UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero II Staff Predictions

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UFC 225
Photo Credit: UFC.com

The Octagon travels to Chicago, Illinois this weekend, as UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero II goes down live on Saturday night, June 9th, from the United Center, airing live on pay-per-view. As is always the case before a big MMA event, MMANews.com has you covered from multiple angles with pre-fight analysis and insight from multiple veteran MMA writers.

MMANews.com staff writers Matt Boone, Andrew Ravens and Ian Carey will break down the fights scheduled for the main pay-per-view card, which includes a star-studded lineup and two championship fights. In the main card opener, former WWE Superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks returns to the Octagon to fight fellow 0-1 rookie Mike “The Truth” Jackson. From there, we take a trip to the Heavyweight division where former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski battles undefeated up-and-coming contender Tai Tuivasa. Then, the Women’s Featherweight division will be on display as former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm battles potential Cyborg-prospect Megan Anderson.

After that, things will get interesting, as two five-round championship bouts are scheduled. In the co-main event, trash-talking contender Colby “Chaos” Covington battles former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos in a fight that will crown an interim UFC Welterweight Champion. In the main event, UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker returns from injury to defend his title against the same man he defeated to become champion, dangerous knockout artist and elite-level wrestler, Yoel Romero.

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  • Welterweight: CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
  • Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Women’s Featherweight: Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson
  • Interim Welterweight Title: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
  • Middleweight Title: Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero

UFC 225 STAFF PREDICTIONS

CM Punk (0-1) vs. Mike Jackson (0-1)

Matt Boone: So, you want a tough assignment? Break down CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson from an “expert” standpoint. And … GO! Good luck! This is as big a question mark as any fight you’ll get, as it is essentially two guys that have fought once, against the same guy, and lost in one-sided fashion. We’ve seen neither man do anything inside the Octagon yet, other than take punishment and get finished in the first round. Having said that, “The Truth” is supposed to be some kind of standup artist and Punk likes jiu-jitsu a lot. Who knows. I’ll go with Jackson. (Prediction: Mike Jackson)

Andrew Ravens: There is not a ton of footage to go off of the previous fights that both fighters have had. It’s a real pick em here. It could go either way. Although you could make the argument that Jackson should win this fight, this is Punk’s best chance of winning a pro-MMA fight. I see Punk dominating with his jiu-jitsu because that is what he has been training for over the last several years now and ultimately getting a TKO win in the first round. (Prediction: CM Punk)

Ian Carey: With all do respect to CM Punk, he’s going to get embarrassed again. Is Mike Jackson a great MMA fighter? Absolutely not. Is he an actual MMA fighter tho? Yes, yes he is. CM Punk is not. Jackson had his first amateur fight over 9 years ago. Punk started training a few years ago. At some point in Jackson’s training coaches would have told him he’s skilled enough to compete. Punk signed a UFC contract before he started training. The UFC is supposed to be for the top fighters in the world, not just the ones who draw the most money. You could put a Kardashian in the octagon and it would draw money, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Let’s call it for what it is, Punk’s fame bought him a paid trip to MMA fantasy camp. The fantasy ends on Saturday. (Prediction: Mike Jackson)

CONSENSUS: Mike Jackson (2-1)

Andrei Arlovski (27-15, 1 NC) vs. Tai Tuivasa (7-0)

Matt: By all accounts, Tai Tuivasa looks to be an emerging contender, however in the Heavyweight division, anything can and usually does happen. Especially with The Pitbull is involved. Arlovski is aging, yes, but he’s still a beast that knocks people the hell out. Will he do that against Tai? If he does, he’ll be the first man to hand him a loss in professional MMA competition. Because of the fact that nobody has at this point, and because Arlovski’s chin is legendarily suspect, I’ll go with the up-and-comer. (Prediction: Tai Tuivasa)

Andrew: Despite the recent success of the MMA Legend, I think he’s way past his prime and has shown that against top tier level talent. This is Tuivasa’s coming out party, and with it being the biggest fight thus far in his pro-MMA career, he is going to come out extremely focused. Youth over experience here. I have Tuivasa winning by KO in the second round. (Prediction: Tai Tuivasa)

Ian: Arlovski’s chin can’t take a Tuivasa punch. The UFC knows this and that’s why the booked the fight. The promotion is still hoping to find their big heavyweight savior to take the belt off Miocic. They thought it was Ngannou but were wrong. Considering Tuivasa has finished all of his fights in the first round, he’s got a shot to run the table on his way to a title shot. I don’t think Tuivasa is going to finish Arlovski in the 1st round but he’ll make fist connect with face somewhere before the end of the fight. (Prediction: Tai Tuivasa)

CONSENSUS: Tai Tuivasa (3-0)

Holly Holm (11-4) vs. Megan Anderson (8-2)

Matt: I don’t know anything about Megan Anderson. There, I said it. Everyone seems to be pairing her up against Cyborg in their minds. I guess so. Who knows. Holly Holm is the real deal. “The Preacher’s Daughter” is a proven championship-level fighter, however she has had a ton of mis-steps. It’s interesting to note, however, that she only loses to the best. Is Megan Anderson in that league? I honestly couldn’t say until I see her fight some legitimate contenders. The odds favor Holm at slightly over two-to-one. I’ll go with the former champ in this one. (Prediction: Holly Holm)

Andrew: Holm is going to look for redemption in this fight and will be fired up coming out of the gate. UFC nerves are a real thing, and with this being Anderson’s UFC debut, I do see that being a factor that she will have to deal with. I think it will be closer than people believe and it will come down to the wire. Anderson gives her a challenge but just not ready for the level that Holm is currently on. In the third round, Holm puts on the pressure and ultimately takes home the win by split decision. (Prediction: Holly Holm)

Ian: Holly Holm has lost 4 of her last 5 fights since defeating Ronda Rousey. That might look bad on paper but consider that she made Cyborg look more human than she ever has before in her last fight. That should say a lot for how Holm’s game has developed recently and her confidence at featherweight.The 28-year-old Australian Anderson has never faced anyone like Holm before and I don’t think she’s going to be fully prepared. (Prediction: Holly Holm)

CONSENSUS: Holly Holm (3-0)

Interim UFC Welterweight Championship
Colby Covington (13-1) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (28-9)

Matt: On his official record, “Chaos” Covington is simply the guy who has beaten the dude who beat Sage Northcutt, as well as an aging Demian Maia and Dong Hyun Kim — all by decision. In the gym, he’s apparently terrifying. He seems to be a grueling, grinding type of fighter who can beat anyone he drags into a dog fight. Only the elite-elite will likely beat him, but RDA might be just that. Especially at 170-pounds. A former 155-pound champ, dos Anjos has been tearing up the scene at 170-pounds, beating a former Strikeforce Champion, stopping Neil Magny — a guy who rarely gets stopped, and terrorizing former champion Robbie Lawler. This is an extremely interesting match. The odds favor Covington slightly, however that could change as the fight gets closer. This is such a tough one to pick due to the question marks surrounding how good Covington really is. We’ll find out this Saturday night. I’ve got a hunch he pulls it off. (Prediction: Colby Covington)

Andrew: Although Covington is coming off a big win over a title contender in Demian Maia in his last fight, his trash talk has put him in this position. He’s a really good fighter, but RDA has been in this spot before and has the experience on his side. Although Covington will be a title contender for years to come, this is not his time to shine and won’t get past RDA. The former lightweight champion gets it done with his control on the ground and wins it by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos)

Ian: Covington’s not as good as his mouth suggests. It’s possible I’m only saying this because I’m still mad at the guy for spoiling Star Wars for me, however (he pinned a Tweet with a spoiler to the top of his Twitter profile…jerk). He did beat Damien Maia, however, which I suppose is not exactly easy. All the same, I think RDA takes this. Since moving to welterweight, RDA has won 3 straight including over Robbie Lawler in December. A win here likely means a title shot and I think he’ll get it. (Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos)

CONSENSUS: Rafael dos Anjos (2-1)

UFC Middleweight Championship
Robert Whittaker (19-4) vs. Yoel Romero (13-2)

Matt: I know the general consensus is that Robert Whittaker is the king of the 185-pound division right now. However, if there is one guy who is clearly capable of beating any other human being that can stand on a scale that reads 185, it’s “The People’s Champ” Yoel Romero. The guy is scary. He is nightmare material. He’s the most gifted wrestler in the sport and is perhaps the most explosive knockout artist as well. He’s older, true, but he’s still a freak athlete. The longer this one goes, the more of a chance Whittaker has to win, but I can’t see 25 minutes going by without Romero doing some extreme damage — enough that he finishes Whittaker off or steals rounds with one or two flurries en route to a decision. I’ve got a new champion being crowned in this one. (Prediction: Yoel Romero)

Andrew: This a really intriguing fight that could have some fight fans on the fence in terms of their picks. Yes, Whittaker does hold a win over Romero in a fight that took place just over a year ago. It has to be taken into consideration that Romero did have his moments in that first fight and always has a puncher’s chance. If Romero can be successful with his wrestling then it’s going to be a long night for Whittaker. However, if the champion can keep things standing then I believe you have to give him the advantage. I have Whittaker retaining the strap by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Robert Whittaker)

Ian: Despite the fact Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero only 11 months ago to win the interim middleweight belt, I still think Romero is going to win this fight. Although it’s difficult to notice, Romero is getting old. At 41 years old, the window on his athletic career is closing. If he loses he’ll likely never get another chance. That’s a motivating factor for Romero which just won’t be in play for his opponent. I think Romero finds a way to finish Whittaker and we get the rubber match between the two this winter. (Prediction: Yoel Romero)

CONSENSUS: Yoel Romero (2-1)


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What are your thoughts on the above predictions and fight breakdowns? What are your predictions for UFC 225? Sound off in the Comments section below, and make sure to join us here at MMANews.com and via Twitter @mmanews_com for the best UFC Liverpool results coverage.