It’s a new year, so Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of MMA in 2017. Throughout the next few weeks, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
When New York finally sanctioned mixed martial events in 2015, it was only a matter of time before the Octagon found its way to “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” So far, the UFC is two-for-two in events held at Madison Square Garden.
The UFC’s first card at MSG, UFC 205, not only saw a historic moment when UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor became a champion in two weight classes, it was also the Combat Press 2016 “Event of the Year.” The UFC is also two-for-two with that award, as UFC 217 at MSG in November of last year is the Combat Press 2017 “Event of the Year.”
The card once again boasted three title fights, with the biggest one featuring the return of former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Competing at middleweight for the first time in his career, GSP choked out reigning middleweight champion Michael Bisping to capture the gold. That wasn’t the only title change at UFC 217, however.
The other two titles on the line night also changed hands, as 2017 “Fighter of the Year” Rose Namajunas pulled off the 2017 “Upset of the Year” when she knocked out reigning UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the first round. T.J. Dillashaw also appeared to put his feud with his former Team Alpha Male teammates to rest when he finished UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt to become a two-time champion.
UFC 217 also saw impressive performances and finishes from fighters like Curtis Blaydes, Ovince St. Preux, James Vick, Paulo Costa and Stephen Thompson. Will the UFC go three-for-three with great pay-per-views at MSG in 2018? There is little reason to believe they won’t.
Other finalists: UFC 218
Make sure you check out the rest of the Combat Press 2017 MMA Award winners.