YOU thought UFC 214 was a loaded card, just you wait until 217 unfolds! Another three title fights fill the main event with plenty of relevant names gracing the octagon. Reputations are on the line with two undefeated fighters trying to defend their belts and two MMA legends aiming to end the night (and maybe their careers) on top of the world.

UFC Predictions: 21-15

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Middleweight

Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks (18-7) vs. Paulo ‘The Razor’ Borrachinha (10-0)
ALL signs point to this being a long and eventually miserable night for Johny Hendricks. The one time champion of this division back in 2014 looks like a shell of himself in recent times with five losses from his last seven bouts. On the other hand, Brazilian prospect Paulo Borrachinha hasn’t lost a professional bout yet and is fast storming up the middleweight rankings. With a chance to announce himself to the world for Borrachinha, Hendricks seems to be fighting for his career. Unless he miraculously winds back the clock this one speaks for itself.

VERDICT: BORRACHINHA W

Welterweight

#2 Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (13-1-1) vs. #4 Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal (32-12)
AFTER two straight toughly fought losses to Ty Woodley, Wonderboy is out to prove that he deserves another shot at the title in his weight division. Thompson has showcased his patience and willingness to stick to his game plan. It will either prove to be his undoing or lead to his success in this bout against a hungry Masvidal, eager to upset the apple cart. After losing to Maia at 211, and missing out on a title shot, Masvidal is keen to put Thompson out of his comfort zone and earn that sought after shot at the belt. Given the fact that three title bouts follow the Thompson/Masvidal contest isn’t garnering as many headlines as usual. However, this could be the fight of the night as the welterweight division continues to take shape.

VERDICT: THOMPSON W

Women’s Strawweight

C Joanna Jędrzejczyk (10-0) vs. #4 Rose ‘Thug’ Namajunas (6-3)
JEDRZEJCZYK successfully defending her belt is about as certain as you waking up tomorrow morning. She has established herself as one of the most dominant women fighters to ever grace the sport and has successfully defended her belt at five straight UFC events. Namajunas, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly found her feet in the UFC yet with just four wins in the big time. She has had plenty of experience in her short career to date though earning a chance to fight for the inaugural women’s strawweight championship. Nearly two years and five fights later she is much more poised entering this fight and seems poised to cause a monumental upset. Don’t count on it though Namajunas fans, Joanna is still the champ.

VERDICT: JEDRZEJCZYK W

Bantamweight

C Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt (11-0) vs. #2 TJ Dillashaw (15-3)
TWO dudes who love throwing punches, the new king against a former champ, pre-fight trash talking and a belt on the line. What’s not to love about Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw? Garbrandt throwing shade at Dillashaw for being a ‘cheat’ only adds fuel to what was already a raging fire. Since recording an impressive, headline-grabbing win over Dominick Cruz, ‘No Love’ has been eager for a chance to defend his new shiny belt. He will be granted that chance on Saturday when he meets Dillashaw, a fighter who twice defended the same championship silverware. This is an intriguing fight and one of two storylines will play out. Either Grabrandt’s win over Cruz was a fluke and Dillashaw deserves to be the champ, or the undefeated champ is the real f*cking deal, with both prospects equally as exciting.

VERDICT: DILLASHAW W

UFC 217 Preview 1Image from mmajunkie.com

Middleweight

C Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping (31-7) vs. #2 Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre (25-2)
THIS is sooooo tough to pick, I mean we have no idea what GSP is capable of. With no bouts since November of 2013 St-Pierre does still only have two losses on his resume for a reason. However, he hasn’t finished a fight before the final bell since ’09 and in that same time, Bisping has finished eight foes en route to establishing himself as the best middleweight fighter in MMA. St-Pierre does have a UFC record 12 wins in title fights to his name as well as nine title defenses and a slew of other impressive statistics and numbers. I still think that GSP still has enough in the tank to defeat Bisping and even after four-ish years out of the game, here comes the upset.

VERDICT: ST-PIERRE W

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