Last night (June 9), UFC 225 took place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The event was billed as the most stacked card of the year, and certainly lived up to expectations.
THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP
Robert Whittaker’s performance last night proved why he is considered one of the sport’s best representatives. It’s been a joy to watch his two wars with Yoel Romero. Although Whittaker is now 2-0 in the series, a third fight feels necessary. Whittaker clearly won the first fight between the pair, however, Saturday’s contest could have gone either way. It’s amazing that Whittaker (with a broken hand) survived Romero’s late onslaught. The third round of the fight has to go down as the best round of the year.
Unfortunately, it’s very possible that we will never see Yoel Romero fight at 185-pounds again. UFC President Dana White has made it clear that he would prefer Romero to move up to the 205-pound division. It could be a blessing in disguise for Romero, as the light heavyweight division is undoubtedly much shallower than the middleweight division. Furthermore, i’m very interested to see how Romero performs without the burden of a nasty weight-cut.
DEFINITELY NOT THE PEOPLE’S CHAMP
Although Colby Covington’s “heel” persona may have have helped advance his career, many fans are justifiably irked that he is now a (interim) UFC champion. At the end of the day, being racist, ignorant and disrespectful is just not a good look. For the sake of people who have to spend time with Colby, I hope that it’s all an act.
However, I will give credit where it’s due; Covington’s performance last night was superb — I was especially impressed with his cardio and the pace that he was able to set (and maintain). He has a legitimate chance of defeating Tyron Woodley in the inevitable title-unification bout.
Following Charles Oliveira’s first-round submission of Clay Guida last night, he has now tied Royce Gracie’s long-standing record for most submission victories (10) in UFC history. This is an amazing accomplishment considering that Oliveira is only 28-years-old. His performances haven’t always lived up to expectations, but he can certainly be proud of this feat.
Since joining the promotion in 2010, the Brazilian submission-artist has jumped between the 145 and 155-pound divisions, compiling an 11-8 record. He entered the UFC with a 12-0 record (11 finishes), but has since come up short when pitted against the best of the best. He’s lost to Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar, Max Holloway, Anthony Pettis, Ricardo Lamas and Paul Felder — an impressive list of fighters.
Oliveira stated in his post-fight interview that he would like to move back down to the 145-pound division, however, he’s had trouble making weight in the past. It will be interesting to see whether “do Bronx” can capitalize on the momentum and emerge as more than just a gatekeeper.
BLAYDES VS. VOLKOV: TITLE-ELIMINATOR
UFC President Dana White was very impressed by Curtis Blaydes’ victory over Alistair Overeem. Blaydes put away the MMA legend with some brutal elbows in the third round of the fight. In the post-fight press conference, White showered the up-and-coming heavyweight prospect with praise, however, he seemed hesistant when asked if Blaydes would be granted a title-shot for his efforts.
The 27-year-old is now 5-1 in the UFC, with wins over Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem in 2018. In my opinion, Blaydes isn’t ready for a title-shot, nor does he deserve one for defeating two guys who are way past their primes.
His only loss was dealt by Francis Ngannou, and I’d definitely like to see them run it back sometime. For the time being, #3-ranked Alexander Volkov would be the perfect foe. The winner of that fight would absolutely deserve to face the winner of the Miocic-Cormier fight.
After his lopsided-defeat in Chicago, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you will no longer be seeing CM Punk in the octagon. During the UFC 225 post-fight press conference, Dana White all but confirmed that the CM Punk experiment was coming to an end. You’ve got to commend Punk for his dedication and heart, but this will ultimately go down as a blemish on the UFC’s record — leave these fights for Bellator and other lower-ranked organizations. Even Dana admitted that he should have left this one on the Fightpass prelims, although I’m sure he’s happy with the pay-per-view haul.
THERE’S LEVELS TO THIS STUFF!
Last night, Holly Holm once again proved that she is one of the best female MMA fighters in the world. Although she was facing a significant size disadvantage, Holm was able to completely neutralize Megan Anderson in the clinch and on the ground. It is very possible that Holm’s next fight will be against Amanda Nunes for the 135-pound championship. Nunes will undoubtedly be a major favorite, however, Holm has already shocked the world once. I’m all for it!
Anderson was clearly overmatched last night, but she’s only 28-years-old and pretty much the UFC’s only female featherweight prospect. It remains to be seen whether we will one day see Anderson take on Cyborg — she clearly has a long way to go.