Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will run it back again Saturday night in Chicago with the middleweight championship belt on the line.
It’s UFC 225 from Chicago on Saturday night, a card headlined by two championship bouts: Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero for the middleweight belt, and Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington for the interim welterweight title. The five-fight main card is expected to begin at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view. Here’s a look at those bouts and their MMA odds.
Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero Prediction
Records: Whittaker (19-4), Romero (13-2) Division: Middleweight UFC Odds: Whittaker -225, Romero +170 Prediction: Whittaker by KO/TKO
Whittaker, an Aussie, is the champion of the middleweight division and Romero, originally from Cuba who lives in the USA, is the division’s No. 1 contender. These two fought at UFC 213 last July and Whittaker won a narrow unanimous decision to take the UFC’s interim middleweight title. The official middleweight king had been Michael Bisping, but he lost that crown to Canadian legend Georges St-Pierre last November. GSP, however, soon after had to vacate the belt due to health reasons and hasn’t fought since. Thus, the organization then made Whittaker the undisputed champion.
Whittaker was set to make his first defence at UFC 221 against former champion Luke Rockhold, but Whittaker couldn’t do so because he contracted adult chicken pox and a staph infection. So Romero took his spot and beat Rockhold via a brutal third-round knockout (punches). That was supposed to be for another interim title, but Romero was ineligible for that by missing the 185-pound weight limit by nearly three pounds. At age 41, this is likely Romero’s last chance at a belt, while Whittaker is only 27. He hasn’t lost since UFC 170 to Stephen Thompson.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington Prediction
Records: Dos Anjos (28-9), Covington (13-1) Division: Welterweight UFC Odds: Dos Anjos -125, Covington -105 Prediction: Dos Anjos by decision
This is for the interim welterweight belt between No. 1 ranked dos Anjos and No. 4 Covington, with the winner getting a shot at champion Tyron Woodley (who has been out due to shoulder surgery) likely later this year. Dos Anjos, a 33-year-old Brazilian, is a former lightweight champion, winning that belt against Anthony Pettis at UFC 185 and defending against Donald Cerrone. Dos Anjos lost the title to Eddie Alvarez and then lost again to Tony Ferguson and decided to move to welterweight. He’s 3-0 in the division, last beating Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision in December. Covington, a 30-year-old American, has won five straight since his lone loss to Warlley Alves at UFC 194. He hasn’t fought the quality of competition that dos Anjos has.
Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson Prediction
Records: Holm (11-4), Anderson (8-2) Division: Women’s featherweight UFC Odds: Holm -260, Anderson +190 Prediction: Anderson by KO/TKO
This is the first non-title women’s featherweight bout in UFC history; the division’s current champion is female pound-for-pound king Cyborg Justino. Holm once was considered a rising superstar in the UFC when she won a title with a stunning upset of Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. However, Holm is just 1-4 since and lost to Justino in December by unanimous decision. The winner here presumably fights Justino next. It’s the UFC debut for Anderson, a 28-year-old from Australia. She’s the reigning champion of the all-female Invicta FC and on a four-fight winning streak. Anderson was scheduled to fight Cyborg for the UFC title last July but was forced to withdraw from the bout because of undisclosed personal reasons. Anderson hasn’t been in the Octagon since January 2017.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa Prediction
Records: Arlovski (27-15), Tuivasa (7-0) Division: Heavyweight UFC Odds: Tuivasa -355, Arlovski +250 Prediction: Tuivasa by KO/TKO
Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight king, earning the belt way back in February 2005 with a win over Tim Sylvia. However, the following year Arlovski lost twice to Sylvia and eventually moved to Affliction, Strikeforce and a few other organizations before returning to the UFC in 2014. Since losing five fights in a row, including to big names such as Alistair Overeem and current heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, Arlovski has won his past two. At age 39, he’s ranked ninth in the division. Many around the UFC believe the 25-year-old Aussie Tuivasa will be the division’s next big star. The former rugby player has won all seven of his pro fights – two in the UFC – by first-round KO or TKO. Tuivasa is ranked 12th but the arrow is pointing up.
CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson Prediction
Records: Punk (0-1), Jackson (0-1) Division: Welterweight UFC Odds: Jackson -265, Punk +190 Prediction: Jackson by submission
Why is this bout between two guys with losing records on the main card? Because Punk of course is a former WWE star. The 39-year-old American’s MMA debut wasn’t great as he was submitted via rear-naked choke in the first round of UFC 203 in September 2016 by Mickey Gall. Punk, who is from Chicago, had zero MMA experience before signing with the UFC and it showed. Maybe two years of training will help matters. Jackson, 33 and from the USA, also has fought only Gall, losing by rear-naked choke submission just 45 seconds into their February 2016 bout. Punk originally was targeted for that fight to debut but had to pull out injured. Jackson is a former boxer/kickboxer.