It was an incredible night for the UFC as UFC 217 delivered in every way. In the UFC's second event at Madison Square Garden, the card was entertaining from top to bottom and culminated with back-to-back-to-back title changes. In all, the event saw 8 out of 11 fights end in finishes.
In the main event, Georges St. Pierre returned to glory and won the UFC middleweight championship with a third-round submission over Michael Bisping. In his first fight in four years, St. Pierre had to overcome adversity after getting cut over his left eye from one of Bisping's elbows. He caught Bisping with a left hook that dropped him, landed some strikes on the ground and then sunk in the rear-naked choke. Bisping refused to tap and was choked unconscious. It was the first finish for St. Pierre since 2009. The former longtime welterweight champion, St. Pierre became just the fourth fighter in UFC history to win a championship in two divisions joining Randy Couture, B.J. Penn and Conor McGregor. He was noncommittal when asked if he would defend his belt in the middleweight division. Bisping, who had mentioned retirement in the buildup to the fight, said he's not done.
In the co-main event and probably the most anticipated fight on the card, T.J. Dillashaw became the UFC bantamweight champion for the second time with a second-round TKO of Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt dropped Dillashaw with a huge right hand at the end of the first round, but Dillashaw bounced back in the second. Dillashaw hurt Garbrandt with a high kick and then dropped him with a right hook before finishing the fight with some ground-and-pound. Dillashaw had lost the title to Dominick Cruz last January, and Garbrandt defeated Cruz in December. It's the first loss of Garbrandt's career. In his post-fight interview, Dillashaw called out flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and challenged him to a superfight.
In the night's biggest upset, Rose Namajunas dethroned strawweight champion Joanna Jerdzejczyk to win the title. Namajunas scored a first-round knockout after Jerdzejczyk tapped due to strikes. It was the first loss Jerdzejczyk's career, as she was attempting to tie Ronda Rousey's record for most title defenses by a female fighter. Namajunas caught Jerdzejczyk clean with a right hand that had her in trouble early on. She followed up with a left hook that landed flush on Jerdzejczyk's chin and dropped her. Jerdzejczyk has likely earned the right to an immediate rematch for the championship if she wants it.
In a battle of top-ranked welterweights, Stephen Thompson won a unanimous decision (30-27 2x, 30-26) over Jorge Masvidal. Thompson utilized his unorthodox karate style perfectly and Masvidal couldn't figure him out. Masvidal did have success landing body kicks and leg kicks, but Thompson was diverse and scored a knockdown in the second round. The No. 2 welterweight, Thompson got back on track after losing to welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. It was the second straight loss for the No. 4-ranked Masvidal.
In the opening bout of the main card, Paulo Costa finished Johny Hendricks via second-round TKO. Costa lit Hendricks up with a variety of strikes, mixing up his punches with vicious body kicks. Hendricks showed a ton of heart and refused to quit, but he took a lot of damage before the referee mercifully stopped the fight. He's now 1-5 in his last six fights. At 11-0, Costa looks to be a strong prospect in the middleweight division. In his post-fight interview, he proclaimed, "I will be the next Brazilian legend."
Full results from the event can be found below:
- T.J. Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt via knockout (punches) at 2:41 of Round 2
- Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via knockout (strikes) at 3:03 at Round 1
- Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Paulo Costa def. Johny Hendricks via TKO (strikes) at 1:23 of Round 2
- James Vick def. Joseph Duffy via TKO (punches) at 4:59 of Round 2
- Mark Godbeer def. Walt Harris via disqualification (illegal kick) at 4:29 of Round 1
- Ovince Saint Preux def. Corey Anderson via knockout (head kick) at 1:25 of Round 3
- Randy Brown def. Mickey Gall via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
- Curtis Blaydes def. Aleksei Oleinik via TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 1:56 of Round 2
- Ricardo Ramos def. Aiemann Zahabi via knockout (spinning back elbow) at 1:58 of Round 3