Big Questions get Big Answers

ufc-217They built it as the biggest card of the year but there were doubters as the UFC has done that before only to disappoint.

Heading into UFC 217 there were a lot of questions surrounding the three title fights that were going to carry the card.

Those questions were going to determine whether or not the card would match the hype and truly be the card of the year.

In the first title fight, the main question was whether or not Rose Namajunas could actually provide a good fight to the only strawweight champion, Joanna Jędrzejczyk.

Jędrzejczyk has been the most dominant champion in women’s MMA and was heading into her 5th title defence looking to tie Ronda Rousey for most title defences in any UFC women’s division.

She had done it in such a dominant way that winning another title defence was going to put little doubt about who the best women’s fighter in the world was.

Namajunas was looking to be the first to beat Jędrzejczyk and shock the world but not many people were giving her a shot at the champion has very rarely been in trouble.

That is exactly what Namajunas did surprising everyone in the world of MMA when she dropped the champion.

The fight began with both standing while many thought that Namajunas was going to look to take the fight down she caught Jędrzejczyk early putting an upset in the air.

Namajunas did it again later in the round and swarmed forcing Jędrzejczyk to tap and ending her 14-fight win streak and her reign as the strawweight champion.

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It was a shock and it clearly answered the question as Namajunas didn’t just give Jędrzejczyk a fight, she took it to her and took her belt.

After the strawweight title changed hands in a shocker a long-standing rivalry was set to take the spotlight.

The question in the bantamweight title fight was simply about hype as T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt had been building up this fight for most of 2017.

It was a real question whether or not this fight could match the hype between two fighters that hated each other.

The back story is a long one as Dillashaw was once a training partner of Garbrandt before leaving Team Alpha Male alongside coach Duane Ludwig for a new camp.

Team Alpha Male has never really gotten over what they see as a betrayal and Garbrandt is the one leading the charge especially after beating Dominick Cruz for the Bantamweight title.

It was a grudge match with plenty of history behind it but for fights like these things are never certain as both fighters can go all out looking for the decisive win or be very cautious trying not to make a mistake.

This time it was a bit of a mix of both as neither fighter wanted to make that mistake but they weren’t just sitting back exchanging plenty throughout the fight.

The first round saw Dillashaw make that mistake as he went in and ate a big right hand that put him on wobbly legs, but he was saved by the bell.

Dillashaw looked to get that back and went a little harder in the second which paid off when he hit Garbrandt with a big left kick that sent Garbrandt down but not out.

Dillashaw then landed a massive right hand that was the final strike putting Garbrandt out and taking the title away from Team Alpha Male.

Another question was answered as the fight certainly lived up to the hype with a new champion and a big emotional knockout.

Finally, the biggest question of them all as Georges St. Pierre was making his return to the octagon for the first time in close to four years.

ufc-217iiIn that return, he wasn’t going to be getting a warm-up fight though as he was set to take on the winningest UFC fighter of all time and Middleweight champion, Michael Bisping.

The questions were many around this main event as those looking at the big picture wondered if St. Pierre, once the king of pay-per-view, could even draw people after four years.

Others looking at the fight were wondering whether or not the time off was going to do a lot more damage as the fight game has evolved in a major way since he last fought.

He may have been one of the greatest of all time but four years is a long time and coming back against a bigger fighter who had fought 8 times since GSP’s last fight was a real unknown.

St. Pierre proved that the time away wasn’t the end of his career as he came back looking very close to the dominant fighter he was.

The first round saw him take a few big shots but land a few of his own signature jabs and eventually taking Bisping down.

As the fight went on the octagon rust and the jump in weight did show up as St. Pierre was getting tired and wasn’t as explosive although he continued to take the fight to the ground and win rounds.

Then came the third round with a tired St. Pierre still standing his ground, slipping a big right and landing a solid left to drop Bisping.

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He looked to finish it on the ground but Bisping successfully defended until GSP sunk in a rear naked choke putting Bisping to sleep.

It was the second belt earned by St. Pierre whose future is a bit uncertain as it sounds like he wants big fights only and won’t likely defend the middleweight title.

The final question was answered as GSP did look like his old self if not a little better than his old self.

A lot of questions were answered on the night and three titles changed hands as a result.

The build-up for the fight was always about it being the best of the year and it didn’t disappoint as the unexpected happened and a lot of new questions are coming in the wake of some massive changes.

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