Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square Garden’

What four-year layoff?

Georges St-Pierre made a triumphant return in his first fight since November 2013 at Saturday’s UFC 217, where he put Michael Bisping to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the third round of the main event to win the middleweight crown at Madison Square Garden.

In addition to becoming only the fourth two-division champion in promotional history on a night that saw three new champions crowned, the former welterweight king tied Bisping for the most wins in UFC history with 20, and extended the winning run he’d put on hold to a baker’s dozen fights. Bisping, on the other hand, graciously handled the second submission loss of his 38-fight career – this, after relentlessly trashing St-Pierre in the lead-up to the fight – and maintained he wouldn’t be hanging up his gloves just yet during his postfight interview.

St-Pierre relinquished the welterweight strap following a close split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, and looked like his well-rounded self in a fight he and Bisping had delayed for months due to injury, after GSP had agreed to return to the Octagon on a four-fight deal early this year.

The 36-year-old took the center of the cage and pumped his vaunted jab as Bisping appeared uncharacteristically gun shy in Round 1, which he closed with a Superman jab and a wheel kick that didn’t inflict much damage, but had the Brit retreating and those in attendance clutching their hearts out of sheer nostalgia.

While GSP managed to take Bisping down to the mat in each of the first two frames, the defending champ refused to stay pinned there and ended the second stanza strong as he settled into a rhythm on the feet.

An apparently tiring St-Pierre opened the third with a takedown, only for Bisping to cut him open with elbows from his back that had the Quebec native’s head dripping crimson. But after Bisping fought his way up to his feet, GSP sent him back to the canvas – this time with a counter left hook – and followed up with his patented ground-and-pound. The Brit gave up his back while trying to defend the onslaught, only for St-Pierre to slap on a rear-naked choke that sent him to dreamland and crowned GSP middleweight king at the 4:23 mark.

Saturday’s defeat snapped a five-fight win streak for Bisping, whose reign as the UFC’s first British champion ends with one successful title defense over Dan Henderson.

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Georges St-Pierre has heard it all before.

The former welterweight king has fielded a bevy of insults from UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping – whom he’ll face at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 – but as he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of “The MMA Hour,” St-Pierre believes Bisping’s incessant belittlement of his patented takedown-heavy style betrays a fear of it.

“He’s playing always the same song. He’s terrified of me wrestling him. Terrified,” St-Pierre said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “In every interview he does, he’s begging me to stand and bang with him. In every interview. … I mean, if you don’t know the ground (game), you shouldn’t be in MMA. You should be in kickboxing.

“Fighting on the ground is part of the game, and he’s terrified. So he wants me to be like, ‘Oh, OK, I’m going to stand and bang with you.'”

St-Pierre’s age (36) and four-year layoff have raised endless speculation on how much fight he has left and what he’ll bring to the Octagon in his return. But he’s sure he’ll raise eyebrows and drop jaws come fight night – for all the right reasons.

“I’m much confident in this than I was before. I trained a lot of (aspects in my game) in the four years. People say you can’t reinvent yourself, but I’m going to prove that you can, and I’m going to prove it to everybody. I’m not the same guy that I was before, the last time. I have a lot more tools … and I’m specialized in different things. I have a lot of new tricks that I’m going to bring to the game.”

As for how he intends to make the brash Brit eat his words, St-Pierre all but guaranteed he’ll have gotten his hand raised within the distance – something he hasn’t done since taking his rematch with BJ Penn at UFC 94 well over eight years ago.

“I’m going to finish him, that’s what I believe. Either a knockout or submission.”

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Michael Bisping’s days in 4-ounce gloves are numbered.

In a Monday appearance on “The MMA Hour,” the UFC middleweight champion revealed his upcoming date with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 might be his last.

“There’s a possibility this might be my last fight. I don’t know if I’ll ever fight again after this,” Bisping said. “What a way to go out if it is.

“I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll see what the future holds. There’s a possibility, yeah. This may be my last fight, so if anyone wants to see Michael Bisping get knocked out, this is your last chance to do it, guys.”

The 38-year-old Brit won the title with a first-round KO of Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, a decade into his promotional stint and a dozen years into his 37-fight career after battling injuries and rebounding from several failed attempts to earn a title shot. In January, he publicly mulled hanging up his gloves following two more wins, but going out on top against the greatest welterweight of all time – at Madison Square Garden, no less – is not outside the realm of possibility.

“I’ve done it for so long. I’ve done it for so long now, and there’s other things to do in life,” Bisping said. “I mean, I still love this, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t do it forever. You can’t do it forever, and Georges should’ve stayed retired. He should’ve retired as a champion. I’m going to beat Georges and I’ll retire as a champion – maybe – I haven’t made my mind up on that yet. It depends, if there’s enough money involved, maybe I’ll stick around, but as of right now, I don’t know.”

Bisping said his inner circle has been urging him to retire for some time. With a regular gig on the UFC’s FOX Sports 1 desk and a career on both the big and small screen, he’s far better prepared for post-Octagon life than most, although he maintained retiring with a win at MSG would maximize those revenue streams.

He welcomes St-Pierre to the middleweight division Nov. 4 in the main event of a star-studded UFC 217.

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Joanna Champion got her wish.

The UFC announced Tuesday that the women’s strawweight champion will defend her title at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York, as she had hoped, where she will take on No. 3-ranked Rose Namajunas.

After her successful title defense against Jessica Andrade in May, Jedrzejczyk said she wanted her next fight to come at the famed New York arena.

Jedrzejczyk is a sparkling 14-0 and has defended her title five times.

She may meet her toughest match in Namajunas, however. “Thug Rose” is coming off a second-round submission of Michelle Waterson at UFC Fight Night in April. She has won four of her last five bouts.

Her last defeat came at UFC 201 in July 2016 against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, an opponent Jedrzejczyk defeated at UFC 205 via unanimous decision.

The fight joins a loaded UFC 217 card, which also features a middleweight title bout between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre.

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Not only is the middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre back on, both parties have agreed to the fight and it’s scheduled for UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com reports, citing sources.

The fight has been on and off again since late February. UFC president Dana White declared the matchup dead in early July and targeted welterweight titleholder Tyron Woodley as GSP’s next opponent, but after Woodley failed to impress Saturday at UFC 214, White gave the green light to GSP-Bisping.

Bisping hasn’t fought since defeating Dan Henderson in his first title defense at UFC 204 in October of last year. St-Pierre’s last time in the Octagon was in November 2013 when he defended his welterweight title against Johny Hendricks.

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Source: Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard

On episode 51 of Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, current Impact Wrestling on-air authority figure and pro wrestling podcaster Bruce Prichard talked about WINC alum Vince Russo’s WWE run. Notably, Prichard talked about Russo advocating for Triple H, the Madison Square Garden Curtain Call, Triple H and Chyna being a “package deal” behind-the-scenes, who wanted The New Age Outlaws in D-Generation X, and who came up with WWE “attitude”.

According to Prichard, Russo was the biggest advocate for Triple H early on while Vince McMahon and Jim Cornette used to say that ‘The Game’ was a midcarder at best.

“I do remember Corny and Vince McMahon saying that Triple H would be a midcard guy at best early on in his [pro wrestling] career and Russo was a huge proponent of Triple H. And I dare say that without Russo at the helm at the time, Hunter probably would not have gotten the breaks that he got at the time.”

Prichard continued, “yeah, [Russo was Triple H’s biggest advocate at the time] and then Vince McMahon became, but Hunter was one of those guys who was always around, always asking questions, and wanting to be a part of whatever he could do to learn. I liked Hunter because I always liked his attitude, just willing to do whatever it took to learn the [pro wrestling] business, but Russo was definitely pushing Hunter and had an awful lot of ideas for him.”

On the subject of the MSG Curtain Call, Prichard claimed that everyone was offended, not just him and Cornette, as was suggested by podcast co-host Conrad Thompson from reading excerpts of Russo’s own writings.

“It was simply a feeling of what they did being disrespectful to Vince [McMahon], being disrespectful to the memory of Vince’s dad doing it in the Garden, our home. It was something that hadn’t been done before and something everybody was upset about, not just me, not just Cornette, but Vince McMahon, pretty much every one of the boys who wasn’t involved in the Curtain Call.”

Moreover, Prichard stated that Triple H was punished in an upfront way for the Curtain Call and explained that McMahon decided not to go with Triple H for King Of The Ring because The Chairman did not feel like he could trust ‘The King Of Kings’.

“Hunter was punished and he was considered for King Of The Ring, but Vince didn’t feel like he could trust him at that point in time and he wanted Hunter to prove himself and Hunter did.”

During the podcast, Prichard confirmed Russo’s assertion that dealing with either Triple H or Chyna meant dealing with both of them, calling the pair a “package deal”.

“Probably so [Triple H had to be present for Chyna’s creative meetings with Russo] from his vantage point pitching stuff. Whatever Joanie was doing, she was with Hunter, so I’m sure Hunter wanted to be there. But they were also an item at the time, so they did everything together. Whenever I’d call either one of them, the other was usually there. It was kind of a team decision because they were a package deal.”

Another rumor Prichard attempted to dispel involved D-Generation X. Pro wrestling rumor and innuendo purports that ‘The Road Dogg’ Jesse James and ‘The Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn were not picked by Triple H and Shawn Michaels to join the group. Prichard recalled that Michaels wanted The New Age Outlaws for the stable.

“The guy that brought Billy [Gunn] and Road Dogg to Vince [McMahon]’s attention was Shawn Michaels who saw those two guys. They were singles. One was a Rockabilly and then Jesse James… It was Shawn Michaels who brought them to Vince and wanted them to be a part of DX and felt that they would be a great team together.”

Finally, Prichard credited McMahon with conceiving of the ‘attitude’ concept after fining Shawn Michaels for his vulgar and explicit antics.

“That’s where Vince McMahon coined the phrase ‘attitude’ because Shawn, in his defense, was like, ‘because I’ve got attitude, you’re going to fine me, blah, blah, blah?’ And that’s where Vince, I’ll never forget, Vince came back to us and said, ‘that’s attitude! That’s what we need. We need more attitude!'”

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The New York Rangers plan to pay tribute to a legendary former Blueshirt.

Jean Ratelle’s iconic No. 19 will be lifted to the rafters of Madison Square Garden next season, the club announced Saturday.

The 76-year-old was named to the NHL’s list of its 100 greatest players and took part in the All-Star festivities in Los Angeles last month.

Ratelle ranks second in franchise history with 336 goals, and third with 817 points.

His 491 career goals combined with the Rangers and the Boston Bruins rank 47th on the NHL’s all-time list.

Ratelle was a two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner who spent parts of 16 seasons with the Rangers.

He was also a member of Canada’s victorious 1972 Summit Series squad and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.