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UFC 217 Picks

UFC 217 Picks
When: Saturday, November 4, 2017
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
TV: PPV
by Scott of Predictem.com

Fight Analysis:

It seems like the UFC really pours it on heavy when coming to Madison Square Garden after being locked out of New York for so long. And this card follows suit, with a double-championship card headlined by the main event for the UFC Middleweight Title between champion Michael Bisping and out-of-retirement legend Georges St-Pierre. Also on the card in a fierce grudge match, as UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt takes on ex-champ TJ Dillashaw.

Michael Bisping, 30-10 (16 KOs, 4 Submissions), (+115) vs. Georges St. Pierre, 25-2 (8 KOs, 5 Submissions), (-135)
Michael Bisping defends his UFC Middleweight Title against Georges St-Pierre in the main event of UFC 217. This signals the return of one of the sportís greatest stars in GSP, who is returning from a 4-year layoff after he retired after a long reign as UFC Welterweight Champion. He is certainly not being eased back into competition, moving up a division and taking on a champion. Can St-Pierre turn back the clock or will Bisping continue his remarkable run where heís been stockpiling big wins.

The idea of a fighter taking off four years and returning to win a title in a sport like MMA is a bit far-fetched on certain levels. This sport is still evolving. What worked during GSPís heyday might not work as well now. Not to mention that itís hard to be away from the rigors of the sport for that long and to turn that pilot light back on again. Granted, Bisping is not the most-feared champion, nor is he the most-advanced practitioner of modern MMA. He is also two years older than GSP and has taken a lot of punishment in a demanding career. So maybe this fight isnít so crazy for GSP at this point.

The long rest could possibly reinvigorate St-Pierre, who looked to be slowing down toward the end of his title run. A lot of his final run of fights went the distance, meaning a ton of five-rounders that led to a lot of punishment over the final stretch of his career, with a few close ones in the mix. A lot of people didnít think he deserved the decision in his final defense against Johny Hendricks. While there is no way to rest away wear-and-tear completely, the break could have actually done him well on some levels.

Regardless of what the affect of the layoff will be on GSP, he has his hands full with a bigger man who has been filling his resume with accomplishments while St-Pierre has been on the sidelines. Having fought at light heavyweight, Bisping is a lot bigger, a more-robust fighter. You also canít underestimate a man who rises from the ashes like he did to score huge wins to get in this spot. While itís true that he deserves some flack for putting the division on hold while pursuing big fights, it took a lot of inner-resource to get to this spotófirst with the gutty win over Anderson Silva, the shocking first-round KO win for the title over Rockhold, and the defense of Henderson. In his last three fights, he beat an MMA legend and two men who had previously beaten him. Thatís quite the late-career renaissance for the 38-year old Englishman.

St-Pierre is a talented guy, one of the greatest and most-accomplished fighters ever in MMA. Weíre talking about a major talent and when it comes to natural ability, Bisping isnít really on the same level. But Bisping is battle-tempered, big, capable, and always in great shape to go the distance if need be. I see him doing enough damage in the fourth and fifth rounds to eke a decision out over the former welterweight titleholder.

My Pick to Win: Iím betting on Michael Bisping at +115. He is the bigger fighter and on a roll after some big wins. GSP is dangerous, but coming off a huge layoff, while moving up 15 pounds in weight. It could be asking a little too much. Bet YOUR Bisping/St. Pierre pick using your credit card and get a giant 100% bonus on your deposit of $100 to $1000 at MyBookie!

Cody Garbrandt, 11-0 (9 KOs), (-140) vs. TJ Dillashaw, 14-3 (6 KOs, 3 Submissions), (+120)
Cody Garbrandt defends the UFC Bantamweight Title against former champion TJ Dillashaw in the co-main event of UFC 217. In December, Garbrandt beat Dominick Cruz by decisive 5-round decision to lift the belt. Cruz had previously lifted Dillashawís belt by disputed decision. This bout was supposed to happen before, with a back injury to the champion forcing the delay. The build-up for this fight between former team members has been characterized by extreme animosity, as the bad blood really runs deep.

Neither man has fought since December of last year. Dillashaw won his second fight in a row since losing his belt, beating tough John Lineker. Garbrandt beat Cruz, but then had to deal with a back injury, with Dillashaw on the shelf awaiting this fight to materialize. Garbrandt, 26, is a potential superstar in this sport. He is charismatic with some of the best hands in the sport. He can really do damage for a 135-pounder with his hands, while also being an accomplished wrestler with good takedown defense. Dillashaw, 32, can really do it all and some have compared him to an MMA Swiss army knife, based on his versatility.

One would hope that injuries and back problems donít derail Garbrandt or compromise his effectiveness moving forward. He is still young and with only 11 pro fights, itís not like heís taken a ton of punishment, so he should be 100% for this fight. Again, there is a lot of pride on the line and the stakes are very highóboth personally and professionally.

There are things to like about both fighters for the purposes of this matchup. Both have great footwork and tremendous movement, while working at a fast pace. From a fansí perspective, itís hard to envision anything but a really good fight. Garbrandtís hands are a major factor in this fight, but I see Dillashaw not getting totally overwhelmed in that category based on his boxing skills, which are good and have been improving. In a fight that looks like itís going to be very close, Iíll take the flashier work of Garbrandt and the fact that heís champion as being enough to get him the decision.

My Pick to Win: Iím betting on Cody Garbrandt at -140. He has the most-compelling weapon in the fight with his hands. Heís a little bigger, younger, and the reigning champion. Bet your Garbrandt/Dillashaw prediction at one of the oldest and most trusted MMA betting sites where credit cards work for deposits and where you'll receive a generous 100% bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500: GTBets!

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