There is just so much to love about UFC 217 that we need another heaping spoonful of odds and predictions. Even though I covered the main events (Bisping vs. GSP and Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw) in my previous article (see link above), there are two other important — and intensely intriguing — fights on the card.
First, former karate champ Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson — who’s already fallen short in two title chances — is looking to kick his way back up the welterweight ladder against a very game and often overlooked Jorge Masvidal.
Also on the main card is the women’s strawweight title fight between dominant champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk and tough-as-nails challenger Rose Namajunas. Both ladies love to throw leather, but can Namajunas really be the kryptonite to Jedrzejczyk’s aura of invincibility?
Let’s continue our predictive ways and pick the winners for these two beauty bouts. When you’re ready to lay some money down, head over to one of our trusted sportsbooks to get the best odds and bonuses.
UFC 217 ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
Stephen Thompson (-150) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+130)
Thompson’s flashy karate versus Masvidal’s crisp boxing: on paper, this looks like one of the best fights on a stacked card.
Thompson (13-2-1) is one of the sport’s best strikers, but hasn’t won a fight since 2016. Mind you the 34-year-old was busy battling with current welterweight champ Tyron Woodley at UFC 205 (draw) and UFC 209 (loss). His setback at 209 was one of the least entertaining fights in UFC history, but you can blame the champ for that.
Masvidal (32-12) has been dealing with his own special kind of inconsistency. Just when you think the 32-year-old has finally taken three steps forward, he trips, falls and winds up back at square one again. He has beaten some big names in his career, but Masvidal always seems to be one win away from really establishing himself as a welterweight contender.
“Wonderboy” Thompson can end a fight with his kicks or his punches and has exceptional cardio. However, he’s going to have to avoid getting sucked into Masvidal’s brawling tendencies. There are also takedowns to be worried about here. Masvidal averages 1.83 takedowns with an accuracy of 61.1%, while Thompson rarely tries to take the fight to the mat. This could be a big difference maker.
Despite sporting an ugly 12 losses on his resume, the durable Masvidal has only been knocked out once and this is a guy who has fought some killers. Expect this fight to go the distance and be decided by the judges.
I would understand taking the upset here as Masvidal is a wily veteran who could come up with a great game plan, but Thompson has shown he can stuff takedown attempts and his unorthodox striking and patience that should get him the win. He’s the better value even at -150.
Winner: Stephen Thompson (-150)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c) (-400) vs. Rose Namajunas (+275) — UFC Strawweight Championship
People wondered what would happen to women’s MMA once Ronda Rousey was no more, and the answer is pretty simple: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0).
Sure, she might be lighter in weight, but she may go down as one of the greatest champions ever — male or female — and she is at her peak right now.
Jedrzejczyk comes by her undefeated record honestly; she basically can’t be taken down nor can anyone out-strike her, plain and simple. She has defended her title five times with little to no adversity, and the UFC matchmakers are running out of opponents who could maybe, just maybe, give her a real test.
Unfortunately, Rose Namajunas isn’t that woman.
Don’t get me wrong, Namajunas is one of the top ladies in the strawweight division. This is a fighter who took out Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson so she definitely has all the tools. But as the saying goes, you need the right tool for the job, and Namajunas will feel like she’s trying to build a skyscraper with an Allen key when she steps in the ring with Jedrzejczyk.
Namajunas’ best chance to pull the upset is to try to set up takedowns and get the fight to the mat. That’s where “Thug Rose” has had the bulk of her success, with 86% of her wins coming via submission.
Styles make fights and if Namajunas can put the pressure on and maybe for the first time put Jedrzejczyk in an uncomfortable position, we could see a massive upset. But we have seen this movie before. Submission experts like Claudia Gadelha and even Jessica Penne have all tried the same game-plan and failed, winding up nothing more than notches on the champ’s belt.
There is no logical reason to bet against Jedrzejczyk in this fight. She is just too dominant.
Winner: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (-400)