- What a night. After a four-year layoff, Georges St-Pierre knocked out Michael Bisping to claim the UFC's middleweight title and cap a crazy night at UFC 217, which saw two other champions go down.
SI.com is providing blow-by-blow analysis and updates from UFC 217 in New York. Follow the action from Madison Square Garden with SI.com's Matt Dollinger.
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre: GSP By KO
Third round: GSP IS BACK—AND A CHAMPION ONCE AGAIN! Bisping cut GSP pretty bad with several elbows across the face in the third, but St-Pierre was able to catch a second wind and finish the champion with a series of blows. The money punch? A perfectly placed left hook on a counter attack. From there, GSP went to town on Bisping, pummeling his head on the ground. Eventually, he was able to take Bisping's back and choke the champion out, putting him to sleep in front of the sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd.
St-Pierre faced several bouts of adversity in the third round. Even when he was able to take Bisping to the ground, he was sustaining a good amount of damage. But eventually, GSP cracked the code and found a way to upset the champ, catching him across the jaw and then using his wrestling skills on the mat.
What a fight. Three champions, three upsets, one night to remember.
Second round: Bisping took control in the second, connecting on more punches than GSP and running him ragged. Bisping is known for his cardio, while St-Pierre is fighting in his first professional fight in four years—it clearly shows. If GSP is unable to catch his breath, Bisping could put him away. Also, for what it's worth, Bisping is having cup issues. I'm not sure how to analyze that.
First round: GSP looks like he took four weeks, not four years off. He was a smooth operator in the first round, landing punches and keeping Bisping off balance. A few home run kicks missed badly, but overall GSP looked fresh and dialed in. Bisping did more shuffling than attacking in the opening period, measuring GSP's attacks. With about a minute remaining, GSP took Bisping to the ground, grabbing his leg before taking him to the mat. Bisping was eventually able to worm his way up, with St-Pierre unable to get a good hold on him. GSP finishes the period by staggering Bisping with a superman left jab!
Pre-fight (still!): Michael Bisping looks pissed off at all times. He walks pissed off. He talks pissed off. He sneers and smiles pissed off. Everything Michael Bisping does, he does it pissed off. Needless to say, his walkout to the ring had a theme to it (he was pissed off). Did I mention I love Michael Bisping's general demeanor? OK, enough pre-fight observations. Let's do this.
Pre-fight (still): An interesting tidbit from MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani before the main event gets under way:
Freddie Roach is in fact in GSP’s corner. First time he corners a UFC fighter.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 5, 2017
GSP draws huge cheers as he enters the octagon. He's bouncing off the walls. Looks like he's happy to be back.
Pre-fight: And we've arrived. The main event. GSP returns after his four-year layoff to take on Bisping for the middleweight title. We've already seen two major upsets tonight at the hands of T.J. Dillashaw and Rose Namajunas. Can GSP cap the challenger trifecta with a win over Bisping? It's clear the UFC fans at MSG are really pulling for the 36-year-old. Walkouts coming soon.
Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw: Dillashaw By KO
Official: Dillashaw KOs Garbrandt in second round.
Second round: We have a second straight upset! After Garbrandt closed the first round with a devastating blow, Dillashaw responded with a ferocious left high kick in the second that stunned the champion. Garbrandt was able to get back on his feet, but he was never the same. Soon after the kick, Dillashaw uncorked a big right hook that put Garbrandt back on ground. Dillashaw pounced, finished, and re-claimed the UFC's bantamweight belt. The bad blood continued after the bell, with Dillashaw screaming in Garbrandt's face and the two stalking each other in the octagon. Eventually, the two embraced in a sort of half-hearted show of sportsmanship.
That's now two undefeated champions to fall tonight. GSP-Bisping next. The Garden is rocking.
First round: These two fighters aren't just trying to beat each other, they're trying to embarrass each other. No gloves touched before the fight. Lots of sarcastic smiling and mean-mugging from Dillashaw. A few vicious sequences uncorked by Garbrandt. Dillashaw was the more active fighter in the opening frame, trying to size up Garbrandt and interjecting super-fast flurries. Cody, on the other hand, was much more calculated in round one, seeing what Dillashaw wanted to do before dishing his own batch of punishment. At the very end of the round, Garbrandt lands a HUGE punch to Dillashaw's jaw, staggering the fighter and leaving him woozy. The bell saved him. Garbrandt is in control.
Pre-fight: The Garden has come alive after Namajunas's shocking KO of Jedrzejczyk. Now we get the bad-blood battle of the night, with two former teammates squaring off for the bantamweight title. Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw are two of the UFC's best pound-for-pound fighters and should put on a show. I'm taking Dillashaw in the upset. And, spoiler alert, I'm also taking GSP in the main event. Let's see three new champs tonight!
Also, this is what it looks like when a unicorn meets a mouse:
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas: Namajunas By KO
Official: Namajunas KOs Jedrzejczyk in the first round.
First round: UNBELIEVABLE! We have a new strawweight champion! In a stunning upset, Rose Namajunas knocked out Jedrzejczyk in the first round with a brutal left hook. She then jumped to the mat to finish off Joanna, who tapped as Rose hammered away on her head.
It was Joanna who got in Rose's face moments before the fight, taunting the challenger and attempting to get in her head. But as soon as the fight began, there was a quick reversal in momentum, with Rose asserting her authority and connecting on multiple surprising blows. It appeared Rose was going to pull off the upset even earlier in the first round, but Joanna was able to get back on her feet. It would only last for a few moments though, as Rose closed in once again before dealing the career-altering blow. Far and away, this is the most shocking result of the night.
Pre-fight: Our first title fight of the night! Joanna is attempting to defend her strawweight title for the sixth consecutive time, which would tie Ronda Rousey's women's UFC record. She also might be the biggest fan favorite at the Garden tonight, drawing big cheers every time she's shown on the JumboTron. The last three fights of the night should be awesome. Five rounds. Let's go.
Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal: Thompson by unanimous decision
Official: Thompson defeats Masvidal by unanimous decision.
Third round: The third round featured more of the same, with Thompson proving the crisper of the two fighters. Masvidal put together a spirited finish, attempting to find a miracle knockout in the closing moments, but Thompson's consistent showing earned him the victory by decision. It likely wasn't enough for Thompson to get another shot at Woodley right away, but it puts him back on the track. Thompson fought a smart, fundamentally-sound fight, but he didn't get the spectacular result he might have needed.
Second round: Wonderboy is finding his groove, unleashing combos on Masvidal and blitzing him every chance he gets. Masvidal has only been able to respond with the lightest of counters, while Wonderboy continues to put on a clinic with all four limbs. Masvidal hit the mat again the second round, but got up quickly just as he did in the first. Thompson has so many weapons at his disposal and he's using them all against Masvidal. This is Thompson's fight to lose.
First round: Little hesitancy from both fighters in the first round. Both fighters have awkward styles and stances, leading to a lot of feeling out on both sides. Masvidal has definitely been the more conservative of the two, with Thompson slightly outpointing him with kicks and jabs. Wonderboy also scored a big knockdown with 1:24 left with a front-leg kick, but Masvidal bounced back instantly. Thompson holds the early edge.
Pre-fight: On to the second of five fights tonight. Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson needs a W to try and convince the UFC to give him a third title shot. Masvidal won't be an easy opponent and has won three of his last four bouts. Thompson is likely happy just to be fighting someone not named Tyron Woodley.
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Costa: Costa Wins By TKO
Official: Costa defeats Hendricks by TKO in second round.
Second round: What a dominant performance by Costa! The young gun takes down Hendricks to improve to 11-0 in the UFC. From the start, Costa imposed his will on Hendricks, unleashing a slew of devastating kicks and punches. Hendricks began to take on a lot of water in the second round, with Costa backing him down with one punishing blow after another. This could be the end for Hendricks in the UFC, while we're likely to see a lot more of Costa for years to come.
First round: Hendricks is starting to look a little like Big Country Nelson in the octagon. Costa, meanwhile, looks like an Adonis. Hendricks doesn't look like he has any answer for Costa's physical advantages. Costa peppered him with a series of jabs and kicks, while Hendricks's best combo only made Costa laugh. The former champ looks obsolete against the younger fighter.
Pre-fight: The first fight of the main card is about to get underway. Johny Hendricks already won the week outside of the Octagon with Underwear Gate. Let's see if the former champ can get a much-needed win tonight at UFC 217. The 34-year-old has lost four of his last five fights and is going against the undefeated Costa.
FS1 Card Recap and Results
The prelims are over! Which means it's (thankfully) time for the main card. In case you're researching sleepers for your 2018 UFC fantasy team, here are the results:
• Randy Brown defeats Mickey Gall (decision)
• Ovince Saint Preux defeats Corey Anderson (KO in the third round)
• Mark Godbeer defeats Walt Harris (DQ due to illegal kick)
• James Vick defeats Joe Duffy (KO in the second round)
The highlight of the card? Saint Preux kicking the marbles (and mouthguard) out of Anderson with a devastating kick to the head/neck:
Preview: Before the Fight
Madison Square Garden is known for hosting some of the most legendary sporting events in history—will UFC 217 be able to add to that storied legacy?
History will certainly be on the line tonight, beginning with the main card, as Georges St-Pierre returns from a four-year layoff to take on Michael Bisping for the UFC's Middleweight Championship belt. GSP, regarded as one of the best fighters in MMA history, is moving up from Welterweight to challenge Bisping for his belt. In addition to Bisping-GSP, Joanna Jedrzejczyk looks to down Rose Namajunas and defend her belt for the sixth consecutive time, which would tie Ronda Rousey's record. And in the co-headliner, T.J. Dillashaw looks to settle the score with former teammate Cody Garbrandt in a bantamweight battle that’s expected to be absolutely vicious.
UFC 217: Main Card (10 p.m. 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 Costa
Check back with SI.com throughout the night for updates and analysis of the entire UFC 217 card.