“In the aftermath of any big fight card, hyperbole is certain. It’s as inevitable as a George St. Pierre victory or MMA’s capacity to entertain and surprise us. Yet in the wake of UFC 217 on Saturday, it is no exaggeration to say that it was easily the best card of the year and one of the most memorable shows in a long, long time.
There was a lot to like about the undercard, from Ricardo Lucas Ramos’ spinning elbow knockout to Ovince St. Preux’s lights-out head kick, but the true highlights belonged to the three title fights at the top of the card. Only two other UFC events have ever had three title fights on the same card: UFC 33 and UFC 205. At UFC 33, often considered one of the worst cards in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, both Tito Ortiz and Jens Pulver retained their titles while Dave Menne won the inaugural middleweight belt. At UFC 205, the company’s first event at Madison Square Garden and one of the most memorable shows in recent memory, two of the three champions retained their titles. Then, at UFC 217, all three titles switched hands. That alone made the event special, but more than the mere swapping of belts, the ways in which the fights went down made UFC 217 truly great…”