In a night of big fights, the main events were absolute barn burners. UFC 225 came live from Chicago. Colby Covington and Rafael Dos Anjos had a 5 round war, that was followed up by another war between Whittaker and Romero. Of course there were some flops, looking at you Punk/Jackson, but this arguably the best card the UFC has put on this year
Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero
In what was a rematch between the 2 top middleweights in the company, Whittaker and Romero went at it. It was supposed to be a title match, but with Romero missing weight by .2 pounds it just became another fight, but what a fight it was. The first round was mostly Whittaker, pumping jabs and striking with legs kicks. Romero didn’t do much in the round, throwing single power strikes. The round ends with Romero attempting a spinning back fist that Whittaker ducked.
The second is more of the same with Whittaker dictating the fight and Romero looking to counter. The third is when it really picked up. Romero caught Whittaker with a huge right hand in the first 30 seconds, flooring the champion. Whittaker tries to stay away from the flurry from Romero. He can’t keep Whittaker on the ground, but keeps peppering him with punches and elbows while on the cage. Whittaker still looked wobbly 2 minutes into the round. After a quick clinch fight, Romero walks into a head kick, both men look spent. They took a 20 second rest at the end of the round.
The championship rounds were hotly contested. Whittaker looks like the fresher fighter, sticking to his game plan and staying elusive. After a kick break for a low blow, Whittaker keeps the pressure up, firing body kicks into Romero. With just a minute left the fighters are trading when Romero connects with a right that puts Whittaker on rubber legs. He recovers, but not before eating another right. The fifth and final round was all Romero for the most part. Catching the champ with a one two early, forcing him to retreat, he eventually landed a huge left hand, flooring the champ. He tries to ground and pound him, but just can’t keep him down. Eventually getting back to his feet, Whittaker is just holding on. He does get a late trip, but the round was Romero’s.
Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero via Split Decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)
Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
Covington came out aggressive, taking Dos Anjos down right away, but the brazilian got back up. Covington kept shooting in the first, only to be met with body knees and quick punches. The round ends with Covington attempting a sixth takedown, but Dos Anjos uses the cage to stay up. The second was more of the same, Covington going for takedowns, Dos Anjos using the cage to his advantage as he unleashes body knees. Covington starts looking tired, but he does happen to catch Dos Anjos with an uppercut that appears to hurt him. But, Covington shoots another takedown, allowing Dos Anjos to recover during the sprawl. He does eventually get him down with less than a minute left, but Dos Anjos easily escapes and finishes the round standing.
The third was more of the same, Covington attempting takedowns, only for Dos Anjos to defend them. Covington did throw a kick that clipped Dos Anjos’ cup, stopping the fight for a short amount of time, but it was mostly a stalemate. However the fourth round is when the action picked up. Dos Anjos is the one to start landing takedowns. He can’t keep Covington down, but it’s tiring on the USA Wrestling product. Landing 4 takedowns in the round, he looked to be the fresher fighter. Landing a big hook and uppercut early, he took his advantages when he could. But, Covington fought back and lands a late takedown, keeping Dos Anjos down for the final 15 seconds.
In round 5 it was anyone’s fight. Covington came straight ahead, ducking hooks to jump into clinch. He attempts a takedown but fails. He charges again and finally gets the takedown, but Dos Anjos is back up quickly. The rest of the fight is DOs Anjos circling away, trying to land pot shots as Covington charges forward and attempts takedowns. In the final 90 seconds, Covington gets Dos Anjos down, but the brazilian uses a kimura sweep to stand back up. Both men stand in front of each other and trade. Covington gets the last word in, with a short hook.
Colby Covington def. Rafael dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson
In what was supposed to be a set-up for Megan Anderson’s fight with Cyborg, Holly Holm had other ideas. Getting caught with a big knee early in round one, she knew she had to change her game plan against the longer Anderson. After gaining space off the cage, Holm delivered a front kick that sent Anderson’s head back She then shot a takedown, keeping Anderson on the ground for the remainder of the round.
Rounds two and three were almost all Holm. Putting Anderson against the cage and on her back, Holm looked dominant. Anderson had the size advantage, but not the strength. Trying to utilize techniques meant for the physically stronger fighter ended up putting her in bad spots. Holm got into mount at the end of the second and third, where she landed short hooks and elbows on the Aussie. She had the chance to finish with a arm-triangle, but let it go to resume punching Anderson in the face. Holm looked like the world-class fighter she is.
Holly Holm def. Megan Anderson via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
In a match-up of heavyweights, this was an early slugfest that slowed down the longer the fight went. Tai had the early advantage, after an exchange where both men were caught, he lands a takedown. Putting all his weight on Arlovski in mount, but Arlovski has his arms trapped, eventually rolling out. But not long after Tai send him right back down with a right hand.Arlovski tries to clinch, but is hit again with another right hand.
In round two, Arlovski worked his boxing more and even landed a takedown late in the round. Tai had issues finding his range, and tried to jump into clinch situations, but the Pitbull would break away and fire off combinations. The third was very lackluster, both men looking tired. Tai is the aggressor and does the best work of the round. He connected with a big right hand, then a combination, but Arlovski fires back a combo of his own. Arlovski sticking in range for the final minute, landing jabs on the Aussies bloodied nose. He then spends the last 10 seconds of the round with his arms raised, thinking he won.
Tai Tuivasa def. Andrei Arlovski via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Phil Brooks vs. Mike Jackson
Alright, so this was easily the most boring fight I think I could have watched, and probably a main component of me falling asleep early. Brooks, or Punk as most know him, looked awful. Laying on his back for most the fight and getting punched in the face. He didn’t do basic things to escape to his feet or even to not take damage. It was really embarrassing for everyone involved. Not great to get beat up in your hometown.
Jackson showboated for most the fight. Spinning his fists and just acting very calm, he never was in danger. Punk did land a right hand and a takedown in the first, but it didn’t amount to much. The rest of the fight was all Jackson. Getting Punk to jump into clinch and reversing it. He eventually landed a slam as Punk tried to latch on for a standing guillotine, and then just stayed in guard, pummeling Punk’s face. Honestly, two 0-1 fighters shouldn’t have been on this card, and I hope Punk doesn’t try to fight again. He doesn’t have the athletic ability or even time to get anywhere. Go home to your wife and enjoy retirement.
Mike Jackson def. Phil Brooks via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Curtis Blaydes def. Alistair Overeem via TKO (Elbows) (R3, 2:56)
Claudia Gadelha def. Carla Esparza via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Mirsad Bektic def. Ricardo Lamas via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Chris de la Rocha def. Rashad Coulter via TKO (Punches) (R2, 3:53)
Fight Pass Prelims
Anthony Smith def. Rashad Evans via KO (Knee) (R1, 0:53)
Sergio Pettis def. Joseph Benavidez via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Charles Oliveira def. Clay Guida via Submission (Guillotine Choke) (R1, 2:18)
Dan Ige def. Mike Santiago via TKO (Punches) (R1, 0:50)