After a quick begin to the night – 4 of the primary 5 contests have been completed early – UFC 225 hit a little bit of a lull with some much less inspiring contests. The low level was simply the CM Punk combat. The UFC can be smart to purge it from their archives, because it got here in the course of a stretch of six choices in seven fights. Then got here the principle occasion between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. It might have gone to determination too, but it surely certain as hell wasn’t from a scarcity of effort from the 2 combatants. They placed on what might have been a possible Fight of the Year candidate, coming near placing one another away on a number of events. Whittaker’s victory proved to be controversial as there was loads of debate about how the judges scored the ultimate two rounds, but it surely doesn’t take away from the standard of the competition.
Colby Covington gained what he referred to as an actual belt regardless of the phrase interim being hooked up to it by displaying a deeper fuel tank than Rafael dos Anjos. Nonetheless, he’s in line to unify his belt with former teammate Tyron Woodley it what seems to be one of many few contests that might make Woodley a fan favourite. Plus, Holly Holm acquired again on monitor with a properly-rounded efficiency. It might not have been a PPV of epic proportions, however UFC 225 did show to be a pleasant rebound from a run of occasions which have confirmed underwhelming.
Robert Whittaker: Can somebody please inform me how Whittaker survived these flurries of offense Romero utilized to him? I thought of transferring Whittaker out of the winner’s column primarily based solely on the quantity of injury Whittaker endured. In the tip although, Whittaker gained among the best fights in current reminiscence regardless of struggling what seems to be a damaged hand early within the contest. He might have had some luck on his facet when the judges sided with him within the cut up determination, however he now owns two victories over Romero at middleweight… two greater than anybody else. Some of the names which have tried and didn’t put only one loss on Romero: Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, Jacare Souza, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold. Whittaker is legit.
Yoel Romero: More members of the media believed the Cuban silver medalist gained the competition than Whittaker — not that it will have supplied Romero with the title. However, it does show that Romero placed on a formidable displaying as Whittaker seemed nice. Regardless, Romero has but to show in a efficiency that followers can’t admire in some form of manner. In truth, this will likely very properly have proved to be his finest one. His power degree was affected by his troublesome weight reduce and he nonetheless got here dangerously near placing away the reigning middleweight champion. Even if Romero by no means secures middleweight gold – and it seems unlikely he’ll at this second – nobody can deny that he’s among the best 185ers within the brief historical past of MMA.
Colby Covington: While even Covington’s personal mom finds him to be obnoxious, nobody can deny that he executed an efficient technique that resulted in him carrying down the energetically sturdy Rafael dos Anjos. Sure, the UFC’s commentary staff was slightly too favorable in the direction of the unlikeable American. That doesn’t imply Covington didn’t win the combat. What could also be extra irritating for followers is Covington continues to enhance his placing. The interim champion continues to enhance….
Holly Holm: While Holm is finest identified for dethroning Ronda Rousey, the narrative was that she was a former boxing champion. We can formally name her an entire MMA fighter at this level. Outside of a short second when Megan Anderson rocked her within the opening moments, Holm was in management your entire time, using takedowns, clinch work, distance placing… every part. I’m not on board together with her combating for one more title off this win as her solely different win since blasting Rousey was over Bethe Correia. However, it seems this win over Anderson may simply try this.
Tai Tuivasa: This has far much less to do along with his efficiency within the cage, although he needs to be recommended for pulling out a tough-fought determination over Andrei Arlovski. No, this has every part to do with Tuivasa’s antics exterior the cage. First, he comes out to My Heart Will Go On, getting the gang concerned in singing alongside. Then when Joe Rogan is interviewing him, he requested for Rogan’s shoe so he can drink beer from it. When Rogan declined to supply his shoe, Tuivasa went and acquired a number of sneakers from followers within the crowd for a few beers. His enjoyable-loving character makes it arduous to not like him. Even if some might discover it obnoxious, Tuivasa is doing an ideal job of selling himself.
Curtis Blaydes: Blaydes taking Overeem down a number of instances wasn’t a shock. Blaydes profitable the standup was. Granted, that was as a result of Overeem was giving respect to the takedowns, however that’s a part of MMA. And that GnP… DAMN! I don’t know who taught him these elbows, however they have been as brutal as any that I’ve ever seen. Blaydes is for actual. His callout for a title shot… I’ve no drawback with that.
Mirsad Bektic: I admit Bektic’s win over Ricardo Lamas wasn’t essentially the most entertaining and I usually put loads of inventory in that. But the dude deserves loads of credit score for combating off Lamas’ many submission makes an attempt and takedown makes an attempt. Lamas didn’t go away him a lot alternative to do rather more than that. Not to say there aren’t holes Bektic shouldn’t look to fill in, however this was an enormous win for up-and-comer.
Anthony Smith: A number of years in the past, Smith was a veteran of the regional scene who had a cup of espresso within the UFC. Now that he’s earned his manner again to the large dance, Smith has picked up wins over former champions Hector Lombard and Rashad Evans. The win over Evans was notably spectacular as he completed off the legend with a brutal knee lower than a minute in. Not a nasty development on his profession. Props on his callout of Sam Alvey too.
Sergio Pettis: The knock on Pettis has been his lack of ability to beat an elite opponent. Whether you imagine Joseph Benavidez is not elite, this was one of the best win of Pettis’ profession. He might not have landed as many punches as Benavidez, however he did land extra clear pictures than the previous title challenger, proving to be the distinction within the eyes of the judges. There doesn’t look like a debate which Pettis brother is superior at this level. In truth, Pettis might be taking a look at a title alternative within the close to future.
Charles Oliveira: It actually shouldn’t be a shock when among the best submission artists within the sport submits some of the submittable – don’t care if that isn’t a phrase – fighters the UFC has ever seen. But Oliveira badly wanted this win after being wrecked badly by Paul Felder. He’s nonetheless pushing for an ailing-suggested return to featherweight, however I see no motive for him to take action when he can placed on showings like this. Someone must persuade Chucky Olives 155 is his residence. Worth noting: Oliveira ties Royce Gracie for essentially the most submission victories within the UFC.
Dan Ige: Ige wasted no time taking the combat to Mike Santiago, knocking the veteran to the bottom and shortly locking in a physique triangle. Santiago had nowhere to go and Ige continued to rain down the punishment to choose up his first UFC win… all in lower than a minute. Impressive.
Tyron Woodley: I already talked about why Woodley is a winner; followers hate Covington a lot that they’re sure to facet with Woodley. Given the boring nature of a few of Woodley’s current contests, there weren’t loads of eventualities that might play out that might show to be favorable for the champ. This was one in every of them. Here’s hoping he can reap the benefits of the scenario.
Rafael dos Anjos: Everybody had their hopes pinned on the previous light-weight champion to silence the loudmouthed Covington and dos Anjos got here up brief. Some have been questioning his wrestling primarily based method, but it surely wasn’t like he was capable of match the quantity introduced by the insane tempo of Covington on the ft. Regardless, one thing gave the impression to be off with the Brazilian and he let down the followers.
Megan Anderson: Holly Holm is a far cry from Charmain Tweet, Anderson’s most notable win in her profession. Whether Holm’s wrestling enchancment is for actual, it isn’t a superb look when Anderson is taken down time and once more by the previous boxing champion. Anderson has loads of potential, but it surely’s clear she wants some expertise towards prime flight competitors earlier than she will be labeled a real contender. Maybe this wasn’t such a nasty expertise for the Aussie in any case….
Mike Jackson: Jackson dominated his combat with CM Punk. He was anticipated to. However, he did so whereas trying like a douche. There have been many instances over the course of the competition the place Jackson may have ended the competition. Instead, he selected to showboat within the guard of 1 Phil Brooks or simply maintain him up towards the cage. I don’t know if he thought he was being humorous or what, it got here throughout poorly. I doubt anybody cares to see Jackson return to the UFC. If nobody needs to see it, there’s no motive for the UFC to deliver him again.
Alistair Overeem: Sure, Overeem didn’t get his head knocked into orbit like he did in his final contest towards Francis Ngannou. But is getting your head pounded into the earth any higher? Is there one other fighter on this sport who has been on the receiving finish of so many brutal finishes? I do know there are nonetheless fights Overeem can win, however one other end like that and I don’t assume I need to see Overeem in a cage anymore.
Rashad Evans: There might not be a greater indication fighter ought to name it quits after being referred to as a legend by the man who simply knocked the crap out of them. Evans has now misplaced 5 in a row since getting back from ACL surgical procedure, trying like a shell of his outdated self in each contest. While I’d say Smith is analogous in high quality to Dan Kelly and Sam Alvey, this loss is worse than these two as Smith completed him off with minimal effort. I do know I’m not the one one with the hopes that he retires, however solely Evans could make that call.
Joseph Benavidez: Whether it was Benavidez being rusty after the most important knee surgical procedure he was getting back from or Father Time catching up with him, Benavidez didn’t appear to be the man whose solely loss at flyweight got here towards Demetrious Johnson. Don’t get me flawed, Benavidez nonetheless seemed able to beating about 90% of the division and had a powerful argument for the victory after being the busier fighter over the past two rounds. But he’s not the undisputed #2 flyweight on the earth. Sad day the UFC by no means noticed match to provide him a 3rd alternative on the belt.
Mike Santiago: Not solely did he lose his third UFC contest in three tries. Not solely did he lose in lower than a minute. He did so in his hometown. Hard to see the way it might be a lot worse for the veteran of the regional scene. There’s a powerful probability he goes proper again all the way down to the minor leagues.
Chicago: I’m not ripping on the town itself. Just on the hometown fighters as Blaydes was the one Chicago consultant who walked out of the world along with his hand raised. Is it simply me, or have American fighters been struggling to choose up the W in entrance of residence crowds?
Judges: I don’t need to take something away from what Romero and Whittaker did… however how within the hell was the ultimate spherical not a 10-Eight in favor of Romero? Whittaker was unable to place collectively any vital offense in that spherical whereas Romero got here thisnear placing away the champ. Do we want one other evaluate of how rounds needs to be scored?
CM Punk: Nobody will query Punk’s coronary heart. He didn’t quit and gained the respect of many individuals for his efficiency. I’ll even acknowledge his enchancment. Seriously although, can we please finish this PR stunt? It damages the credibility of the UFC… or what’s left of it. You don’t see the Toronto Raptors signing Drake simply because he’s an excellent fan. I get that MMA is a special sport than basketball, however given how usually Dana White likes to check the UFC to different giant sports activities, these comparisons are truthful sport in my ebook.
Claudia Gadelha: Gadelha acquired the win and I firmly believed she deserved it. Regardless, I perceive the place the gang was coming from after they booed the choice. Gadelha seemed far worse for put on on the finish of the combat, each eyes swollen shut whereas carrying out little or no within the closing spherical. She’s fortunate it wasn’t dominated a 10-Eight spherical. Bottom line: Gadelha gained contest, however she misplaced the combat. Y’all get what I’m placing down?
Carla Esparza: Esparza walked away with the love from the followers. Who would have guessed that after her tepid performances after dropping her title? Esparza maintained a excessive power degree and would have escaped with a win had this been a 5-spherical combat as Gadelha had nothing left. Even if Esparza didn’t go away together with her hand raised, she carried out higher than anybody anticipated and reestablished herself as a prime flight strawweight.
Ricardo Lamas: While I mentioned I wasn’t going to fault Bektic for his or her combat being much less-than-entertaining, I can’t fault Lamas both. He tried to execute takedowns early earlier than going for broke on submissions within the final spherical. Plus, I can’t name the man a loser when he got here again as aggressive as he did after his devastating KO loss to Josh Emmett final December. Lamas might not be a prime featherweight contender, however he’s nonetheless a troublesome out.
Chris de la Rocha and Rashad Coulter: The opening spherical to their contest was some of the entertaining rounds of MMA we’ve seen all yr. Sloppy? Undoubtedly, however who mentioned a combat must be technical to be enjoyable? The second spherical took each little bit of wind out of the sails as neither massive man had something left within the tank. In truth, it was up there for worst spherical of the yr for a serious MMA promotion. There might not be a extra definitive combat of how good and dangerous heavyweight MMA will be. For those that care, de la Rocha walked away the winner.
Ronda Rousey: Make no mistake, Rousey completely deserves her place within the Hall of Fame. She revolutionized girls’s MMA. That isn’t up for debate. However, as soon as the spectacular video bundle put collectively by the UFC was full, the noise of the gang might be heard on the printed loud and clear. It seems her much less-than-gracious exit from the game nonetheless has many followers sore. Here’s hoping her induction is usually a therapeutic of kinds for her relationship with MMA followers… for the sake of each side.
Illinois State Athletic Commission: I don’t know if they need to be recommended for stopping Romero’s weight reduce from going any additional or if they need to be condemned. What I do know is it may be debated all day and there gained’t be a consensus on what they did. Had they allowed Romero to proceed, it’s possible Whittaker’s title would have been on the road. Then once more, would Romero have been capable of do what he did in the event that they allowed him to proceed reducing? I don’t know and neither does anybody else.