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Thursday Tap Out: UFC 217 Crash Course

The return of Georges St-Pierre is drawing considerable attention, but his fight with Michael Bisping is not the only intriguing fight on the card at Madison Square Garden.

Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre


The promotional efforts of the UFC have focused squarely on the main event, and the storylines are compelling. Long-time welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, returns after a four-year layoff. Instead of trying to reclaim the welterweight crown, St-Pierre is moving up to challenge middleweight champion Michael Bisping for his strap.

A win brings back one of the UFC’s pay-per-view stars in St-Pierre, during a time when Ronda Rousey’s career appears to be over and Jon Jones faces a lengthy suspension following another failed drug test.

It also gives St-Pierre an opportunity to win a title in a second weight class. If he succeeds, he’ll become just the fourth fighter in UFC history to accomplish the feat, a year after Conor McGregor became the third, and the first to hold two belts simultaneously, at the inaugural Madison Square Garden event.

Georges St-Pierre Talks About Returning to Octagon, Paleontology, Poutine and More

​Bisping has adamantly stated that St-Pierre chose him over welterweight champion Tyron Woodley because St-Pierre views him as an easier fight. While Bisping spent the majority of his career as a gatekeeper rather than title contender, he won and successfully defended the title in 2016 and holds the record for most wins in UFC history at 20. St-Pierre is right behind him with 19 wins.

The bout presents a lot of intrigue. Bisping could look to become the first man to defeat both St-Pierre and Anderson Silva, and perhaps walk away with a win. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding St-Pierre following four years away from the sport.

Fighting Words

“He chose me because he thinks he can beat me… He thinks I’m an easy opponent, an easy pick. He picked me to come out of retirement, moving up a weight class, it’s almost like he has nothing to lose, but if he moves up a weight class, he beats me, he becomes a legend.”

Michael Bisping on UFC Tonight in March

“He’s terrified of me wrestling him. Terrified. In every interview he does, he’s begging me to stand and bang with him... I mean, if you don’t know the ground (game), you shouldn’t be in MMA. You should be in kickboxing. Fighting on the ground is part of the game, and he’s terrified.”


Georges St-Pierre on the MMA Hour

Tale of the Tape

Michael Bisping


Georges St-Pierre

Feb. 28, 1979


May 19, 1981

Nicosia, Cyprus


Saint-Isidore, Quebec, Canada

Manchester, England


Montreal, Quebec, Canada




185 lbs*


185 lbs*

73 in


71 in

75 in


76 in

* - Official weights announced at the weigh-in, Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1

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Last Five Fights

BISPING (30-7)

ST-PIERRE (25-2)

10/8/2016 – Dan Henderson - W Unanimous Dec. **

11/16/2013 – Johny Hendricks – W Split Dec. *** ^

6/4/2016 – Luke Rockhold - W KO, Rd. 1, 3:36*

3/16/2013 – Nick Diaz - W Unanimous Dec. ***

2/27/2016 – Anderson Silva - W Unanimous Dec.

11/17/2012 – Carlos Condit - W Unanimous Dec. ***

7/18/2015 – Thales Leites - W Split Dec.

4/30/2011 – Jake Shields - W Unanimous Dec. ***

4/25/2015 – C.B. Dollaway - W Unanimous Dec.

12/11/2010 – Josh Koscheck - W Unanimous Dec. ***

* - Won the middleweight title
** - Defended the middleweight title
*** - Defended the welterweight title
^ - Later vacated the welterweight title

Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw


While Bisping vs. St-Pierre is the official main event and the beneficiary of the majority of promotional efforts, the clash between bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and former champion TJ Dillashaw might be the people’s main event.

There is legitimate bad blood between the two fighters after Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male, the gym where Garbrandt trains. There’s been a war of words between Team Alpha Male and Dillashaw ever since.

Dillashaw was the poster child of Team Alpha Male when he was bantamweight champion. Homegrown talent in California that team founder Urijah Faber helped bring to prominence spurned the team to follow striking coach Duane Ludwig to Colorado.

On the other side, Garbrandt left home and family in the Midwest to seek out the tutelage of Faber and his fabled gym. Garbrandt’s been on a tear since, improving to 11-0 and defeating bantamweight legend Dominick Cruz in emphatic fashion to win the title.

The bad blood between Garbrandt and Dillashaw had been building before the title fight, but really came to a head this year in the lead up to this fight. Garbrandt and Dillashaw coached against one another on The Ultimate Fighter in a season filled with drama and physical altercations.

It’s also an intriguing stylistic matchup. Garbrandt’s power is his biggest weapon in the cage, while Dillashaw employs a volume approach with a fluid, stance-switching style. Both fighters have wrestling backgrounds, but the fight will probably live on the feet.

Fighting Words

“I'm going to go out and knock TJ out, but if he gives me the chance to dance on him, I'm going to make him act like a fool too. I got some other moves, I don't know. We'll see how the fight plays out, but I got some Michael Jackson in me.”

Cody Garbrandt on TMZ

“An athlete’s going to go out there and figure out ways to win, see the holes in the game. I do treat myself more as an athlete than I do a fighter, as a fighter you’re a street thug. Going out there trying to knock someone out, being really aggressive. I’m going to go out there as an athlete just as he said, and pick him apart using that.”

TJ Dillashaw on the MMA Hour

Tale of the Tape

Cody Garbrandt


TJ Dillashaw

July 7, 1991


Feb. 7, 1986

Uhrichsville, OH


Sonora, CA

Sacramento, CA


Denver, CO




135 lbs*


135 lbs*

68 in


66 in

65 in


67 in

38 in


38 in

* - Official weights announced at the weigh-in, Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1

Last Five Fights



12/30/2016 – Dominick Cruz - W Unanimous Dec.*

12/30/2016 – John Lineker - W Unanimous Dec.

8/20/2016 – Takeya Mizugaki - W TKO, Rd. 1, 0:48

7/9/2016 – Raphael Assuncao - W Unanimous Dec.

5/29/2016 – Thomas Almeida - W KO, Rd. 1, 2:53

1/17/2016 – Dominck Cruz - L Unanimous Dec.***

2/21/2016 – Augusto Mendes - W TKO, Rd. 1, 4:18

7/25/2015 – Renan Barao – W TKO, Rd. 4, 0:35**

7/11/2015 – Henry Briones - W Unanimous Decision.

8/30/2014 – Joe Soto - W KO, Rd. 5, 2:20**

* - Won the bantamweight title
** - Defended the bantamweight title
*** - Lost the bantamweight title

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas


At UFC 216, Demetrious Johnson set the record for most consecutive title defenses in the UFC and at UFC 217, Joanna Jedrzejczyk could tie Ronda Rousey’s record for most title defenses in women’s title fights.

Standing in her way is Rose Namajunas, who lost to Carla Esparza in the inaugural strawweight title fight. While Jedrzejczyk is known for her standup skills, Namajunas is known for her ground game.

It presents an intriguing striker vs. grappler matchup, but Jedrzejczyk has yet to succumb to grapplers in previous fights.

Jedrzejczyk clamored for this moment, having fought in the inaugural Madison Square Garden event in 2016. There is a large Polish population in New York City and the table is set for Jedrzejcyk’s crowning moment in one of the most iconic sports venues in the world.

Fighting Words

“I’m expecting a really good fight and a real war—but I want to just tell you that you’ve never, never faced someone like me, and I’m the best champion for a reason. And I will prove that on Nov. 4, baby. I’m making history one more time at the Garden.”

Joanna Jedrzejczyk via the UFC 217 media conference call

"Every fight is personal, but with myself. I just want to try to make this world a better place and somehow use my gifts of f**king martial arts. I'm great at this s**t. This is what I've been born to do. I might be crazy, but I'm dangerous too."

Rose Namajunas via the UFC 217 media conference call

Tale of the Tape

Joanna Jedrzejczyk


Rose Namajunas

Aug. 18, 1987


June 29, 1992

Olsztyn, Poland


Milwaukee, WI

Coconut Creek, FL


Denver, CO




115 lbs*


115 lbs*

66 in


65 in

65 in


65 in

35 in


39 in

* - Official weights announced at the weigh-in, Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1

Last Five Fights



5/13/2017 – Jessica Andrade - W Unanimous Dec.*

4/15/2017 – Michelle Waterson - W SUB, Rd. 2, 2:47

11/12/2016 – Karolina Kowalkiewicz - W Unanimous Dec.*

7/30/2016 – Karolina Kowalkiewicz - L Split Dec.

7/8/2016 – Claudia Gadelha - W Unanimous Dec.*

4/16/2016 – Tecia Torres - W Unanimous Dec.

11/15/2015 – Valerie Letourneau - W Unanimous Dec.*

12/10/2015 – Paige VanZant - W SUB, Rd. 5, 2:25

6/20/2015 – Jessica Penne - W Unanimous Dec.*

10/3/2015 – Angela Hill - W Tech. Sub., Rd. 1, 2:47

* - Defended the strawweight title

Other Numbers To Count On

All stats via Fight Metric.

4:58:22 – Total time Michael Bisping has spent in the UFC cage, over an hour more than any other middleweight.

5:28:12 – Total time Georges St-Pierre has spent in the UFC cage, 30 minutes more than Bisping and 1.5 hours more than any other welterweight.

1,350 – Total significant strikes landed by Michael Bisping, a division record and 550 more than the next man on the list.

1,254 – Total significant strikes landed by Georges St-Pierre, the most in the welterweight division history.

2,523 – Total strikes landed by Georges St-Pierre, a welterweight record.

73% - Percent of significant strike Georges St-Pierre successfully defended.

87 – Total takedowns landed by Georges St-Pierre, more than any other welterweight. And more than twice the amount of the same record in the middleweight division.

4 – Number of years since Georges St-Pierre last fought in the UFC.

7 – Total knockdowns landed by Cody Garbrandt, a division record. Dillashaw is third on the list with five.

739 – Significant strikes landed by TJ Dillashaw, a bantamweight record.

1,266 – Total strikes landed by TJ Dillashaw, another bantamweight record.

68% - Percent of significant strikes defended by Cody Garbrandt, the fifth-best mark in the division. Dillashaw has the ninth best mark at 66.4%.

12 – Number of submission attempts from Dillashaw, a bantamweight record.

85.3% - Percent of takedowns Dillashaw successfully defended, the third-best mark in the division.

The Odds

All odds courtesy of Bovada, via OddsShark.

In the moneyline, Michael Bisping (-105, bet $105 to win $100) is the betting favorite over Georges St-Pierre (-125, bet $125 to win $100), but by a slim margin. It’s a bit surprising considering St-Pierre’s long layoff and the numerous question marks surrounding his return, and the size difference.

Reigning bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (-185, bet $185 to win $100) over former champion TJ Dillashaw (+150, bet $100 to win $150).

Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (-600, bet $600 to win $100) is the biggest favorite on the entire card over challenger Rose Namajunas (+400, bet $100 to win $400). Jedrzejczyk has been dominant in her reign as champion and is improving with every title defense.

The Full Card

Main Card (10pm ET)

Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – Middleweight title
Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – Bantamweight title
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas – Strawweight title
Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Borrachinha

FS1 Card (8pm ET)

James Vick vs. Joseph Duffy
Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer
Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Ion Cutelaba
Mickey Gall vs. Randy Brown

Fight Pass Card (6:30pm ET)

Alexey Oleinik vs. Curtis Blaydes
Corey Anderson vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricardo Ramos

Programming Notes

Calling the action cageside will be the trio of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Karyn Bryant will host a panel of analysts including welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman and former UFC fighter Kenny Florian in the Fox studio. Megan Olivi will be backstage interviewing fighters at Madison Square Garden.