The most stacked card of the year takes place this Saturday night at United Center in Chicago, Illinois when the world’s most popular MMA promotion comes to town for UFC 225. The card is littered with huge names from top to bottom as well as a number of intriguing matches that should provide plenty of entertainment for MMA fans. In a year when a number of cards have been less-than-stellar, UFC 225 rises high above the rest of the pack, and I have no problem calling this the best card of the year on paper (so far).
The dual title fights at the top of the card is a huge boost, of course. In the main event, UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker puts his belt on the line for the first time against No. 1 contender Yoel Romero. These two previously fought last summer at UFC 213, when Whittaker defeated Romero in a spirited main event to take the interim belt. After Georges St-Pierre submitted Michael Bisping at UFC 217 and vacated the real title, Whittaker became the full champion and will look to make his first title defense against Romero nearly a year after the pair’s first fight. Since then, the 27-year-old Whittaker has been sidelined with injuries while the 41-year-old Romero continues to drink from the fountain of youth with a beautiful KO win over Luke Rockhold. The first time these two men competed it was a great fight, and the rematch promises to be just as good.
The co-main event is also a terrific matchup featuring top-ranked welterweights Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington competing for the interim welterweight title. Since moving up to welterweight, RDA has been absolutely outstanding with a perfect 3-0 record while Covington is a pristine 8-1 in the UFC. These two have been talking smack to each other over social media and in interviews during the entire buildup to this card and the fight promises to deliver as both men are fighting at such a high clip right now. With the winner surely in line for a title unification bout against UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, I’m expecting an amazing fight between RDA and Covington for the interim strap.
But that’s not all that’s on the main card. In women’s featherweight action, Holly Holm takes on UFC newcomer Megan Anderson in a fight where the winner is likely next in line for a title shot against UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. Also on the main card is a heavyweight bout between top prospect Tai Tuivasa and Andrei Arlovski which promises to be good. And the main card opener between CM Punk and Mike Jackson, which I recently criticized in an article here at MMANews, should at least draw some eyeballs to the card. Overall, the pay-per-view portion of UFC 225 is just ridiculously good.
The prelims, though, is where this card really shines as the quality of fights on the preliminary portion of the card are incredible. The prelim headliner between heavyweight contenders Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes could have easily headlined a Fight Night card or at least been on the PPV portion of this card, but instead it headlines this preliminary card. Also on the television prelims is an important women’s strawweight bout between top contenders Claudia Gadelha and Carla Esparza as well as an important featherweight bout between Ricardo Lamas and Mirsad Bektic. And here’s where UFC 225 really starts to show how deep it is, when on the Fight Pass portion of the card you have a quality flyweight fight between Joseph Benavidez and Sergio Pettis, not to mention an intriguing lightweight bout between Charles Oliveira and Clay Guida and the return of former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans against Anthony Smith. Stacked.
UFC 225 is an amazing card on paper and should play out that way in the cage based on the stylistic matchups the UFC matchmakers have put together. There are so many good fights on this card that have title implications and so many fights that could go either way. The fans are winners when a card like this is put together as nearly every fight on the card is relevant in some way. Now, let’s just hope there are no weigh-in mishaps or injuries before fight night. Whether you’re a hardcore or casual fan UFC 225 is a card for everyone.
Are you excited for UFC 225?