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Fightin’ Words: UFC 225 - CM Punk's Attempt At Redemption

By Kevin Wallace Jun 5, 2018 - 8:07 AM print

Welcome back friends to another installment of your favorite monthly column, “Fightin’ Words”. This month we take a look at the main card of UFC 225 which features two title fights, former WWE professional wrestler CM Punk fighting maybe the only person on the roster he may beat as well as a bunch of other awesomeness. With that being said, let’s take a look at what’s going down this weekend in Chicago.

UFC Middleweight Championship: Robert “Bobby Knuckles” Whittaker (19-4) vs Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (13-2)- A much anticipated rematch headlines a stacked card this Saturday as UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker makes his first title defense of the championship he won last year against the same guy he won it from. Robert Whittaker made a name for himself on the season of TUF: Smashes back in 2012 where he competed as a welterweight. Despite starting his UFC career with a 2-2 record, Whittaker decided to make a move up in weight to the middleweight division and has since gone 7-0 with notable wins over Derek Brunson, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero. A striker by nature with much underrated takedown defense to go along with a fan friendly fighting style, Whittaker is often overlooked in fights and always leaves the doubters looking stupid. Challenging Robert Whittaker once again is Yoel Romero who had an eight fight winning streak snapped last July by Whittaker. Before an injury that sidelined Whittaker last year, Whittaker was to defend his title against top contender Luke Rockhold but when Whittaker was unable to compete, Romero stepped in and knocked out Rockhold in the third round earning his rematch with Whittaker. At 41 years of age, Romero has the build of the Incredible Hulk and can knock you out with one punch or dominate you with his wrestling skills but he wasn’t able to do either all that well in the first meeting with the two as it seemed that for every offensive flurry he offered, Whittaker was able to beat him to the punch. The first time these guys fought it was a pretty closely contested fight with both having success but ultimately Whittaker being the one able to dig deep in the final round. Romero’s movement is a thing of beauty to watch and often times he throws big haymakers from incredibly odd angles which usually leaves opponents slumped over on the mat and the last time these two fight was no exception with Romero landing a big leg kick in the first round that seemed to hurt Whittaker. Even with the leg injury, Whittaker was able to win three of five rounds and I think he can do the same in this one if his keeps his range and stays out of the pocket with Romero instead working from range and mixing in low and high kicks. This should be a really good main event on a really stacked show but I think it ends the same way as the first with Whittaker winning the majority of the rounds and walking away from Chicago with the title firmly in his grasp.

Prediction: Whittaker by unanimous decision

UFC Interim Welterweight Championship: Rafael Dos Anjos (28-9) vs Colby “Chaos” Covington (13-1)- This is more or less a glorified “number one contender matchup” between a loud mouth hater of all things Brazil, Colby Covington, taking on former UFC lightweight champion and Brazilian, Rafael Dos Anjos. Coming off back to back wins over Dong Hyun Kim and Demian Maia, Covington has also stepped up his smack talk as of late earning himself a great deal of attention and ultimately leading to this fight. A top level wrestler, Covington has the wrestling style that gives opposition a lot of difficulty as he is always looking for the takedown and relentless with his pursuit which usually sees his opponents dumped on their back for the better part of fifteen minutes. As great as Colby’s wrestling is, his striking isn’t anything worth writing home about but with only one loss in 14 fights his wrestling has seen him make up for it. Facing off with Colby is Rafael Dos Anjos who’s gone 3-0 since moving up to welterweight from lightweight most recently defeating former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. One of the most well rounded fighter in the sport, Dos Anjos packs power in his hands and is also quite comfortable on the mat. With current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley electing to have surgery instead of facing either of these two, the UFC decided to book this fight for the “interim championship” setting up the winner with a shot at Woodley later on this year. In Colby’s last fight with Demian Maia, following the win, Colby referred to the Brazilians in the crowd as “filthy animals” and referred to Brazil as a “dump” which although stupid, put him on the map. Now that all the talking is done Colby will now need to back it up and against a calm, former champion with a high fight IQ looking to defend his countries honor. As big as Colby is and as dominant as his wrestling has been, he’s going to struggle against someone far more well rounded then he and despite me thinking that Dos Anjos may be too small for the 170lb division, he’s had more five round fights throughout his career and is much better conditioned then the still evolving Covington. I like Dos Anjos to keep this fight standing where he batters Colby for a late stoppage or one sided five round decisions.

Prediction: Dos Anjos by unanimous decision

“The Preachers Daughter” Holly Holm (11-4) vs Meagan Anderson (8-2)- With these two girls being two of only a few UFC women’s featherweights on the roster, a win for either girl puts them in line to face champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Former Invicta women’s featherweight champion Meagan Anderson makes her UFC debut against one of the sport’s most well known female fighters, Holly Holm which is no easy welcome to the promotion. Holm steps into this one in what has to be considered a must win for her with only one win in her last five fights. At 36 years of age Holm doesn’t have much time left in this sport and if she plans on ever contending for another championship then she will need to stop the progress of a rising young star. Anderson is eight years younger than Holm, will enjoy a four inch reach advantage and is a more aggressive striker than Holm all being difficult challenges for Holm to prepare for and at this stage in her career with how she’s looked for the last couple years I don’t think it ends well for her. Expect this fight to be contested only on the feet, which is where both girls feel most comfortable, with both girls landing solid shots but Anderson’s aggressiveness pushing the pace earning favor in the eyes of the judges.

Prediction: Anderson by unanimous decision

Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa (7-0) vs Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (27-15-1)- Despite a five fight losing span lasting 18 months, Arlovski enters this fight coming off back to back victories over Junior Albini and Stefan Struve. A former UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski has been counted out several times throughout his career but can still use his experience to pull off an upset every now and then. With only seven career mixed martial arts fight to date, Tai Tuivasa may have relatively low cage experience in comparison to his opponent but his devastating striking power will likely even the odds. All seven of Tuivasa’s wins have come by knockout in the first round and I don’t think this fight goes and differently. Arlovski may be able to move in and out of exchanges due to his speed here and if given a chance to get the fight to the mat then he may have some success but Tuivasa is a big 265lb beast of a man and Arlovski is no Cain Velasquez with his takedowns. Tuivasa may only be 25 years old but he trains with Mark Hunt and has a similar build and fighting style and this is a great match up for him to showcase his skills and get a highlight reel finish against a legend in the sport. Expect Tuivasa to land a big over hand right within the first five minutes to extend his UFC winning streak to three and likely also earn another performance of the night bonus.

Prediction: Tuivasa by knockout

CM Punk (0-1) vs Mike Jackson (0-1)- I had hoped this would be on the undercard and that I wouldn’t have to spend any time on talking about this one, but here it goes. Two guys with aspirations of becoming mixed martial arts fighters decided to give it a shot and despite embarrassing results in each man's debuts both at the hands of Mickey Gall, they give it another go in the hometown of one, Chicago, Illinois. Mike Jackson is primarily a striker with self admittedly very little knowledge of the ground game which was evident in his UFC debut against Mickey Gall. Gall took Jackson down with ease and submitted him in :45 seconds which is likely never to warrant a second chance inside the UFC unless of course your opponent did nearly the exact same thing. CM Punk may have been a successful professional wrestler but he’s struggled to learn the basics in mixed martial arts and with Mike Jackson having had some boxing and kick boxing fights in his past and being only 33 years to Punks 39 its likely to end badly for Punk. Randy Couture CM Punk is not and at 36 years old it’s a rough go to learn something new on a real high level and he can practice looking cool on the walk to the octagon while that terrible cult of personality song plays and let all the crowds cheers feed his ego but when that referee says “let’s fight”, CM Punk becomes Phil Brooks, a limited athlete in a sport he’s not cut out for and gets knocked out by a slightly better fighter with far more experience in throwing real punches. Punk’s finisher was the “go to sleep” which is fitting as that’s likely what will happen to him on Saturday night.

Prediction: Jackson by knockout


Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (43-16-1) vs Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (9-1-1)- Prediction: Overeem by knockout

Joseph Benavidez (25-4) vs Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis (16-3)- Prediction: Benavidez by unanimous decision

Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha (15-3) vs Carla “The Cookie Monster” Esparza (13-4)- Prediction: Gadelha by unanimous decision

Mirsad Bektic (12-1) vs Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas (18-6)- Prediction: Bektic by unanimous decision

Anthony “Lionheart” Smith (28-13) vs “Suga” Rashad Evans (19-7-1)- Prediction: Smith by knockout

Mike “Little Bully” Santiago (19-10) vs “Dynamite” Dan Ige (8-1)- Prediction: Santiago by unanimous decision

Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (34-17) vs Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira (22-8-1)- Prediction: Oliveira by submission

Rashad Coulter (8-3) vs Allen Crowder (9-3)- Prediction: Coulter by knockout

Well that’s all for now but I hope you enjoyed the column and return next month as I break down another two title fight show, UFC 226 headlined by UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defending his championship against UFC Lightheavyweight champion Daniel “D.C.” Cormier and co-headlined by UFC featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway defending his title against top ranked featherweight Brian “T-City” Ortega . Take care everyone!

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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 226: Miocic vs Cormier
Jul 5, 2018
Fightin’ Words: UFC 225 - CM Punk's Attempt At Redemption
Jun 5, 2018
Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 224: Nunes vs Pennington
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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 223: Nurmagomedov vs Holloway
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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 222: Cyborg vs Kunitskaya
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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 221: Romero vs Rockhold
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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 220: Miocic vs Ngannou
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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 215: Johnson vs Borg
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