UFC 217 Betting Tips

November 4, 2017 by Posted in Betting Tips

At UFC 217, the octagon returns to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. In the main event polarising English middleweight champion Michael Bisping will take on the most dominant Canadian since Wayne Gretsky; Georges ‘GSP’ St Pierre. When GSP retired four years ago he was considered alongside Jon Jones and Anderson Silva as the greatest to ever compete in the sport. However in the years since both Jones and Silva have had their legacy tarnished by suspensions for performance enhancing drugs (ironically both claimed to have tested positive due to tainted erectile dysfunction medication), leaving GSP alone to hold the mantle of greatest of all time. GSP abruptly retired in November 2013 following a controversial split decision title defense against NCAA wrestler Johnny Hendricks. Due to his retirement, I think a lot of people are forgetting just how depleted GSP was looking in his last two fights. Against both Hendricks and Diaz, GSP appeared to lack the incredible athleticism and driving takedowns that had hallmarked the prime of his career. Questions over whether the four year hiatus will have further magnified or improved his physical decline can only be answered on fight. In his prime GSP is a terrible stylistic match up for Bisping. He has probably the most effective wrestling game in UFC history (despite not having a traditional wrestling background) .He shoots double legs with explosive power and when he has fighters down he smothers them with exceptional top control grappling. He also crafted himself a very effective striking game. Always working behind a jab; but not afraid to throw kicks or even the occasional superman punch. His cardio and chin have always stood up, but both seemed shaky in his last two bouts. GSP’s greatest asset is his game planning and discipline to see it through. Along with long-time coach Firas Zahabi, he consistently identified and exploited opponent’s weakness, even when it leads to lacklustre fights.

Despite being the current middleweight champion; I don’t think Michael Bisping is in the top 5 fighters in the division. He won the title by stepping in on short notice and shocking the world with a first round KO over an overconfident Luke Rockhold. But full credit to Bisping for seizing his opportunity. The problem is since winning the title 18 months ago, he has only fought once, against a completely undeserving title contender; Dan Henderson. This has held up the entire division and now Australia’s own Robert Whittaker is left waiting for his shot to unify the belt (however that now looks like it will go down in Perth when the promotion makes its debut there early next year). Nonetheless, Bisping is a talented fighter who always brings his A game. He is primarily a high volume kickboxer who uses his output and cardio to outpace opponents on the feet. He doesn’t have a lot of one punch power (making his KO of Rockhold all the more shocking), but is good at piling up damage particularly as his opponents tires. He doesn’t often show off offensive grappling, but he has incredible takedown defence and an excellent ability to bounce up to his feet. Even though GSP has been retired for four years, he is still going to be the younger fighter here. At 38 Bisping has shown no signs of slowing down, but that will inevitably come at some point.

If there fight goes down in 2011; I think GSP wins a 50-45 decision. Despite the takedown defence, Bisping has been outwrestled by far inferior wrestlers than GSP. Bisping also likes to strike at kicking range and has always struggled to deal with a good jab; both of which are GSP’s best assets on the feet. However this is not 2011 and it’s near impossible to gauge how GSP will look after all this time off. During his retirement, GSP has endured two full knee re-constructions and he was already showing significant physical decline prior to his retirement. However knowing how proud of an athlete GSP is, I don’t believe he would return unless he and Firas truly believed he could still be competitive at this level. Four years is a long time in a sport that is as new and fast evolving as MMA; but it’s not like GSP is fighting the new breed here. If GSP has lost his explosiveness and can’t get takedowns I think he loses this fight. Bisping will be significantly bigger and longer than GSP and if this turns into 5 rounds of kickboxing I think Bisping will win a volume based decision. But even if GSP’s striking and athleticism has completely left him, his BJJ and ground control will still be there. If GSP can land takedowns he will win rounds. Obvious caveat that there are a lot of unanswered questions going into this one, but GSP is the more skilled, well rounded fighter and he is a bad stylistic match up for Bisping. Georges St Pierre by 48-47 decision.

TIP: Georges St Pierre by decision – $3.00 at Ladbrokes

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