UFC 225 might be the best MMA event we have seen in quite some time – assuming injuries or weight-cutting issues don’t rear their ugly heads. The card features a huge middleweight bout, as Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero rematch after their highly competitive bout last year while Rafael dos Anjos looks to accomplish history against Colby Covington.
With an incredibly deep card filled with former title challengers from top to bottom, making bets could be difficult. Don’t worry, I’m here to give you all the predictions and betting odds for UFC 225 on June 9.
|Straight Up||Picking Favorites||Picking Underdogs|
Robert Whittaker vs Yoel Romero
Whittaker (-260) is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the world. “The Reaper” prefers to strike and is able to gauge distance well despite being relatively short in stature for the division. He will continuously throw jabs and kicks to keep the proper distance until he can explode inside with his speed and unleash powerful combinations. Whittaker is one of the best defensive grapplers in the game, with a takedown defense over 86 percent. He typically defends takedowns due to his movement and distance control but you saw in the first fight with Romero his unwillingness to give up a takedown without maximum effort from his opponent.
There are no clear holes in Whittaker’s game. He is hittable due to his desire to push the pace but he’s not bad defensively. He’s not an ace in terms of offensive wrestling but he can compete if he gets top control.
Romero (+200) is an athletic marvel. Despite being 41 years old, he has the speed and athleticism that most fighters can only dream of. He has parlayed this nicely in the striking game, as he floats around until he can explode forward in a flurry of bombs. He can be a little tentative in the striking game, but this means he can pace his cardio. “The Soldier of God” is also an Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. Much like his striking, Romero explodes into takedown attempts that make it extremely hard for his opponent to stop him. If Romero gets on top and starts working ground and pound, most opponents are done.
Romero gasses. There are no two ways about it; his entire style is built around controlled bursts of energy to pace out his cardio as much as possible. We saw in the first Whittaker fight, he gassed himself by constantly attempting the takedown – but he did control himself much better in his most recent bout vs Luke Rockhold.
Romero has started to address some of his issues with his cardio, which makes him more dangerous. But Whittaker fought the first fight on a badly damaged leg and was still able to use aggression in the striking game and excellent takedown defense to win. A fully healthy Whittaker should only look better.
Prediction: Robert Whittaker (-260) via decision
Rafael dos Anjos vs Colby Covington
Dos Anjos (+110) is mainly a pressure fighter who excels at dictating the pace of the fight. RDA typically works behind a consistent pumping jab and some brutal leg kicks. Once he can force an opponent to the cage, dos Anjos either blitzes with heavy hands or grinds out a takedown. Though his striking has made huge strides over the past several years, his wheelhouse is still the grappling game. Once on a mat, RDA passes guard swiftly and smoothly, allowing him to either utilize his heavy-handed ground and pound or his third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Covington (-140) is one of the most tenacious, aggressive wrestlers in MMA today. “Chaos” was a former D1 collegiate wrestler and bases his entire game around getting the takedown. It’s not always pretty – in fact, it almost never is – but Covington is relentless and will grind his opponent out over the course of a fight. He has steady ground and pound plus a knack for getting his opponent’s neck on the mat. Covington’s striking is sufficient but is more or less there to complement his takedown attempts.
Covington has never fought a fighter as well-rounded as dos Anjos. That being said, if Covington gets RDA to the ground, it’s almost impossible to do much about it – see Demian Maia. All and all, I expect a close 48-47 fight in favor of dos Anjos.
Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos (+110) via decision
Holly Holm vs Megan Anderson
Holm (-175) is at her best when she can dictate the space of the fight. The former pro boxer is great at chipping away at her opponent from a distance thanks to her footwork. At this distance, “The Preacher’s Daughter” tends to throw a steady diet of lefts and wait for her opportunity to counter. Making the fight a dirty, brawling affair makes Holm hittable. Her defensive grappling is above average but exists to keep a fight standing.
Anderson (+145) has proven herself to be one of the best featherweights in the world thanks to her reach and power. The Aussie is incredibly lanky and uses her reach well, but does so while still pressuring an opponent – due to her feints. She has natural power you can’t teach, knocking out her last four opponents. However, she can be overly aggressive and get countered. As a grappler, Anderson is green but uses her natural power well.
I truly believe that Holm is a little overrated. Her skill is almost unparalleled but she is just 1-4 in her last five fights. Her counter-striking game could catch an anxious Anderson but I believe Holm will struggle when giving up so much reach to her opponent.
Prediction: Anderson (+145) via decision
Andrei Arlovski vs Tai Tuivasa
Arlovski (+180) is one of the all-time greats in MMA heavyweight history but age is catching up to him. “The Pit Bull” still has lethal speed and power in his hands – specifically his right – but he gets into firefights that his deteriorating chin can no longer sustain. Arlovski has good clinch work and great takedown defense but his grappling is there to keep a fight standing.
Tuivasa (-230) is an aggressive knockout artist. “Bam Bam” has never seen a second round, knocking out all seven of his pro MMA opponents within the first five minutes. He likes to move forward – flashing a nice jab and a mean hook – but is plenty capable of countering in short spurts. We have seen next to nothing from his grappling, so that is a mystery.
Tuivasa should render Arlovski unconscious in this one. The only way Arlovski wins is if he can survive an early barrage and Tuivasa gasses in the later rounds. I just can’t envision Arlovski being able to handle that sort of flurry anymore.
Prediction: Tai Tuivasa (-230) via knockout
CM Punk vs Mike Jackson
Let’s be frank – there is almost nothing to look at here. Punk (+170) and Jackson (-210) have about three minutes of combined professional MMA experience. Both were completely dummied by Mickey Gall and this has the chance to be the least skilled fight in UFC history.
That being said, I’m betting on Punk. I can’t in good conscience bet on Jackson as a -225 favorite. Sure, Jackson has more combat sports experience but he is a striker and from everything I’ve seen, Punk is more of a grappler. And I will typically give the edge to a grappler in a 50/50 fight like this one.
But take my word – this fight will not go the distance. I’ve watched a lot of low-level MMA in my life and those fights end quickly. Elite-level fighters don’t make mistakes, which causes fights to go on longer. Less experienced fighters make a lot more mistakes and eventually, one of the two combatants will capitalize on something.
Prediction: CM Punk (+170) via knockout