UFC 225 Preview and Predictions
(C)Robert Whitaker vs. (1)Yoel Romero for UFC middleweight championship
(This was written before Romero failed to make weight)
Robert Whitaker will return to action for the first time since July 2017 against a familiar opponent in Yoel Romero.
The first time these two men fought I didn’t know what to expect, and to be quite honest I don’t know now what to expect this go around either. The first fight was contested mostly on the feet in no small part due to the incredible take down defense displayed by Robert Whitaker. It should be noted that Yoel Romero is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and Whitaker had no prior wrestling experience before starting MMA.
Something else to remember is that Whitaker suffered a knee injury early in the fight that certainly hindered his performance though it was not evident during the actual fight.
Keeping all of this in mind it should also be mentioned that Romero was 40 years old at the time of the first fight and will be 41 for the second. Most fighters are declining by the age of 40 and most are long retired by 41, yet Romero is about to fight for the world title (or not) and has a very real chance of winning even if it will be an up-hill battle. Both are very capable on the feet though I would give the edge in power to Romero, and the edge in technique to Whitaker. Romero also probably has more potential to land a high light reel type of strike, but that ability could fade as the fight progresses while Whitaker should remain dangerous throughout the fight.
The grappling department is a different story and though Romero is more decorated, it was Whitaker who controlled the grappling in the first fight. If he can do that again his chances of winning only improve. Taking all of that into account I think that we will see a similar fight to the first with Whitaker winning a decision and retaining his championship.
Prediction: Robert Whitaker over Yoel Romero via decision
Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington for Interim UFC Welterweight Championship
Rafael Dos Anjos has a chance to become just the fourth man to win a championship in two different weight classes and he also has a chance to avenge the honor of his country in the process. Not a bad potential payoff for a night’s work.
Colby Covington has a chance to back up some of the trash talk that he has been spewing and silence some of his many detractors.
On paper it would seem that RDA will probably have the advantage on the feet. His striking is more refined, diverse, and powerful. His leg kicks could be a real problem for Covington if he can’t figure out a way to stop them.
Without meaning any offense towards any of his former opponents it has to be mentioned that Covington has never faced a guy as skilled on the feet as RDA is. Covington will probably try to use his wrestling to get the fight to a position where he is comfortable, but the problem is that RDA is dangerous from everywhere. Taking him down is a dangerous game but Covington was able that show against Damian Maia that he can handle himself on the ground if he can keep himself in a good position.
Neither guy has a cardio problem, and both guys have looked great in recent performances and seem to be improving with each fight, but something has to give. If Covington can control the fight with his wrestling he should win and maybe he will get his chance to give the interim belt to Donald Trump, but it seems unlikely.
Prediction: Rafael Dos Anjos over Colby Covington via submission
Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson
In this fight we have a former UFC bantamweight champion in Holly Holm fighting Megan Anderson who has managed to garner a bit of hype despite having never competed in the UFC.
Anderson has been mentioned as a potential opponent for Cris Cyborg but first will have to find a way past for Holm, a former boxing champion, and one of the more experienced fighters in the division.
This is a fight between two people who are in completely different stages of their careers, but it remains to be seen if Anderson has reached the point where she can compete against someone of Holm’s level. She has looked good in Invicta FC in the past and has shown that she has power.
If Holm can avoid that power she should be able to win a decision here.
Prediction: Holly Holm over Megan Anderson via decision
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
Somehow and by someway Andrei Arlovski is still fighting in 2018, and not only that, but he is actually coming off two straight wins. He has managed to turn back the clock time and time again and has somehow managed to salvage his career despite enduring two different five fight losing streaks. He is a former UFC heavyweight champion, and one of the more experienced fighters in the divisions history.
Tai Tuivasa is the exact opposite in many ways. He has just 7 fights and is only 25 years old. An interesting thing to note is that Tai Tuivasa was around 12 years old when Arlovski won the title.
This will probably be a kickboxing match and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see an attempt from either guy to get this fight to the ground. Arlovski has always possessed incredible speed, power, and precision but he just hasn’t been quite the same as of late. Tuivasa is a much younger fighter with good power and professional experience in kickboxing and boxing.
Despite the age and experience difference Tuivasa has proven himself to be a more than adept striker and he should be able to get the job done against the future hall of famer.
Prediction: Tai Tuivasa over Andrei Arlovski via KO
CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
Well here it is. The reason we’re all here. I’m kidding but this fight is actually interesting for many reasons.
For starters neither guy should be fighting on a UFC main card but from a business stand point it makes total sense.
Love it or hate it CM Punk will bring eyes to a PPV that is fine without him but will certainly see a boost with him. This will probably be the last fight for Punk regardless of the outcome and the same can probably be said for Jackson. Punk has been an interesting story but his bread and butter is pro wrestling and the chances of him ever becoming a contender is zero. Anything beyond this seems a bit pointless.
Still though I am interested to see if Punk has improved and it would certainly be interesting to see him pick up a win.
It’s hard to know what to expect here but I think that Jackson is probably a bit more skilled and he does have more competition experience even if it isn’t by much. I don’t think this fight will stay on the feet for long and it could get ugly, but I think Punk will win a decision.
Punk trains with a good camp and we have been led to believe that he has been putting in the time. I don’t know anything about Jacksons training habits, but I do know that he has competed in boxing and he will probably take this fight seriously just because it’s a big opportunity for him. Still though I’ll go with Punk, but I will fully admit that I was a huge fan of his pro wrestling days so maybe I am biased.
Prediction: CM Punk over Mike Jackson via unanimous/majority decision
Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
Prediction: Overeem over Blaydes via TKO
Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
Prediction: Gadelha over Esparza via submission
Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
Prediction: Mirsad Bektic over Ricardo Lamas via KO
Rashad Coulter vs. Chris De La Rocha
Prediction: Coulter over De La Rocha via KO
Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
Prediction: Smith over Evans via decision
Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
Prediction: Benavidez over Pettis via decision
Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
Prediction: Oliveira over Guida via submission
Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige
Prediction: Santiago over Ige via Decision