In a sport that is often marked by hyperbole, it's fair to say UFC 217 is among the best cards the organization has put on.
The night featured not one, not two, but three title changes to close out the night. As MMA writer Mike Bohn noted, it was the first time that has ever happened:
The night was capped by the incredible return of Georges St-Pierre to the Octagon. Coming back as a middleweight, GSP looked like a bigger version of his usual self, throwing smooth combinations on the feet and shooting powerful takedown attempts.
St-Pierre won the round but showed just glimpses of his old-school style.
Those glimpses would become bigger in the third round, but the second round was a close one. St-Pierre slowed while Bisping kept up his volume. The new champion did score a second takedown, which the UFC passed along:
While it appeared St-Pierre might have a hard time with his cardio at 185 pounds, the third round ended up being his best. He took down The Count once again and kept him there. He took some elbows from the ground that had him donning the crimson mask, but he came back with a vengeance.
St-Pierre fired a left hook that landed flush on the chin and floored Bisping. From there, the rush was on, and he latched on to a rear-naked choke that drew the stoppage.
It was a night that was truly the epitome of MMA chaos. Here are the complete results for the night along with a closer look at each of the main card bouts.
Georges St-Pierre def. Michael Bisping via third-round submission (4:23)
TJ Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt via second-round TKO (2:41)
Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via first-round TKO (3:03)
Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision
Paulo Costa def. Johny Hendricks via second-round TKO (1:23)
James Vick def. Joseph Duffy via second-round TKO (4:59)
Mark Godbeer def. Walt Harris via first-round DQ (4:29)
Ovince Saint Preux def. Corey Anderson via third-round KO (1:25)
Randy Brown def. Mickey Gall via unanimous decision
Curtis Blaydes def. Aleksei Oleinik via second-round TKO (1:56)
Ricardo Ramos def. Aiemann Zahabi def. via third-round TKO (1:58)
Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw
The fight between Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw promised fireworks.
With the two former training partners having a high level of familiarity with one another, the fight started slow. Neither fighter was willing to commit to much in nearly four minutes of fighting. The end of the round saw No Love floor Dillashaw in what looked like the moment the champion would take over the fight.
In reality, it was the last highlight Garbrandt would have in the match.
Dillashaw started the second round with a high kick that floored the champion. Garbrandt jumped back to his feet and continued to throw with the challenger, up until a right hand put him right back on the mat to end.
The UFC passed along the highlight:
It was an incredible comeback in an incredible fight. With both fighters representing the best in the weight class, it's likely we will see the matchup again, and fans should be happy about that.
For now, Dillashaw has set his sights on Demetrious Johnson, the champion at the 125-pound weight division:
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas
Rose Namajunas didn't buy into the hype of champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and she shocked the world as a result. Going into the night as the biggest underdog of the three title challengers, Thug Rose snatched the women's strawweight crown from Joanna Champion with a first-round knockout.
The fight got off to an inauspicious start with a prolonged feeling-out period. But when Namajunas decided to attack, she was successful:
That was the first knockdown, and the knockout wasn't far behind. After resetting, Namajunas unleashed a hellacious left hook that floored the champion, Thug Rose went to the ground and made the result official with strikes until the referee put an end to the fight.
Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie nominated the bout for the upset of the year:
It's certainly a good candidate. Given Jedrzejczyk's dominance of this division, the coronation of a new champion is a reset for a bevy of strong contenders, including Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Andrade.
All of those fighters lost to Jedrzejczyk in title fights but now have new life with Namajunas as champion. The 25-year-old just put on an impressive performance and will have plenty of opportunities to legitimize her reign as the champion.
Stephen Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal
Giving Stephen Thompson space is a recipe for a bad time. Jorge Masvidal did just that, and it cost him.
In a fight that could have made Masvidal the next contender for Tyron Woodley's next title fight, Wonderboy simply picked him apart for three rounds. Trying to attack Thompson's unique karate stance, Masvidal could never figure out how to get close enough to do much damage.
Meanwhile, Wonderboy had no problem landing effective shots at will from range:
Thompson is now in a difficult position in the division. A performance like this reminds fans that he got two shots at Woodley for a reason. The problem is that his style doesn't make it a great matchup. Both fighters are simply too risk-averse against one another.
So with two fights against Woodley and the rematch being nearly unwatchable, it's hard to argue to see that pairing again. Yet, he's one of the top welterweights in the sport.
Where he goes from here will be one of the more interesting subplots to come out of UFC 217.
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Costa
If you're a top-tier middleweight in the UFC right now, Paulo Costa is not the guy you want to see across from you in the cage. Johny Hendricks was on the wrong side of the 26-year-old's onslaught to kick off the main card in New York as Costa picked up a second-round TKO win.
Costa was the aggressor from the jump, stalking down Hendricks and attacking with both hands and feet. The UFC passed along some of the highlights from the opening round:
Hendricks did land two left hands that stunned Costa, but nothing came of them.
Instead, they only served to show that Big Rigg's days of being a contender are behind him and Costa's best days are likely ahead of him. As Mike Chiappetta of MMA Fighting noted, that's a good sign for the UFC because the organization could use all the young stars it can find right now:
Costa certainly made the statement he needed to make with the win. His power and striking diversity make him an interesting prospect going forward, and his 11-0 record is going to be hard to ignore when the newest UFC rankings come out.