven’t seen St-Pierre in the Octagon since 2013 and it was at Welterweight. He’s coming back and competing for the world title at a weight he’s never fought at. So that in itself makes you want to watch it.
Michael Bisping is a treat. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but I always have. He’s a bring a lunch kind of fighter and will not hesitate to express his innermost thoughts to anyone who will listen. He’s brash, argumentative, talented and tough as nails. If he were to lose this fight, he’d likely retire. Either way, we will not be seeing Bisping in the cage for much longer. We should enjoy him while he’s here.
I honestly am not sure who I think will win this fight. Bisping is a puncher and will hold a size advantage. GSP is coming in off of a four-year absence. It’s a lot to overcome. If it were anyone else, I’d say it’s too steep a hill to climb. However, GSP isn’t anyone else. He’s unique and seemingly capable of doing the impossible. This is a big fight atop the biggest card of the year. You’d better be watching.
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw – UFC Bantamweight Championship
This is the one you absolutely can’t miss guys. These two guys DO NOT like each other. It’s not hyperbole, it’s not cooked up to sell a fight. These guys used to train together and now, they have a ton of disdain for each other. Cody is a hothead and is very reactionary. When they were coaches against each other last season on The Ultimate Fighter, they went toe to toe and eye to eye on numerous occasions. Cody grabbed TJ by the throat at one point. They’ve had a ton to say heading into this fight, and last night Cody released the sparring footage that shows him dropping TJ Dillashaw. That kind of breaks a gym rule, where what happens in the gym, stays in the gym. However, this is a unique situation, and rules don’t apply.
You have to watch this fight. If you miss it, you’re missing part of the sport’s history. This is a can’t miss fight if ever there’s been one. Fireworks guaranteed.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – UFC Strawweight Championship
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a killer. Typically if she’s fighting, I’m certain she’s winning. However, this time it feels different to me. I think Rose Namajunas has both the game and the mindset to pull off the upset here. Crazy right? I know, I have to check myself when I say that. I just have a feeling we’re going to see something amazing from Rose in this fight. I’m predicting she does the unthinkable and derails Joanna and leaves Madison Square Garden with a shiny new belt.
These guys are the two elite in the division in my opinion. Rose is getting better as a fighter, considering she still only has nine professional fights and is 25 years old. She has unlimited upside and whether she pulls off the upset Saturday night or not, she will without question become a champion at some point.
Joanna is an icy killer who lives to get inside the head of her opponents and create doubt before they ever step into the cage. She’s pushed that envelope with Rose, calling her mentally unstable on a number of occasions. Rose, of course, has a history of mental illness in her family and is a survivor of abuse. To continually ring this bell, seems like Joanna could be setting herself up for something she doesn’t want. Rose is going to show up Saturday and unleash hell. I can’t wait to see this fight. It’s going to be bananas.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson
“Wonderboy” is a striking riddle and Jorge Masvidal is the kind of guy who will mess with a puzzle, get frustrated and smash it into 1000 pieces. That’s what Thompson is looking to avoid Saturday night. Ever since this fight was announced, real fight fans have been waiting patiently for it. These guys are going to put on one hell of a striking display. Stephen has perhaps the most inventive and difficult to deal with striking in the division, while Jorge has the best boxing at 170.
These two have very different standup styles and more than that, they’re very different people. Stephen fights because he loves the art in it. He’s a nice guy, generous with his time. He’s a happy go lucky guy who seemingly never is without his smile. Jorge is a savage who started fighting on the streets in south Florida. He doesn’t fight for the art of it. He fights because it is in his DNA. He’s a born fighter and seems most at peace when he’s in a cage. I think this is going to be a classic case of two styles, and which fighter can implement his style.
Jorge is a great boxer, but Wonderboy brings a myriad of issues with kicks, knees, angles, and length. All I know is it’s going to be fun.
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Borrachinha
I like Johny Hendricks. That said, he’s an odd bird. Once upon a time, he was an elite fighter and champion. However, he ate his way out of the Welterweight division and has actually had issues making 185. He’s 1-4 in his last five fights, but he still has major punching power in his hands. They say it’s the last thing to go, and so far, it hasn’t gone away from Johny.
Paulo Borrachinha is an undefeated fighter with a pretty major upside. The former Jungle Fight Middleweight champion has a 10-0 record, and his ten wins have all been by stoppage. He’s 2-0 in the UFC and has won both fights via stoppage. He has the look and the ability to be a star in the UFC. He’s built like a tank and throws punches in bunches, all intended to end the fight. His ground and pound are super strong and all around, he’s a fighter on the rise in the UFC.
Johny Hendricks loaded up the truck and headed out west for this camp, opting to join Team Jackson Wink and the fit there might be really beneficial for Johny long term. However, in this fight, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble, relatively early on. Can Hendricks catch Paulo with a big shot and end things? Yep. Is it the likeliest scenario? Nope. I expect to see Paulo keep on trucking with a TKO victory in the first five or six minutes.
With all the other fights on the card, this one is kind of a dud but it could kick the PPV off with a dramatic knockout to get the ball rolling.