UFC225 was a 3-in-1 deal, where every section (Fight pass prelims, TV prelims, Main card) could each be a main card on any given night. The main card featured 5 fights, all of which went to decisions, the 13 fights on the whole evening yielded only 5 finishes and still, 225 was a very entertaining card top to bottom.
Alright, let’s jump right to my picks. Then, we’ll chat about this, that and the other.
For your reference, my picks:
***Thanks to Google, the format should look slightly better***
Marshall Mathers Joseph Benavidez came back from some time on the shelf and met the surging Sergio, in what turned out to be (at least for me) the defining moment in young Pettis’s career. Having lost to Henry Cejudo (not something to be ashamed of), Pettis jumped right back against another top (in many people’s view THE top) opponent and man did he deliver the goods. I honestly thought that Joe’s wrestling and experience will make the difference, and in round 1 that’s what it looked like. Pettis hurt him early on, almost finished him it seemed, until Benavidez forced a takedown and I think did just enough to win the round. Rounds 2 and 3 continued to showcase Pettis as a very technical striker but with really impressive TD defense which made it possible for him to edge the UFC veteran and rightfully get the decision. Showtime Pettis!
0 for 1
I called it a gut feeling when I picked Blaydes, but I think many of us had it. Blaydes is very quick and explosive, and Reem seem to slow down quite a bit. with him being cautious and patient, that played in favor of Curtis’s game and he exploited it very intelligently. Just before the finish, Blaydes had Reem against the cage, landed a nice combo and instead of staying there, trying to kick-box with him, he took the man down and the rest is history.
1 for 2
For me that was quite the no brainer. I expected Jackson to finish, and I believe he could have. Punk didn’t show us any reason to believe he can close the gaps he previously showed, and Jackson at least has decent hands. Not much more to say. two 0-1-0 fighters meet, one comes out 1-1-0. I still credit Punk for trying and this is not sarcasm. He walked twice now into the octagon. How many times did his critics among us fans did?
2 for 3
I was thinking that this fight was going to end pretty quickly. I know Tuivasa has a chin on him, I also remembered that Andrei had issues with that same facial area and thought Tai will land and knock him out. Well, land they did, hard and often. Both guys bled their way through 3 rounds of entertaining action, at the end of which I agree with the judges call.
3 for 4
Holly may have had a rough patch, and people just LOVE to bring up her recent record (2-4) and they, ever so conveniently, neglect to mention who she lost to. Cause every fighter just breezes through Tate, Shevchenko, GDR (still mad) and of course that pushover – Cyborg. Anyway, none of that takes away from Holly’s justified status as a top contender at any given day. Last night? Well, we’ve seen a whole new Holly. A fighter who understood what went wrong against Miesha. As the shorter fighter (that’s a new one) she couldn’t employ her usual game plan, and instead did everything else and to perfection. Whether it was closing the distance quickly and jamming Anderson to the cage, feeding her a healthy diet of knees to thighs and quick punches, while demonstrating good wrist control, or taking her down and quite easily gaining top positions including mount. I don’t have much criticism for Megan, she simply met a great fighter with a great team behind her. This was Jackson-wink 101 right there.
4 for 5
Though I picked the right winner, this fight went all kinds of different to what I was expecting. First and foremost, as someone who truly dislikes Colby and everything he represents, let me state that there’s no robbery there. I would definitely agree that this could’ve gone either way, at least watching live it did feel like Colby threw and missed more, and his takedowns for the most part were simply that, take down, get up, exchange, lather-rinse-repeat. However, it achieved the desired result from his perspective and gave him the win. RDA couldn’t get separation, couldn’t rush and even tough he performed very well under these conditions, he couldn’t convince the judges. Now, although the twitter battle has begun, we’re left wondering when the real belt will be put on the line.
5 for 6
Robert Whittaker is one tough Aussie. Twice he faced a beast, twice he got injured during said fights, twice he won. Let me say this. This was no robbery either. Yes, Romero won two rounds but no, I wouldn’t give him a 10-8 for either, as Bobby knuckles fought out of those very hard spots he was put in, and mounted what attack he could of his own. This is not a knock on Romero either, as he came with a plan that almost got him the win. Conserving energy, timing Whittaker and lashing out like a rattlesnake when the opportunity presented itself, left him reasonably fresh for the duration of the 5 rounds. The champion, on the other hand, capitalized on every idle moment with a plethora of strikes to every level, not satisfied with head hunting. He made sure to mix in even a couple of TD attempts. Regardless of the score, this was a very entertaining and nerve wrecking fight that had us all at the edge of our seats (those of us who remained seated). Many people want to see #3 and I wouldn’t mind it myself. However, if for that purpose we’d have to go through another infamous Romero weight cuts… I’ll pass. There are some very interesting LHW opportunities there that would be both fun and safe for the Cuban phenom.
6 for 7
I admit, this wasn’t the most difficult card to predict, and I’ll forgive Eminvidez for ruining a perfect score. I’ll take 6 for 7 any day.
Colby Covington is everything I dislike in current era MMA. And I hold you Conor McGregor responsible! Every Tom, Dick and Harry now tries to emulate what shouldn’t be emulated. Colby – you are not funny. You are not witty. You do not deliver Conor-like cage performances. You are… not Conor. So do us all a favor and stop trying. It really is embarrassing to be an MMA fan at times… now with the belt I fear this is only going to get more cringe-y. I’m going to go on a limb here and say that Woodley finishes Covington in the first round. I just hope this fight happens sooner, rather than later.
Sergio Pettis, a flyweight top contender. Try that on for size. Mighty Mouse is scheduled to defend again Vs. Cejudo, and after that m-a-y-b-e we will get the fight we all actually want – TJ. However I think it’s safe to say that Young Sergio positioned himself as the #1 contender in this division, and watching his fights it is plenty clear that this guy works hard at rounding up his game. He earned a title shot. Just a matter of time now.
If we’re talking contenders, we have to start using the name Curtis Blaydes in the discussion. In a division, thin with guys who can make a claim to a fight with Miocic (or maybe DC?), a guy who finished Overeem should definitely be in the very short shortlist of possible contenders. Unless we’re going to see a trilogy between Stipe and Cormier, I believe Blaydes can start sharpening his razor.
Yoel Romero needs to go up to 205. I’m not saying anything here that wasn’t said before, just emphasizing. At a weight he can make without nearly killing himself, would he not have more energy? The power is there. He could knock 205ers today with a punch. Why not? There’s no “rubber match” to be made. Just like there wasn’t for BJ Vs. GSP. LHW could be a good home for him, and we might save some anxiety before future 185 title fights. I already wrote last time that Gastelum should be next in line. I still think this is the case.
While we’re on the topic, I get why people get frustrated with the 185.2 weigh-in, but honestly there’s simply not much to do about it. A certain weight needs to be reached. It COULD be 185 or 186 or 291. In the end of the day there will be a line that needs to be drawn and while .2 pounds does seem ridiculous, it is simply over that line. Some fighters can make 185 and some can’t, it is life. There are plenty of ideas about what to do, and I’ve raised some in the past, but under the current rules it is what it is…
Performance of the night: Curtis Blaydes making a statement.
This time I’ll add “Best corner advice of the night (ever?)”:
Fight of the night: Robert Whittaker Vs. Yoel Romero. This fight had everything a healthy MMA fan needs.
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