The most stacked UFC card of 2018 will see the return of the Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker take on the man who he beat to win the belt in Yoel Romero in a rematch of their Fight of the Night from 2017.
Fight fans have their fingers crossed that everyone makes weight, no one fails a drug test, and no one gets injured in a freakish bus mayhem attack derailing this legitimately jam-packed UFC 225 card. The promotion has dealt with a lot of bad luck and bad cards this year derailing many of their best fight cards, but those fortunes can change Saturday night in Chicago if this card delivers on its immense potential. This card has two titles on the line and potentially an extra two title shots on the line. Additionally, casual fans will see the return of the fake wrestler pretending he’s a high level pro fighter returning to the octagon. This card is absolutely worth those PPV dollars and should leave everyone satisfied customers Saturday night. I bring back the Burger-meter to get fans ready for the tastiest fights on the card. The Burger meter will look at the fight matchup (how good is it, how important, how entertaining) and associate it with its hamburger equivalent. I’ll breakdown the main card by relating it to its “burger form” and offer some fight predictions to hopefully help your bank accounts. Let’s get to the card:
(100% Imported Kobe Beef Burger): Ridiculously luxurious & best of the best
Middleweight Title Fight
Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (Champion) vs Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (#1) (Middleweight 185lbs)
Preview: This is a legitimate juicy rematch that rightfully is for a title. Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero’s first matchup got Fight of the Night and saw Whittaker become the Middleweight champion after a tough and close victory over Romero. Whittaker handily outs truck Romero despite Romero getting a few take downs in their first matchup. The big Whittaker strike advantage got the job done in the first fight. This fight is likely to play out similar to their first matchup with Romero wanting to make this grinding ground fight and Whittaker preferring to drop bombs while remaining on his feet. There are two wildcards in this fight that could potentially change the outcome of this rematch. The first wildcard is Whittaker’s long layoff returning from a nasty life threatening staph infection side-lining him for nearly a year. Jumping back into the Octagon against a fighter as dangerous as Romero without shaking off any ring rust with a tune up fight is a big question mark. The other wildcard is Romero’s age; he’s 41. Father time remains undefeated and it’s only a matter of time before the wheels finally fall off for the “Soldier of God”; is that time now?
Odds: Whittaker (-230) vs Romero (+195)
Prediction: Typically a heavily favored guy coming off a long layoff due to injury and jumping in against a prime contender is where I like to pick the underdog. However, Robert Whittaker by all accounts is back to being 100% healthy and looks sharp in camp. I think Romero’s win over Luke Rockhold is a bit of fool’s gold because I’m not sure Rockhold is in the same class as Whittaker. Romero despite his impressive TKO of Rockhold struggled at time during that fight, struggles that if they happen against a healthy Whittaker will get him stopped. I’m going to put my trust in the colossal power of Robert Whittaker’s hands and I think he uses the timing he learned in his first fight against Romero to get a highlight reel stoppage in his first title defense.
(Whittaker by KO or TKO -230)
(In& Out): Lives up to the Hype & always worth it
Welterweight Interim Title Fight
Rafael Dos Anjos (#1) vs Colby “Chaos” Covington (#4) (Welterweight 170lbs)
Preview: Some argue this is a ‘fake’ belt fight as the real champion of 170lbs Tyron Woodley. However, Woodley’s absence partly by choice and part by injury has opened the door for this interim title bout and will likely force Woodley to fight the winner when he returns. Whether or not anyone recognizes this winner as an real belt holder won’t matter much to either Dos Anjos or Covington because it assures them a future date with Woodley. Colby Covington has attempted to build his brand and persona as the ultimate UFC ‘heel’. He’s displayed all types of troll type behavior both to UFC fighters, fans, and media in attempts to make himself into a marketable fighter within the sport. It helps that he’s a talented fighter who is on a five fight win streak heading into this matchup with Dos Anjos. There are legitimate arguments that Covington is a less talented McGregor or Chael Sonnen both inside the cage and outside the cage promotion. He appears to have adopted the lowest common denominator when it comes to name calling, promos, and cliché bits about “bashing nerds and getting ladies”. I typically encourage and enjoy sports when they feel more like professional wrestling but something about Covington rings hollow or insincere. The insults aren’t all that clever and his delivery of his smack talk always seem forced. Despite appearing to have made a name for himself inside the MMA world, his mainstream following is still next to unknown both in social media followers and mainstream press exposure. This is a long convoluted way of stating his style may have not caught on yet, but I do believe it helped get him this interim title shot which is no small thing. A win over Dos Anjos may give his shtick the shot of legitimacy he’s been seeking and he’s not as outclassed as people would have thought had this fight occurred merely a year ago. Colby isn’t really a finisher but his impressive wrestling has allowed him to beat some legitimate top 10 guys at 170lbs. Dos Anjos has rebounded with three consecutive wins after back to back losses derailing the former champion who at one point looked unbeatable. The problem for Dos Anjos is he is giving up a huge size advantage of nearly 4 inches and Covington’s aggressive wrestling style has given him problems demonstrated in his three most recent losses to Nurmagomedov, Alvarez, and Ferguson. Those three men however are arguably the top 3 in the division and Covington is trying to make his case of being in that class. If Dos Anjos can land his striking early and not get taken down in the first round this could become a really fun fight for anyone looking to see Covington get humbled. However, if Dos Anjos cannot stop Covington from taking him to the mat at will like Nurmagomedov did he is in for a very long and painful night
Odds: Dos Anjos (+100) vs Covington (-120)
Prediction: There is something fishy about this line and I can’t quite put my finger on it. On paper Dos Anjos is the more storied and gifted fighter. He’s won a championship, fought in several five round fights, and beaten better fighters than Covington. However, the size disparity when facing a wrestler like Covington is no small thing. Wrestling has always given Dos Anjos headaches and I worry if Covington’s antics have gotten to Dos Anjos he could get taken down easier in attempts to aggressively attack the wrestler. Vegas doesn’t buy-in to antics, so they have Covington as a slight favorite for a reason. I thought its a close fight when it got made but leaned Dos Anjos due to his experience and multi-range of skills. However, taking a closer look at Dos Anjos losses and factoring in the fishy line brings me back to Covington. I’ll take the wrestling ‘troll’ to get the biggest win of his career against an undersized welterweight. (Covington by Unanimous Decision -110)
(Home Cooked Burger): Solid, reliable, and hits the spot
Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm vs Megan Anderson (Women’s Straw weight 145lbs)
Preview: This fight is one of the few good fights available in the extremely light on talent women’s straw weight division. Megan Anderson got floated as a possible opponent for Cris Cyborg due to her size & dominance as the Invicta women’s champion. However, visa issues prevented the matchup with Cyborg who would take another opponent in the interim leading to this matchup with Holm. Holly’s career as a championship contender are on life support. She desperately needs a win against the younger & bigger Anderson to secure rematch with Cyborg or at the very least give her a chance to challenge top contenders at 135lbs if she chose to move back down. Despite a little controversy in her loss de Randamie; she’s still lost 4 of her last 5 fights. She needs a win over a top talent or face relegation to gatekeeping for the next generation of women’s MMA. She’s giving up 4 inches in height and reach to Anderson. Holm is undoubtedly the better boxer of the two but she will need to lure Anderson to attack her to use her counter-striking & kicks once the distance is closed. If Megan Anderson can get Holm to chase her or press her up against the cage to use her size advantage, it could be a bad night for Holm. The one glaring question mark for Megan Anderson is her competition she’s faced. Invicta FC is not the UFC and Holly Holm is by far the toughest fight of her career. Will she be overwhelmed by the stage or will Holm’s speed and technical skill catch her by surprise? Holm has also proven she can go 5 rounds pretty easily, while this is Anderson’s first ever 5 minute 5 round bout. If Holm can keep the fight competitive early keep an eye on Anderson’s cardio in the championship rounds to see if she can maintain a championship pace.
Odds: Holm (-225) vs Anderson (+190)
Prediction: Megan Anderson has a lot of hype behind her and she’s a huge 145lbs fighter for a man or woman at six feet tall. The size and reach advantage alone is reason to think Anderson could pull off the upset. However, I can’t get over her lack of competition leading up to his fight. Holm has fought bigger women before both in MMA and boxing so the size will not intimidate her. Throw in the ability to take this fight into very deep water and I start to see Holm have some significant advantage both in experience & cardio. Also, Anderson has shown she’s not overly quick when she throws her strikes and has the tendency to plod straight forward when attacking. This is dangerous game to play with Holm who is a technician both in footwork and counter-attacks. Holly needs to avoid an early big shot or takedown and I think can slowly break Anderson down on route to a close unanimous decision. A win should give Holm enough juice to get a title shot rematch against Cyborg.
(Holm -225 via Unanimous Decision)
Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem (#2) vs Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (#4) (Heavyweight)
Preview: This is a really fun free fight to end the prelims. Is Curtis Blaydes an actual contender in the heavyweight division or he just a really solid fighter taking advantage of a shallow division? The UFC and Blaydes are about to find out when he fights Alistair Overeem Saturday night. Both men have lost to Francis Ngannou and both men would like a shot at the winner of the Stipe vs Daniel Cormier fight. Blaydes doesn’t do anything really flashy but he’s an absolute handful due to his size, strength, and cardio in a division not known for its cardio. He definitely doesn’t have the work rate or wrestling of Cain Velasquez but he has some similarities to his style of victory as the former champion. Overeem has one game plan and one game plan only; punch, knee, or kick you until you or your brain quits. Despite his age if he connects flush with Blaydes, the youngster will go to sleep.
Odds: Overeem (+145) vs Blaydes (-170)
Prediction: Blaydes has done everything right since his only loss to Ngannou. The UFC puts opponents in front of him and he beats them. It’s not always a highlight reel but he gets the job done. This is his shot to get a big time title shot or a title shot fight. I just worry about his chin against a guy like Overeem. He beat Mark Hunt which is a nice win, but I just think Overeem has more technical skill than Hunt which I think gives him a slight edge to get a stoppage here. I’ll take the value on the old K-1 champion stopping the younger up and comer. However, if Blaydes can get out of the first round intact he has a real shot of winning this fight by decision.
(Overeem by Knockout (+145))
(Waffle House Burger): It won’t kill you but high quality it is not
Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski (#9) vs Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa (#12) (Heavyweight)
Preview: Tuivasa is primed to jump into the top 10 of the heavyweight division and will look to do so on the back of longtime heavyweight gatekeeper Andrei Arlovski. I do not expect much technical back and forth out of these two, as the first one to crack the other is likely going to end this fight. Tuivasa is younger, quicker, and his chin hasn’t been crushed over the years like Arlovski’s has so its understandable why he’s the favorite.
Odds: Arlovski (+210) vs Tuivasa (-250)
Prediction: (Tuivasa by 1st round Knockout (-250))
(Gas Station Burger): Hello darkness my old friend
CM Punk vs Mike “The Truth” Jackson (Welterweight 170lbs)
Preview: I hate this fight. It has no business on a première professional MMA card, let alone a PPV. I get it, CM Punk brings in eyeballs and sells a few extra tickets or PPV’s. I’m not blind to the fact this sport is also a ‘business’. However, after his absolutely abysmal showing in his first fight where he did not land a single solitary strike the experiment should have died there. Anyone who steps into a cage to fight for money has my respect for their guts but respecting someone’s guts doesn’t mean we have to turn a blind eye at how bad they are as a professional fighter. If Punk someone how beats another winless fighter, than what? He’s never going to fight any one close to being ranked at welterweight, let alone a title or title shot; so what is the end game here? Why give a prime PPV spot to showcase talent to a guy who at best has one more fight left in him and zero long-term marketability. It bums me out that such an amazing card has this turd in the punch bowl lurking in the background of it. Use this fight to take a bathroom break, grab some more drinks and food before the ‘real’ good stuff comes on after it.
Odds: Punk (Who Cares) vs Jackson (Honestly Who Cares)
Prediction: We all lose; don’t bet this.
Prediction Record since 2016 to Date (73-57-1) (+$1030.50)
- UFC Record & predictions based on Win vs Loss predictions only. Unless specified otherwise I use increments of $100 (for + odds predictions) & $110 (for – odds bets) as hypothetical wagers for each prediction.
- UFC Predictions & Records are for entertainment value only
- Stats provided from http://UFC.COM & http://www.fightmetric.com/
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