MMA, Sport

UFC 217: Preview and Predictions

A lot of people consider Bisping to be the favourite in this match up here, which kind of confuses me.

The most exciting card of the year is finally upon us, in a matter of hours we will witness 3 amazing title fights which involve bad blood, and the return of one of the greatest of all time, Georges St Pierre. This is the most stacked card for some time with amazing fights from top to bottom so without further ado lets start analysing these fights.

Aiemann Zahabi vs Ricardo Ramos

The Fight Pass Prelims kick off with a bantamweight bout featuring Zahabi, the younger brother Firas Zahabi, the Tristar owner who will corner both him and GSP later in the night. Zahabi is 7-0 as a pro with a mixture of submissions and KO’s, like most Tristar fighters, he’s versatile and ever evolving, I’m expecting a solid showing from both men but it’ll be Zahabi who has the edge

Prediction: Zahabi by decision


Oleksiy Oliynyk (11) vs Curtis Blaydes

When was the last time we saw a ranked heavyweight fighting in the Fight Pass Prelims? It’s a testament to how amazing this card is. It’s a big opportunity for Blaydes, a win here would propel him into the rankings. The biggest factor in this fight is can Oliynyk take Blaydes down? If he can we are likely to see another submission win for Oliynyk, but Blaydes was an undefeated wrestler in school with an amazing amateur background, if Blaydes can defend well he’s going to smash Oliynyk on the feet, and that’s how I think it’ll go.

Prediction: Blaydes by KO/TKO


Randy Brown vs Mickey Gall

The televised prelims kick off with Brown and Gall, both alumni of Dana White’s Looking For A Fight. It’s a pick’em fight right here, Gall is undefeated and a really big name with his wins over CM Punk and Sage Northcutt, but he’s far less experienced than Brown, I’m expecting a real back and forth contest here, it’ll be interesting to see how much Gall has improved with his 11 months away from the cage.

Prediction: Gall by submission


Ovince St Preux (6) vs Corey Anderson (7)

Yet again this is a massive testament to how amazing this card is, OSP and Anderson are both highly ranked in a fairly weak light-heavyweight division, a win for either of these men could leave them knocking on the door for a title shot, presumably against Cormier. OSP is on a roll at the minute, after a three fight losing streak he managed to get back to back Von Flue choke victories, it’s another pick’em fight on an extremely competitive card. OSP is sloppy on the feet and if Anderson can control the pace I see him picking up a win.

Prediction: Anderson by decision


Walt Harris vs Mark Goodbeer

This heavyweight clash was scheduled to take place last month before a reshuffle on the card left Goodbeer without an opponent, a quick turn around for Harris allowed the fight to take place quickly, it’s gonna be a short fight and it’s going to be violent, whoever lands the first big strike is likely to win in the first round.

Prediction: Harris by KO/TKO


James Vick vs Joe Duffy

What a match up we have here at lightweight, both men are insanely talented and both knocking on the door of a ranked fight, this has potential to be fight of the night with both men having well rounded skills at such a high level. Both men have been rallying for a ranked match up, and if both men put on a show they might get it, win, lose or draw. A lot of people will consider this the peoples main event, a fight that could have a million scrambles with to men who swing for the fences when they need it most.

Prediction: Vick by decision


Johny Hendricks vs Paulo Costa

This is the fight that kicks off the main card, it’s a massive opportunity for Costa to impress on the big stage and get a ranked opponent next time out. Hendricks has been on the decline for years now, there’s been questions around him ever since USADA testing came into play, and he’s missed weight time and again. He made weight for this fight but he’s 1-4 in his last five fights, Costa on the other hand is unbeaten. People will remember him for his war with Bamgbose earlier in the year, it’s noteworthy that it’s likely that Costa will gas early in this fight. If Hendricks can last the first 7 minutes he’ll probably be able to grind out a decision.

Prediction: Hendricks by decision


Stephen Thompson (1) vs Jorge Masvidal (4)

This a super interesting match up. Masvidal is known for his smash mouth agressive striking, and Thompson is widely regarded as the best counter striker in the division, and one of the best strikers in MMA. It’s likely that this will stay on the feet for the duration, I can’t see Masvidal finishing Thompson in this fight, I can see a really close technical fight with Thompson just edging Masvidal, who will no doubt be livid with another close loss by decision.

Prediction: Thompson by decision


Joanna Jędrzejczyk (c) vs Rose Namajunas (4) for the women’s strawweight title

These are my two favourite female fighters at the moment so I’ll be extremely happy for the winner and very sad for the loser. Namajunas has come on leaps and bounds in recent times and more than warrants this fight, Joanna has simply destroyed everyone put in front of her, she’s a beast. Rose won’t be able to take Joanna down so this will be a stand up affair, and whenever it’s a stand up affair with Joanna then Joanna wins. If Rose was to cause the upset it would flip the division on it’s head, a win for Joanna makes her the most dominant female fighter ever in my opinion.

Prediction: Jędrzejczyk by KO/TKO


Cody Garbrandt (c) vs TJ Dillashaw (2) for the men’s bantamweight title

For me, this is the real main event, I’ve been excited for this match up ever since Garbrandt beat Cruz for the title, the bad blood here has been boiling over for a very long time. Both men a ridiculously talented on the feet, and I feel like if they fought 10 times they’d win five each they are that closely matched. Both men absolutely hate each other ever since Dillashaw turned his back on team Alpha Male, both men will want to knock each other out, but there’s too much head movement and skill for that in my opinion. It’ll go to a razor close decision in what I predict to be the fight of the night.

Prediction: Garbrandt by decision


Michael Bisping (c) vs Georges St Pierre for the men’s middleweight title

I’ve been waiting for GSP to come back ever since he disappeared in 2013, I never thought it’d be in a middleweight title match with Bisping though. A lot of people consider Bisping to be the favourite in this match up here, which kind of confuses me, if I look at it the only factors in Bisping’s favour is size and productivity. GSP has been gone for a very long time and might have some ring rust (which I doubt) and of course he’s moving up a weight class so he’ll be the smaller man by quite a bit. In terms of skill sets, fight IQ and athleticism it’s all in GSPs favour. GSP will have a solid game plan coming in, I feel like he’ll jab a lot given Bisping’s eye history, and I think he’ll shoot when it’s least expected and out wrestle Bisping for a decision win. Bisping will have a big power advantage, I think his best bet is landing some big shots for a finish, but I don’t think it will happen. I’ve been a massive GSP fan since 2009, he’s basically the reason I watched MMA, I’ve got to back him here.

Prediction: GSP by decision to win the UFC middleweight title


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