Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre: Betting Odds and Fight Breakdown

On November 4, the UFC will take over New York City’s hallowed Madison Square Garden with UFC 217, arguably the most stacked fight card of the year.

UFC 217 will be anchored by a trio of title fights. The first will occur at strawweight, where champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk will attempt to defend her title opposite Rose Namajunas. The second will occur at bantamweight, where champ Cody Garbrandt will seek to defend his title against former titleholder and arch rival TJ Dillashaw. The third title fight on the bill, which occupies the main event spot, will occur at middleweight, where reigning champion Michael Bisping (30-7) will attempt to defend his title against returning former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre (25-2).

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So, who wins this fight? Well, according to the current betting line, the W should go to St-Pierre—though this is far from a certain outcome.

Odds: Michael Bisping (+105) vs. Georges St-Pierre (-135)

Image Via OddShark

As you can see, St-Pierre has been identified as a slight betting favourite, while Bisping is an ever-so-minor underdog. Whoever wins, the oddsmakers are confident it’ll be a decision, or perhaps a (T)KO.

While these odds reflect the immense talent and capability of the two fighters, I believe they are more reflective of the mystery surrounding Georges St-Pierre. The simple fact is that we just don’t know how he’s going to look in the cage on November 4, which makes it very difficult to confidently pick for or against him.

St-Pierre, of course, was once regarded as one of the best fighters on earth, riding shoulder-to-shoulder with Anderson Silva on pretty much every credible pound-for-pound list out there. The St-Pierre that steps onto the canvas with Michael Bisping at UFC 217, however, will not be the seemingly unbeatable champion who defended the welterweight title nine straight times between 2008 and 2013. Instead, we’ll be dealing with a 36-year-old who has not fought in some four years, and who seemed to be showing the signs of a fighter on the decline in his last fight, a razor close decision win over Johny Hendricks.

Furthermore, St-Pierre won’t be returning to anything close to a warmup fight. Instead, he’ll be taking on the reigning UFC middleweight champion: a man who is much larger than he is, a man who has recently been much more active than he has been, and one of the few men who can match him in the big-stage experience department.

There are people out there who believe that St-Pierre, one of the greatest fighters ever, will walk through Bisping, a fighter who is as famous for his career-joggling losses as he is for his late-career title win. The perception among these people seems to be that St-Pierre will able able to take Bisping down and bully him to a decision or stoppage.

St-Pierre seems to think this is a possibility too, telling Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour that Bisping is “terrified” of a wrestling match.

“He’s playing always the same song. He’s terrified of me wrestling him. Terrified,” St-Pierre said. “In every interview he does, he’s begging me to stand and bang with him.”

While St-Pierre was able to out-wrestle countless welterweights, ranging from Nick Diaz to Carlos Condit to Thiago Alves, however, it’s far from certain that he’ll be able to do so against Bisping.

Not only is Bisping (a former light heavyweight) going to be the bigger, stronger man in the cage, but he’s also coped amazingly well with high-level MMA wrestlers in the past. When considering Bisping’s ability to stop St-Pierre’s vaunted double-leg takedowns (and to return to his feet if he’s taken down), I encourage you to watch his 2012 fight with Chael Sonnen.

Sonnen is one of the most efficient and relentless wrestlers in UFC middleweight history. And while a quick look at his record reveals that he beat Bisping when they fought in 2012, capturing a unanimous decision, this verdict doesn’t tell the story. In the eyes of many fans, Bisping should have won the judges’ decision against Sonnen. More important, however, is the fact that Bisping was able to stop 3 of Sonnen’s 7 attempted takedowns, and returned to his feet quite quickly every time he was taken down.

Sure, Bisping has lost more decisively to wrestlers like Tim Kennedy, but he is far, far removed from being a weak defensive wrestler himself. Though it’s not what he’s known for, he’s hung in there with some of the finest grapplers in MMA, and could well be able to do so with the much-smaller Georges St-Pierre. Factor in St-Pierre’s long layoff, and the fact that he looked extremely human in his most recent fight, and you start to understand why the odds for this fight are so close.

The simple fact here is Michael Bisping is way better at fighting than many people give him credit for, and after four years on the sidelines, we just don’t know how good Georges St-Pierre is anymore. Needless to say, there’s a lot to consider if you’re planning on betting on this fight. Think hard, watch the lines (they’ve been moody), and strike when and where you feel confident.

GET YOUR 5/1 TREBLE ON THE BISPING VS ST PIERRE FIGHT BELOW:

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Featured image courtesy UFC

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