Bisping-GSP, Garbrandt-Dillashaw title fights among 7 official for UFC 217

Two championship belts will be on the line when the UFC makes its second visit this November to the famous Madison Square Garden in New York.

In the main event of the Nov. 4 pay-per-view lineup (which follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass), Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) will defend the UFC middleweight championship against Georges St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC). Bantamweight titleholder Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) takes on rival T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) in the co-headliner.

Both title bouts were confirmed on Tuesday’s episode of “UFC Tonight” on FS1.

The matchup between Bisping and St-Pierre has been an on-again, off-again mess after it was announced in March that former UFC welterweight champion St-Pierre would end his nearly 4-year hiatus to fight Bisping, despite never having competed at 185 pounds.

St-Pierre hasn’t fought since 2013, when he notched his ninth consecutive welterweight title defense with a split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. St-Pierre then vacated the title and took a break from competition. After St-Pierre recently flirted with a return, UFC officials announced earlier this year that the 36-year-old Canadian MMA great would fight Bisping sometime later in the year.

However, St-Pierre then said he could not fight until at least November due to outside commitments, and an irked UFC President Dana White later said the fight was off. Bisping was then slated to fight top contender Yoel Romero.

But when Bisping subsequently revealed a knee injury (while St-Pierre declared a lingering eye issue), Plan B for Bisping-Romero also was scrapped. Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) then lost a decision to fellow contender Robert Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) for an interim title earlier this month at UFC 213.

White suggested a knee injury recently suffered by Whittaker opened the door for St-Pierre to cut the line.

With Whittaker the challenger in waiting, White said in July that St-Pierre would instead fight the winner of this past Saturday’s UFC 214 co-headliner between current welterweight champ Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and challenger Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC). However, with Woodley’s heavily panned unanimous-decision win over Maia, that apparently opened the door for St-Pierre vs. Bisping once again.

Garbrandt and Dillashaw have a tenuous history after being teammates for several years at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif. Dillashaw unceremoniously left the gym to train with striking coach Duane Ludwig in Colorado, and the disdain with former teammates such as Garbrandt and Urijah Faber has grown thicker ever since.

The feud grew deeper when the pair served as opposing coaches on Season 25 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. Dillashaw handled Garbrandt in the coaching aspect, seeing a greater number of his fighters advance through the tournament, with Jesse Taylor ultimately winning the tournament crown.

Garbrandt was forced to withdraw from their planned UFC 213 bout in July due to a back injury that required treatment. He’s been rehabbing since and is ready to go for UFC 217.

Also confirmed for UFC 217 was a heavyweight bout between Curtis Blaydes (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Aleksei Oleinik (52-10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), a light-heavyweight showdown between Corey Anderson (9-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Patrick Cummins (10-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) and a bantamweight bout between Ricardo Ramos (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Aiemann Zahabi (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC).

The latest UFC 217 lineup now includes:

  • Champ Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre – for middleweight title
  • Champ Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for bantamweight title
  • Paulo Borrachinha vs. Johny Hendricks
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Aleksei Oleinik
  • Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
  • Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Aiemann Zahabi

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie