After a quick start to the night, four of the first five contests ended early, UFC 225 played a bit of calm with some less inspiring contests. The low point was easily the CM Punk fight. The UFC would be wise to purge it from its archives, as it came in the middle of a stretch of six decisions in seven fights. Then came the main event between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. He could also have made a decision, but it was not a lack of effort on the part of the two fighters. They put what could have been a potential candidate for the Fight of the Year, coming to separate from each other on several occasions. Whittaker's victory turned out to be controversial, as there was much debate about how the judges scored in the last two rounds, but it does not detract from the quality of the contest.
Colby Covington won what he called a real belt despite the interim word attributed to him by showing a gas tank deeper than Rafael dos Anjos. However, he is in line to unify his belt with his former teammate Tyron Woodley, which seems to be one of the few contests that could make Woodley a fan favorite. In addition, Holly Holm returned to the track with a well-rounded performance. It may not have been a PPV of epic proportions, but the UFC 225 proved to be a good rebound from a series of events that have proved disappointing.
Robert Whittaker: Can someone tell me how? Whittaker survived those bursts of offense that Romero applied to him? I considered moving Whittaker from the winners' column based solely on the amount of damage Whittaker suffered. In the end, however, Whittaker won one of the best fights in recent memory despite suffering what appears to be a broken hand at the beginning of the contest. He could have had a bit of luck when the judges lined up with him in the split decision, but now he has two wins over Romero at the middleweight … two more than anyone. Some of the names that have tried and failed to put only one loss on Romero: Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, Jacare Souza, Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold. Whittaker is legitimate.
Yoel Romero: More members of the media believed that the Cuban silver medalist won the contest than Whittaker, not that he had awarded the title to Romero. However, it does prove that Romero showed an impressive performance, since Whittaker looked great. In spite of everything, Romero still has to deliver a performance that the fans can not appreciate in any way. In fact, this may well have proven to be your best option. His energy level was affected by his difficult weight cut and he was still dangerously close to eliminating the current middleweight champion. Even if Romero never gets middleweight gold, and it seems unlikely that he will do so at this time, no one can deny that he is one of the best 185ers in the short history of MMA.
Colby Covington: While even Covington's mother finds him obnoxious, no one can deny that he executed an effective strategy that led him to wear out the energetic and long-lasting Rafael dos Anjos. Sure, the UFC comment team was a bit too favorable for the nasty American. That does not mean Covington did not win the fight. What can be more frustrating for fans is that Covington continues to improve his shot. The interim champion continues to improve …
Holly Holm: While Holm is best known for dethroning Ronda Rousey, the narrative was that she was a former boxing champion. We can officially call her a complete MMA fighter at this time. Out of a brief moment when Megan Anderson shook her in the first moments, Holm was in control all the time, using demolitions, shots, shots of distance … everything. I'm not on board with her fighting for another title of this victory, since her only other victory since the Rousey blast was over Bethe Correia. However, it seems that this victory over Anderson could do that.
Tai Tuivasa : This has much less to do with his performance in the cage, although he should be praised for taking a tough decision on Andrei Arlovski. No, this has a lot to do with Tuivasa's antics outside the cage. First, go to My Heart Will Go On, making the crowd participate in the singing. Then, when Joe Rogan is interviewing him, he asked for Rogan's shoe so he could drink beer. When Rogan refused to offer her shoe, Tuivasa went and got some shoes from the fans in the crowd for a couple of beers. His fun-loving personality makes it hard not to like him. Even if some find it unpleasant, Tuivasa is doing a great job of marketing.
Curtis Blaydes : Blaydes knocking down Overeem several times was not a surprise. Blaydes winning the standup was. Of course, that was because Overeem was respecting the demolitions, but that's part of MMA. And that GnP … DAMN! I do not know who taught him those elbows, but they were as brutal as any I've seen. Blaydes is real. Your claim for an opportunity for the title … I have no problem with that.
Mirsad Bektic : I admit that Bektic's victory over Ricardo Lamas was not the most entertaining and I often put a lot of action on that. But the guy deserves a lot of credit for fighting multiple attempts at submission and attempts to eliminate Lamas. Lamas did not leave him much opportunity to do much more than that. It does not mean that there are no holes that Bektic should not fill, but this was a great victory for those who leave.
Anthony Smith : A few years ago, Smith was a veteran of the regional scene who drank a cup of coffee in the UFC. Now that he has earned his way back to the big dance, Smith has won over former champions Hector Lombard and Rashad Evans. The victory over Evans was particularly impressive as he finished the legend with a brutal knee in less than a minute. It was not a bad advance in his career. Supports in his call from Sam Alvey too.
Sergio Pettis : The coup in Pettis has been his inability to beat an elite opponent. If you think that Joseph Benavidez is no longer elite, this was the best victory of Pettis' career. He may not have received as many hits as Benavidez, but he hit more clean punches than the former title challenger, proving to be the difference in the eyes of the judges. There does not seem to be a debate that Pettis' brother is superior at this point. In fact, Pettis could be looking for a title opportunity in the near future.
Charles Oliveira : It really should not be a surprise when one of the best submission artists in the sport presents one of the most submitted – it does not matter if that's not a word – fighters that the UFC Have you ever seen. But Oliveira desperately needed this victory after being destroyed by Paul Felder. He is still pushing for an ill-advised return to the featherweight, but I see no reason for him to do so when he can do exhibitions like this. Someone has to convince Chucky Olives 155 is your home. It's worth noting: Oliveira links Royce Gracie to the most submission victories in the UFC.
Dan Ige : Ige wasted no time in taking the fight to Mike Santiago, knocking the veteran to the ground and rapidly enclosing a body triangle. Santiago had nowhere to go and Ige continued to rain the punishment for his first UFC win … all in less than a minute. Awesome.
Tyron Woodley: I already mentioned why Woodley is a winner; the fans hate Covington so much that they are on Woodley's side. Given the boring nature of some of Woodley's recent contests, there were not many scenarios that could be favorable to the champion. This was one of them. Here is the hope that I can take advantage of the situation.
Rafael dos Anjos: Everyone had their hopes set on the former lightweight champion to silence the noisy Covington and Dos Anjos fell short. Some questioned his wrestling-based approach, but he was not able to match the volume presented by Covington's crazy rhythm on his feet. Anyway, something seemed to be out with the Brazilian and disappointed the fans.
Megan Anderson: Holly Holm is far from Charmain Tweet, Anderson's most notable victory in her career. If the improvement of Holm's fight is real, it's not a good look when Anderson is defeated again and again by the former boxing champion. Anderson has great potential, but it is clear that she needs some experience against the competition in the top flight before she can be labeled as a genuine contender. Maybe this was not such a bad experience for the Australian after all …
Mike Jackson : Jackson dominated his fight with CM Punk. He was expected to do it. However, he did it while it looked like a shower. There were many occasions during the contest where Jackson could have finished the contest. Instead, he chose to show himself in the guard of one Phil Brooks or simply hold him against the cage. I do not know if he thought he was being funny or what, it went wrong. I doubt anyone cares to see Jackson return to the UFC. If nobody wants to see it, there's no reason for the UFC to bring it back.
Alistair Overeem : Of course, Overeem did not manage to put his head into orbit as he did in his last contest against Francis Ngannou. But is it better to hit the head against the ground? Is there any other fighter in this sport who has received so many brutal blows? I know there are still fights that Overeem can win, but another ending like that and I do not think he wants to see Overeem in a cage.
Rashad Evans: There may not be a better indication that a fighter should quit smoking after being called a legend by the guy who just took the shit out of them. Evans has now lost five in a row since returning from ACL surgery, looking like a shell of his old self in every competition. While I would say that Smith is similar in quality to Dan Kelly and Sam Alvey, this loss is worse than those two since Smith finished it with minimal effort. I know I'm not the only one hoping he'll retire, but only Evans can make that decision.
Joseph Benavidez: If Benavidez was oxidized after the major knee surgery he was returning from or his father When he reached the time, Benavidez did not look like the guy whose only defeat in flyweight came against Demetrious Johnson. Do not get me wrong, Benavídez still seemed capable of beating 90% of the division and had a strong argument for victory after being the busiest fighter in the last two rounds. But it is no longer the number 2 flyweight indisputable in the world. Sad day, the UFC never considered it appropriate to give him a third chance in the belt.
Mike Santiago: Not only did he lose his third UFC contest in three attempts. Not only lost in less than a minute. He did it in his hometown. It's hard to see how it could be much worse for the veteran of the regional scene. There is a great chance that he will return to the minor leagues.
Chicago: I'm not destroying the city itself. Right in the fighters of the hometown, Blaydes was the only representative of Chicago who came out of the arena with his hand held high. Is it just me, or have the American fighters been fighting to pick up the W in front of the crowd?
Judges: I do not want to take anything away from what Romero and Whittaker did … but how in the hell was the final round, not a 10-8 in favor of Romero? Whittaker could not put up any significant offense in that round, while Romero came this close to taking the champion. Do we need another review of how the rounds should qualify?
CM Punk: No one will question Punk's heart. He did not give up and earned the respect of many people for his performance. I will even recognize your improvement. Seriously, can we finish this public relations trick? It damages the credibility of the UFC … or what's left of it. You do not see the Toronto Raptors signing Drake just because he's a super fan. I understand that MMA is a different sport than basketball, but given the frequency with which Dana White likes to compare the UFC with other big sports, those comparisons are a fair game in my book.
Claudia Gadelha : Gadelha got the victory and I firmly believed that she deserved it. Regardless, I understand where the crowd came from when they booed the decision. At the end of the fight, Gadelha looked much worse, both eyes swollen and very little in the final round. She is lucky that a round of 10-8 was not dictated. In short: Gadelha won the contest, but lost the fight. Do they take what I'm putting?
Carla Esparza : Esparza left with the love of the fans. Who would have guessed after his lukewarm performance after losing his title? Esparza maintained a high level of energy and would have escaped with a victory if this had been a five round bout since Gadelha had nothing left. Even if Esparza did not leave with her hand raised, she performed better than anyone expected and reestablished herself as a straw weight top.
Ricardo Lamas: While I said that I was not going to blame Bektic for his fight being less than entertaining, I can not blame Lamas either. He tried to execute demolitions early before going bankrupt in the presentations in the last round. Also, I can not call the guy a loser when he came back as aggressive as he did after his devastating knockout loss to Josh Emmett last December. Lamas can no longer be a top featherweight contender, but he remains a difficult opponent.
Chris de la Rocha and Rashad Coulter : The first round of his contest was one of the most entertaining MMA rounds we have seen all year. Sloppy? Without a doubt, but who said that a fight needs to be a technique to be fun? The second round eliminated all the wind from the sails, since none of the big men had anything left in the tank. In fact, he was there during the worst round of the year for a major MMA promotion. There may not be a more definitive fight over how good and bad heavyweights MMAs can be. For those who care, de la Rocha moved away from the winner.
Ronda Rousey: Make no mistake, Rousey absolutely deserves his place in the Hall of Fame. She revolutionized women's MMA. That is not for debate. However, once the impressive video package that the UFC completed was completed, the noise of the crowd was heard loud and clear in the broadcast. It seems that his unpleasant departure from the sport still has many aching fans. Here is the hope that his induction may be a kind of healing for his relationship with the MMA fanatics … for the good of both sides.
Illinois State Athletic Commission: I do not know if they should be commended for stopping Romero's weight cut going any further or if they should be convicted. What I do know is that it can be debated all day and there will be no consensus on what they did. If they had allowed Romero to continue, it is likely that Whittaker's title would have been at stake. Then, again, would Romero have been able to do what he did if they allowed him to continue cutting? I do not know and neither does anyone else.