Cole Henry, MMATorch Contributor

Robert Whittaker (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today)

With UFC 225 in the books, it is time to look a ahead at what’s next for every fighter on the card.

UFC 225 Fights to Make Next

Robert Whitaker def. Yoel Romero (Split Decision)

The memory of Yoel Romero missing weight was erased by the end of the third round Saturday night. The two engaged in a back and forth fight that managed to top the first time these two competed. Whitaker took his time in the early rounds and then weathered the mighty storm in the later rounds in route to a close but deserved decision win.

This makes two straight victories over Romero for Whitaker, so he will probably get a break before a third potential fight with the Cuban. The list of contenders in the division is not very long right now especially with the news that Luke Rockhold is planning a move to light heavyweight. Kelvin Gastelum is certainly in the discussion but his loss to Chris Weidman could mean that he is in line behind the former champion.

Fight to make next: Robert Whitaker vs. Chris Weidman for UFC middleweight championship

Yoel Romero has missed weight in two straight title fights which is a disappointment. He is probably the second-best fighter in the division and could realistically get another shot at Whitaker despite the losses, but it will take some work.

He will have to prove he can successfully make the weight before he can expect another shot. Kelvin Gastelum has said he will wait for a title shot but his feelings could change if Weidman gets a shot first.

A win here over Romero would no doubt secure a shot at the belt for Gastelum while a win for Romero assuming he makes weight could lead to another shot for him as well. Gastelum would have quite an obstacle in front of him in Romero but he has been able to pass most of the test sent his way up to this point.

Fight to make next: Yoel Romero vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Colby Covington def. Rafael Dos Anjos (Unanimous Decision) for UFC interim welterweight championship

Colby Covington will not be shutting his mouth just in case anybody was expecting him to. Covington talked a fair amount of trash coming into this fight but perhaps not enough to justify the dominant performance that he displayed. He was quicker and used intense pressure and the threat of the takedown to keep RDA off his game and either against the fence or on his back.

Aside from a few good moments from Dos Anjos it was a completely one-sided affair and one that RDA will not forget for a long time.

Now in theory the next opponent for Colby Covington should be Tyron Woodley, the current Welterweight Champion. The UFC has been a but squirrelly with these Interim championships as of late, so anything can happen but considering Covington’s antics as of late I think he will actually get the next title shot. How he fares remains to be seen but he has done enough to earn it.

Fight to make next: Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley for UFC welterweight championship

Rafael Dos Anjos suffered a tough loss Saturday night and will have to win a few fights before he is back in the title picture. He has the skills to beat anybody but just couldn’t seem to deal with the pressure from Colby Covington and really offered up nothing against a man who has taunted him and his country for months now.

To avoid falling to far back into the hunt his best move could be to face a young, high ranked opponent to prove that he isn’t being passed by the younger generation. It should be noted that while RDA has looked like a savage as of late he is 33 years old and made his debut all the way back in 2008.

Kamaru Usman found little trouble in his last fight against Damian Maia but he still needs that big career win to really push him into a title fight. Rafael Dos Anjos could be that guy for him.

Fight to make next: Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Kamaru Usman

Holly Holm def. Megan Anderson (Unanimous Decision)

Holly Holm put on a solid veteran performance and did what she needed to do against a younger, quicker opponent. What was most impressive is that despite being 36 years old and very deep into her martial arts career we saw her win in a way that we haven’t seen from her before. She realized early on that she was at some disadvantage trading shots on the feet, so she closed the distance and easily scored several takedowns. She used her grappling to nullify the formidable striking attack of Anderson and with the performance she has put herself right back into the title discussion in the featherweight division.

Holm is in a bit of an odd spot though because the rumors of a Cris Cyborg vs Amanda Nunes fight have been circulating for months and if that fight becomes a reality…well where does that leave Holly Holm?

The division doesn’t really have any other fighters, so she might have to return to bantamweight until the featherweight title fight is available. If she doesn’t want to do that a fight with Tonya Evinger at featherweight could make some sense.

Fight to make next: Holly Holm vs. Tonya Evinger

Megan Anderson did not live up to the hype, but you can’t shame her much for losing to Holly Holm. The problem in MMA can often be that you don’t know you have a hole until its exposed. What makes fighters good, even in defeat, is if they realize those holes exist once they are exploited and then fix them.

Anderson had stated that her intentions were to defeat Holm and then challenge Cris Cyborg for her featherweight championship but that is obviously off the table now. As stated above the featherweight division has few fighters in it so picking an opponent for Anderson won’t be easy.

If the UFC is going to have a young fighter like Anderson on the roster surely, they have plans to sign some competition for her unless they expect her to move down or someone else to move up. Just for the sake of this writing I will pick a bantamweight fighter to move up and face Anderson.

The fight that would be interesting is Anderson vs. Germaine de Randamie. Or course de Randamie has been MIA since vacating her title but a fight with Anderson should be massively exciting.

Fight to make next: Megan Anderson vs. Germaine de Randamie

Tai Tuivasa def. Andrei Arlovski (Unanimous Decision)

Tai Tuivasa picked up a close and hard-fought victory over former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski Saturday night, and stayed unbeaten in the process. It was by far the biggest win of his career, but the performance left us with several questions regarding his cardio. It held up of course but he appeared winded at times and took some big shots in route to his victory. That’s not always a recipe for success in the heavyweight division.

It seems that the route to the heavyweight title in the division never changes. Arlovski, then either Hunt or Overeem, and then a title shot. Overeem is coming off two straight knockout losses, while Hunt and Tuivasa have hinted at a friendship. That of course doesn’t mean that they won’t fight though and that’s the fight to make.

Fight to make next: Tai Tuivasa vs. Mark Hunt

Andrei Arlovski put on a good showing against Tai Tuivasa but came up just short and his winning streak will end at two. It is probably safe to say that Arlovski days at a top contender are through but he can still hang around as a tough veteran fighter if he can keep winning some of those fights.

Justin Willis is a guy that doesn’t look like a pro athlete, but he has a background in college football showing that he does have an athletic background. He hits hard and at 3-0 is just a win or so away from breaking into the top 10. Andrei Arlovski is a solid gate keeper at this point in his career and it would be interesting to see if Willis could figure him out.

Fight to make next: Andrei Arlovski vs. Justin Willis

Mike Jackson def. CM Punk via Unanimous Decision

Mike Jackson and CM Punk put on a show that would be expected from two guys with basically no experience. Jackson soundly defeated Punk but it’s hard to imagine that he plans on sticking around and fighting more in the UFC. It is possible that he just moves way down the card but even then, it’s hard to say.

It is impossible to book Jackson without really knowing what his future holds when it comes to the UFC but perhaps a fight with the Green Ranger is in order? In all seriousness I don’t think we see Mike Jackson return to the UFC.

Fight to make next: Who Knows

CM Punk showed virtually nothing in his second UFC fight and rest assured it will be his last. He showed nothing against a guy with virtually no experience in the sport and took a serious beating in the process.

Something tells me that CM Punk’s next fight could be in the WWE but it’s always possible that Punk decides to continue his career elsewhere. Bellator might sign him but it is hard to say, and a foreign promotion seems unlikely. In all likelihood Punks days as a pro fighter are over and while it was fun it was probably something that never should have happened.

Fight to make next: None.

Fox Sports 1 Undercard

Curtis Blaydes def. Alistair Overeem (TKO/Elbows)

Fight to make next:

Curtis Blaydes vs. Cain Velasquez

Alistair Overeem vs. Josh Barnett

Claudia Gadelha def. Carla Esparza (Split Decision)

Fight to make next:

Claudia Gadelha vs. Michelle Waterson

Carla Esparza vs. Felice Herrig

Mirsad Bektic def. Ricardo Lamas

Fights to make next:

Mirsad Bektic vs. Chan Sung Jung

Ricardo Lamas vs. Josh Emmett 2

Chris De La Rocha def. Rashad Coulter (TKO/Punches)

Fight to make next:

Chris De La Rocha vs. Marcelo Golm

Rashad Coulter will likely be cut.

UFC Fight Pass Prelims

Anthony Smith def. Rashad Evans (KO/Knee)

Fight to make next:

Anthony Smith vs. Sam Alvey

Rashad Evans vs. Ed Herman

Sergio Pettis def. Joe Benavidez (Split Decision)

Fight to make next:

Sergio Pettis vs. John Moraga

Joseph Benavidez vs. Alexandre Pantoja

Charles Oliveira def. Clay Guida (Submission/Guillotine)

Fight to make next:

Charles Oliveira vs. Gregor Gillespie

Clay Guida vs. Jim Miller

Dan Ige def. Mike Santiago (TKO/Punches)

Fight to make next:

Dan Ige vs. Guan Wang

Mike Santiago vs. Steven Pederson

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