This week the UFC heads to NYC and Madison Square Garden for UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre in what is destined to be a spectacular night of fights.
The twelve fight card boasts plenty of big names and top contenders, featuring three title fights and headlined by the return of Georges “Rush” St. Pierre against Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping. TigerLyfe Times will be providing previews and predictions for the entire UFC 217 card, with separate articles covering the seven preliminary bouts and the five fight Pay-Per-View Main Card. First bout starts Saturday night:
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims 6:30PM/ET
Fox Sports 1 Prelims 8:00PM/ET
PPV Main Card 10:00PM/ET
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims
Aiemann Zahabi (+105 ) vs. Ricardo Ramos (-125)
Top Bantamweight prospects Aiemann Zahabi (7-0-0) and Ricardo Ramos (10-1-0) will clash in the first bout on the UFC 217 fight card. Aiemann is the younger brother of Firas Zahabi, the world renowned head coach of Tristar Gym, which is widely regarded as Canada’s premiere mixed martial arts training facility. Zahabi was successful in his UFC debut in February, earning a unanimous decision win over Reginaldo Vieira. Ramos was also successful in his UFC debut this year, picking up an unanimous decision against Michinori Tanaka. This fight could go either way. However, I am leaning towards the well rounded and gritty Ricardo Ramos to get the job done.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Ramos via Second Round Submission
Ion Cutelaba (-500) vs. Michael Oleksiejczuk (+400)
Ion “the Hulk” Cutelaba (13-3-0, 1NC), who often paints his upper torso and face as the Incredible Hulk for the ceremonial weigh-ins, is set to take on Michael Oleksiejczuk (12-2-0) in a Light Heavyweight match up. Riding a nine fight win streak, Michael “Lord” Oleksiejczuk is all set to make his UFC debut at the world’s most famous sports arena. Cutelaba has alternated wins and losses in his four fights inside the Octagon, so I am a little surprised to see “the Hulk” as such a large favorite. Cutelaba throws every punch with fight ending intentions and I expect Cutelaba to connect early against Oleksiejczuk, who may face some jitters making his debut on such a big stage.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Cutelaba via First Round KO
#9 Aleksei Oleinik (+320) vs. #12 Curtis Blaydes (-420)
Hard hitting Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (7-1-0) faces the unenviable task o taking on Aleksei”the Boa Constrictor” Oleinik (52-10-1). Six of Blaydes’ seven professional wins have come by way of knockout, and I believe if he is to get his hand raised Saturday over Oleinik, a knockout will be his most likely path to victory. At age forty, Oleinik will be fourteen years the senior to Curtis Blaydes, who is twenty six. But with age comes experience. Oleinik has over sixty professional MMA bouts, holds wins over Mirko Cro Cop and Jeff Monson, and has won twelve of his last thirteen fights (4-1 UFC). Oleinik looked awesome in his stoppage win against Travis Browne in his last bout, and will find himself ranked among the Heavyweight elite if he pulls off the upset over Blaydes. I am going tol roll the dice on the “Boa Constrictor”
Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Oleinik via Second Round Submission
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Mickey Gall (+100) vs. Randy Brown (-120)
In the “Lookin’ for a Fight” championship, Welterweight prospects Mickey Gall (4-0-0) and Randy “Rude Boy” Brown (9-2-0) will duel to determine who is the top talent to emerge from Dana White’s amateur fight promotion. I am Mickey Gall fan, I am not gonna lie. The young man is tough, confident, and energized. All four of Gall’s professional wins have come via rear-naked choke. After picking up back to back finishes over Brian Camozzi and Erick Montano, Brown dropped a unanimous decision to Belal Muhammad in his last bout earlier this year in Brooklyn at UFC 208. I have been very impressed with Gall’s ground game, and I believe Mickey will take the fight to the mat, and wear Brown down before he locks in his rear-naked finish.
Crystal Ball Prediction🔮: Gall via Third Round Submission
#7 Corey Anderson (+140) vs. #6 Ovince Saint Prieux (-160)
Corey Anderson (10-3-0) has a great opportunity to fight in front of his home crowd and prove that he is a real contender at Light Heavyweight,as he takes on former Title challenger Ovince Saint Prieux (21-10-0) on short notice after his original opponent, Patrick Cummins,was forced to withdraw due to injury. OSP made light work of Yushin Okami in his last bout, executing his third career Von Flue choke in the First Round. Anderson, who trains out of Jersey along side Frankie Edgar and company, also won the Ultimate Fighter in 2014. Corey will be looking to get back into the win column, after suffering a first round knockout loss to “the Posterboy” Jimi Manuwa in his last fight. While there may be a lot of pressure on Anderson to get the W, I think Corey will rise tothe occasion and grind out a decision over Saint Prieux.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Anderson via Decision
Walt Harris (-310) vs. Mark Godbeer (+260)
Mark Godbeer (12-3-0) and Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris (10-6-0) are set to clash in our second heavyweight match up. Stepping up to face Fabricio Werdum on hours notice after a very late Derrick Lewis withdrawal at UFC 216, and although he suffered a quick submission loss, Walt Harris demonstrated to both the fans and UFC brass,that he is willing to throw down with anyone, even one of the greatest Heavyweights of all time, at any moment. Dana White loves that kind of stuff. Harris was originally scheduled to fight Godbeer last month, but due to the change in plans, Harris was bumped to the Main Card and Godbeer was paid his show and win money for being a good sport and a team player, preserving a key cog of the UFC 216 PPV Main Card. A member of the Scottish Hit Squad, Godbeer has won four of his last five, including a decision over Daniel Spitz at UFC 209 in his last bout. Both fighters have tremendous knockout power, and I do not see this fight being left up to the judges. All ten of “The Big Ticket’s” professional victories have come by way of knockout, I see that trend continuing.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Harris via Second Round KO
Joe Duffy (-190) vs. James Vick (+165)
“Irish” Joe Duffy (16-2-0) takes on “The Texecutioner” James Vick (11-1-0) in the featured FS1 preliminary bout. Both Lightweights are tremendously talented, and okay, I understand how tough and deep the 155lbs division is, but how the heck are neither of these studs ranked in the top 15. I guarantee the winner of this bout will definitely breakthrough with a convincing performance, but who is going to come out on top? After suffering his first professional loss at UFC 199 to Beneil Dariush, James Vick has since looked fantastic in his stoppage wins over Abel Trujillo and Marco Polo Reyes. And following his first loss inside the Octagon to Dustin Poirier, Joe Duffy (4-1 UFC) has strung together consecutive victories over Reza Madadi and Mitch Clarke. This duelhas all the fixings to potentially be a Fight of the Night contender, and I don’t think either of these two will disappoint. I am going with Vick by submission.
Crystal Ball Prediction 🔮: Vick via Second Round Submission
Thanks to MetroPCS, I will be in attendance at MSG on Saturday!!! I must say that I am pretty psyched for the rest of the fight week festivities and I am looking forward to this ridiculously stacked card. As always, share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below, make sure you check out our UFC 217 Main Card Preview and Predictions and enjoy the fights!!👊🏻