Georges St-Pierre made a triumphant return to the Octagon after a four-year absence in the main event of UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, scoring a second-round submission win over Michael Bisping to claim the UFC middleweight title.
St-Pierre credited Bisping’s challenge after the fight.
‘He hurt me a few times very hard. I tried to hide it, but I wouldn’t like to do that fight again,’ St-Pierre said in his post-fight interview.
Michael Bisping was defeated by Georges St-Pierre via rear-naked choke after a thrilling fight in the main event
The Canadian legend made a winning return to the octagon in Madison Square Garden after four years away from the sport
UFC president Dana White presented St-Pierre with his new belt, marking a remarkable comeback to the sport
The ill feeling between the pair in the build up was put to bed and both men showed their class in the aftermath
With the win, St-Pierre became one of just four men that have won UFC titles in two weight divisions.
The former welterweight champion claimed that he took the fight at a higher weight-class to challenge himself.
‘This is not my real weight, I did it for the challenge. There was a time in my career that I was fighting one challenger after another and I was too small, even too small for welterweight,’ St-Pierre said.
‘Now, I’m still welterweight size, but I decided to take a chance because I put on some muscle size. There was a point where it was too much, but now it’s at a point that it’s okay.
He added: ‘I was fighting at a bigger weight tonight and I wanted to prove it to all my fans.’
In a dominant first round, St-Pierre rocked the English champion on a number of occasions. At the end of the opening stanza, GSP wobbled Bisping with a superman punch, but ‘The Count’ managed to see the round out.
After scoring a takedown in the second round, St-Pierre was fed a feast of Bisping’s elbows, but when the fight returned to the feet he knocked the champion down with a left hand.
GSP was bloodied by his opponent and looked like he was slowing but managed to dig deep to pull out the victory
GSP landed some heavy strikes on Bisping and pressured the British fighter in the early rounds of their fight
The Montreal native claimed to be a better fighter now than when he stepped away from the sport and was proved correct
After attempting to finish the fight with elbows, GSP took Bisping’s back and secured a rear-naked choke that rendered him unconscious.
In the co-main event, TJ Dillashaw reclaimed the bantamweight championship title with a second round knockout of his former Team Alpha Male stable mate Cody Garbrandt.
After being caught at the very end of the first round with a massive overhand right, Dillashaw came back knocking ‘No Love’ down with a left high kick and after, a right hook, which he followed up with ground and pound to claim the finish.
The rivals exchanged words after the fight was stopped, with Garbrandt launching a tirade in the direction of Dillashaw’s corner.
Speaking after the fight, Dillashaw offered an olive branch to Garbrandt.
TJ Dillashaw (left) put on a brilliant performance to overcome Cody Garbrandt and reclaim the bantamweight title
Dillashaw was knocked down in the first round but came back to drop the champion and force the referee to intervene
Garbrandt was stunned by a head kick which spelled the beginning of the end for ‘No Love’ in the co-main event
The former team-mates finally fought after months of ill feeling and bad blood between the pair of them
‘He’s great,’ said Dillashaw. ‘He’s young, he’s gonna be back and I’m going to see him again. This ain’t the end for Cody Garbrandt.’
Dillashaw also called for a showdown with UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson.
‘Demetrious Johnson, I’m coming for you,’ said Dillashaw. ‘I’m breaking you. You’ve got the record – it’s fake. You should’ve been fighting me. You dodged me.
‘I’m coming for you, I’m getting that belt and I’m stopping your record.’
Rose Namajunas took just over two minutes to hand Joanna Jedrzejczyk her first professional loss and claim the UFC strawweight title.
Jedrzejczyk was on course to equal Ronda Rousey’s record for women’s UFC title defenses before ‘Thug Rose’ claimed the upset win.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk (left) suffered a shock defeat by Rose Namajunas who landed a massive left hook to drop her opponent
The Polish fighter tasted defeat for the first time in her career as ‘Thug’ became the new strawweight champion
Namajunas was understandably emotional as she was given her belt by UFC president Dana White in the octagon
Namajunas sent Jędrzejczyk down with a left hook just before the two-minute mark and poured on strikes before the Polish Muay Thai champion tapped to her onslaught.
‘There’s so much crap going on in the media news and stuff, I just want to try to use my gift of mixed martial arts to make the world a better place,’ Namajunas told Joe Rogan in her post-fight interview.
‘This belt don’t mean nothing, man!’ she shouted. ‘Just be a good person, that’s it. This is extra. Let’s just give each other extra hugs. I know we’re fighting, but this stuff is entertainment. After wards, it’s nothing,’ said the newly crowned champion.
Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson took a decision win over Jorge Masvidal with a striking clinic.
Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (right) outclassed Jorge Masvidal to earn a unanimous decision victory
The sport karate proponent proved too elusive for ‘Gamebred’ to hit as he kept his distance and scored with shots when presented with a gap. In the second round, Thompson summed up his dominance in the striking exchanges when he dipped out of the way of the oncoming Masvidal and sent him down with a crisp right hand.
Paulo Costa put on the most impressive display of his undefeated career when he scored a second round knockout victory over former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks chased the fight for the opening round as ‘The Eraser’ pummeled his body with leg kicks and landed heavy straight punches. Although Hendricks managed to weather the storm in the first, Costa put him down with two brutal uppercuts in the second round to move to 11-0.
Paulo Costa (left) remained unbeaten and impressed by dominating Johny ‘Big Rig’ Hendricks early on the card
James Vick called for a main event slot in Austin Texas for UFC’s recently announced Feb. 8 card with his knockout win over Joe Duffy.
The Irishman gave a good account of himself over the first two rounds, but the towering Texan rocked him with a big right uppercut just before the final bell in the second.
Vick followed up the uppercut with some ground and pound and although Duffy briefly appeared to retain guard, the referee stepped in and stopped the action just before the claxon sounded for the end of the round.
James Vick (left) looked massive for the lightweight division and overcame Joe Duffy so should move up the rankings
England’s Marc Godbeer won his heavyweight bout against Walt Harris by disqualification. After Walt Harris landed a low blow on the Brit in the second round, the referee tried to bring a stop to action.
Despite the referee appearing to clearly touch Harris in an effort to stop the fight, he landed an illegal head kick on Godbeer. With Godbeer unable to continue, he was handed a disqualification win.