Many people didn’t think it could be done. Stepping away from a sport for four years, arguably a little past your peak at that point already, and deciding to come back. Sports are full of stories like this, and very rarely are those stories of redemption, or do they end with happiness. Georges St-Pierre doesn’t want to hear any of that.
He’s too busy raising the UFC middleweight title in the air.
St-Pierre looked as smooth as ever, busting out all of his patented moves and mixing in some new things (like a fancy Wonderboy-inspired side kick). Michael Bisping got off to a slow start, and GSP took the first. Bisping looked much more composed in the second though, and he arguably took that round. GSP seemed a bit tired going into the third. Things seemingly weren’t going his way when Bisping busted him open with elbows from the bottom. But he persevered.
With blood all over his face, GSP dropped Bisping with a left hook and pounded away with elbows. Bisping showed a lot of heart in surviving, but GSP’s crafty and he immediately took the back and sunk a choke. As soon as it was in, I said “he’s gonna go out, no tapping”, and I was proven right. Bisping went out on his shield. Some might not appreciate that, but I did.
Now Georges St-Pierre is a two-division champion, just the fourth in the history of the UFC. And it looks like he has a bad, bad man nicknamed Bobby Knuckles in his near future.
- HOW CRAZY WAS THIS EVENT?
- T.J. Dillashaw showed a ton tonight. I really thought that Cody Garbrandt would overwhelm him with his hand speed and for a round it certainly looked that way. Dillashaw got dropped at the end of the first and was on dream street going to his corner. But in the second, he came out and dropped Cody with a head kick, which really got his attention. When Garbrandt tried to wade into the pocket to exchange, he got clobbered. T.J.'s right hook rolled Cody's eyes back in his head as soon as it landed. That was unreal.
- I love this bantamweight triangle with these two and Dominick Cruz. They can all beat each other on any given night, I think. I suddenly don't want to see Demetrious Johnson fight any of these guys, because I want to see them all fight each other multiple times for the 135 belt.
- Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the perfect example of why I love this sport so much. Joanna is so good it's almost unfair, and not many people were giving Thug Rose a chance. Joanna played mind games with her leading up to the fight too, making people think she even broke her mentally before the fight. So what does Namajunas do? Go in there and beat Jedrzejczyk at her game, knocking out the Boogeywoman. Not just knocking her out. Making the unbeatable strawweight queen tap to strikes. Namajunas demolished her. It was unexpected, brutal, and captivating.
- That left hook. I'll remember that for a long time. And Joanna tapping made the whole thing remind me of GSP vs. Matt Serra more than a little bit.
- And then Rose gets on the mic and doesn't talk smack, even though she had every right to. Instead, she just said she's the same person even with the belt and people should be nice to each other. She's 25! Who is that grounded at 25! That was almost as awesome as her finish for me. Rose Namajunas is awesome.
- I think some were probably underwhelmed by Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal because it wasn't a firefight, but I found it fascinating. The things that Wonderboy can do in there just astound me. Who throws a counter side kick? Or physically steps to the side and delivers punches that quickly? It wasn't just him though. I loved Masvidal figuring out that Thompson wasn't going to put him out with one shot, so he just covered up and walked right through them to try to land his own offense. And it worked. Thompson won, but that was a great fight either way.
- Johny Hendricks looked two weight classes smaller that Paulo Costa, and he just let Costa walk him down the whole fight. Once the first shot attempt was swatted away, it looked like he was dead in the water. And he was. Costa is a scary, scary man, and his punches were making me flinch when they landed. We still have no idea how his cardio is, but he's a beast.
- Is it time for Johny Hendricks to retire? I don't usually address things like that, but it just seems like he's here for the paychecks. Between not even knowing he made weight, and his lethargic performance (again), it doesn't seem like his heart is in it at all.
- I really thought Joe Duffy's boxing would be enough to overcome scrappy James Vick, despite giving up some reach. But after the first round, it was all Vick. Duffy's leg was jacked up, Vick established his range perfectly, beat Duffy up, and then landed a beautiful uppercut as Duffy was leaning in. He got the finish right at the horn, and he deserves a top opponent next for sure.
- Walt Harris absolutely deserved to get disqualified for an illegal kick on a prone Mark Godbeer. After landing a low knee, the referee clearly yelled "STOP STOP STOP" and had his hand on Harris, but he still threw a head kick that hurt Godbeer badly. Godbeer couldn't continue, and the ref made the right decision to give him the win. As for Harris, what the hell are you thinking there? You can't be so in the moment that you don't hear a referee screaming in your ear, or feel him touching you. That's not cool.
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Corey Anderson was a case of damage vs. control for 2.5 rounds. Then it was a case of unconsciousness for Anderson. OSP landed big shots in the first and second, even knocking Anderson's mouthpiece out once (and getting a huge break when referee Dan Mirgliotta stepped in right away to put it back in), but Anderson controlled the rest of the rounds with wrestling. OSP came out in the third and threw a monster head kick though, and Anderson was out. For a while.
- Afterward, OSP decided to run over to say something to UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Seems natural to bark at the champ after a huge win. But then he got on the mic and called out...Ilir Latifi? What?
- Randy Brown went into Mickey Gall's world, and he won. He took Gall down and beat him up on the ground in the first and third to take a decision victory. Gall had a good second and still has a lot of potential, but Brown fought a very good, and somewhat surprising fight.
- Curtis Blaydes and Alexei Oleinik was...weird. Blaydes was being Oleinik up, but unfortunately decided to throw an illegal kick while Oleinik was down. It looked bad at first, but it just grazed his ear. They talked to Oleinik, who had taken a ton of damage already, and he said he didn't want to continue. But they went to the replay, saw that it was an EAR kick, and Blaydes was given the win. Very, very odd finish. And the same ref as the Harris DQ, Blake Grice.
- Ricardo Ramos and Aiemann Zahabi were engaged in a close fight with some cool moves, until Ramos landed a gorgeous spinning elbow. Zahabi went night night, and the lights didn't come back on for a while. Sick finish.