Georges St-Pierre (-130) vs Michael Bisping (+100)
The long-awaited return of the greatest welterweight of all time is finally here! After three years outside of the octagon, Georges St-Pierre (25-2) has finally reached an agreement with the UFC and will fight sometime in late-2017.
GSP stripped the welterweight title from Matt Hughes in 2006, briefly lost it to Matt Serra in 2007, but then avenged that loss in 2008 and went onto defended the belt nine times before leaving the UFC in 2013, citing personal issues. He left as the best welterweight of all time, and if any of the current welterweights want to be seen as the true champion of the division, they’ll have to go through him first.
But St-Pierre’s next opponent won’t be Tyron Woodley nor Stephen Thompson … nor any welterweight. It will be current middleweight champion Michael Bisping (30-7), giving GSP a title shot in his first ever fight at 185 pounds.
Bisping spent most of his career as an MMA journeyman with a checkered record. But after middleweight contender Chris Weidman pulled out of a title shot against Luke Rockhold last June, Bisping stepped up to the fight on just 17 days’ notice. Against all odds, he slayed Rockhold in the first round and claimed the middleweight title. He’s defended the belt once, a unanimous decision over an aging Dan Henderson in October.
After a long career, this is the big payday the 38-year-old Bisping has been waiting for. He might want to be careful what he wishes for. The bookmakers favor St-Pierre, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA history, despite his long lay off and the fact he’s stepping up in weight.
I’m not so sure GSP should be the favorite. His dominance over the welterweight division was largely due to his long reach and his takedown ability. Bisping has a reach comparable to GSP, and his takedown defense is phenomenal. Add three years of ring rust to that, and all of a sudden things don’t look too bad for Bisping.
With 20 victories in the octagon, Bisping holds the record for the most UFC wins. Coincidentally, GSP is second with 19. A win for GSP would make a strong case for him being the greatest of all time. But there’s a lot to be uncertain about coming into the fight. St-Pierre has never fought at middleweight before, and after three years of leave, now may not be the best time to make the jump.
Pick: Michael Bisping (+100)
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