The first time the UFC held an event at Madison Square Garden, it featured Conor McGregor’s stunning victory over Eddie Alvarez to become the first-ever two-weight world champion in the UFC. UFC 205 also featured two other championship bouts, one between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson and also Joanna Jedrzejczyk defended her title against Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
So, to not take a backward step, the UFC has stacked the deck again and possibly exceeded any realistic expectations for the promotions card to MSG. The event features three fantastic world championship bouts and also a high-quality preliminary card to support the top end of the card.
The main event should be unforgettable. Michael Bisping will defend his UFC Middleweight Championship against Georges St-Pierre. By UFC 217, it will have been four years since GSP last competed in mixed martial arts. He is undefeated since 2007 and left the UFC on a 12-fight winning streak. He never lost his UFC Welterweight Championship and instead relinquished it after the fight with Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
GSP has an incredibly tough challenge ahead of him at UFC 217. If coming back after four years is not hard enough, how about the grit and determination of the man standing toe-to-toe with him at MSG this time around – Michael Bisping. Bisping earned the title by defeating Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, and then successfully defended the title against Dan Henderson at UFC 204 in October 2016. Bisping is on a five-fight winning streak and will undoubtedly want to prove the doubters wrong.
In the co-main event, T.J. Dillashaw will attempt to snatch Cody Garbrandt’s UFC Bantamweight Championship from him. Dillashaw and Garbrandt have one of the longest-running and most powerful rivalries in the UFC today with both fighters extremely disliking one another. The two used to be friends and teammates who trained at Team Alpha Male together but Dillashaw up and left the gym to go and train elsewhere. Garbrandt believes leaving his gym behind is the ultimate disrespect and wants to make Dillashaw pay for it. It will be the first time Cody Garbrandt has defended his title since taking the belt from Dominick Cruz at UFC 207.
If that is not enough, the most dominant champion in women’s mixed martial arts history, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, is up against Rose Namajunas with the title on the line. Jedrzejczyk has surpassed Ronda Rousey as the most feared and exceptional female mixed martial artist and will be looking to defend her title for the sixth consecutive time this weekend at UFC 217. She is dismissed of all of the top contenders who have challenged her previously, and now she hopes to send another one home unsuccessful. Rose Namajunas is not just ‘another challenger’ though. Namajunas is vicious, talented and unorthodox and recently submitted Michelle Waterson easily in the second round at UFC on FOX 24. This has the potential to be one of the best bouts of the year, not just at UFC 217.
The main card will begin with another two fascinating bouts as Johny Hendricks looks to stop the undefeated Paulo Borrachinha and Stephen Thompson will face off with Jorge Masvidal. To many diehard MMA fans, the Thompson vs. Masvidal fight is the most exciting of the night and just proves how incredible this event is.
Predictions and Best Bets
Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Cody Garbrandt is undoubtedly one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the entire organization. He is lightning-fast, has excellent movement, timing and distance management and has insane accuracy with his hands. He dismantled Dominick Cruz in a way that we have never seen before and beat him up over the course of five rounds. Because of this, Garbrandt deserves to be entering the fight with T.J. Dillashaw as the betting favorite. However the gap should be much closer than it is.
The bookmakers have disrespected Dillashaw upon entering UFC 217. This is a guy who scored one of the greatest upsets of all time when he defeated Renan Barao at UFC 173 to win the UFC Bantamweight Championship. He also went on to defend it twice before losing it via split decision to Dominick Cruz. Since then, he has decisively beaten Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker to earn another shot at the championship.
Garbrandt is an incredible fighter, but Dillashaw is just as good. Realistically, the odds between these two fighters should not have much differential at all, and therefore the value play is to select Dillashaw to win.
Bet: T.J. Dillashaw to win
Odds: +158 (79/50, $2.58)
Bonus Accumulator Bet
There are five underdogs across UFC 217 which we believe to have outstanding value.
- Johny Hendricks
- Aleksei Oleinik
- Jorge Masvidal
- J. Dillashaw
- Mickey Gall
By combining these five selections into an accumulator (multi bet) we get ridiculous odds of 192/1.
UFC 217 card
UFC 217 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET on Saturday, November 4
PPV (10:00pm ET / 2:00am GMT)
- Michael Bisping (-107) vs. Georges St-Pierre (-107)
- Cody Garbrandt (-172) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (+158)
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk (-485) vs. Rose Namajunas (+415)
- Jorge Masvidal (+158) vs. Stephen Thompson (-172)
- Paulo Borrachinha (-214) vs. Johny Hendricks (+186)
FS1 (8:00pm ET / 12:00am GMT)
- Joe Duffy vs. James Vick
- Mark Godbeer vs. Walt Harris
- Ion Cutelaba vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
- Randy Brown vs. Mickey Gall
Fight Pass Prelims
UFC Fight Pass (6:30pm ET / 10:30pm GMT)
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
- Corey Anderson vs. Ovince Saint Preux
- Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi