Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 225 blew the roof off United Center last Saturday night (June 9, 2018) in Chicago, Illinois.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Alistair Overeem, who was knocked out by Curtis Blaydes (see it). And Rafael dos Anjos, who failed to become the fifth man to hold titles in two different divisions after he was outscored by Colby Covington for the interim welterweight strap.
But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?
Just a few days ago, “Soldier of God” was primed and ready to win UFC gold for the first time ahead of his middleweight title fight against champion Robert Whittaker. Then weigh-in day came, and our fears were realized once again as Romero failed to make weight, coming in .2 pounds heavy for his world title fight.
It was deja vu all over again as Yoel missed weight for his interim title fight against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221, making him ineligible to win the belt, which he would’ve done after he knocked out Rockhold rather viciously. Thankfully, “The Reaper” decided to go ahead with the bout and the two men proceeded to deliver one hell of a scrap.
When it was all said and done, both combatants were battered and bruised, the result of 25 minutes of hard-hitting action. The ringside judges’ opted to give the split decision to “Bobby Knuckles,” though not too many were convinced it was the right call. Nevertheless, Whittaker captures his ninth in a row, second straight against the Cuban-born fighter.
While talks of an immediate trilogy fight surfaced, the champion seemed non-committal, as did UFC president Dana White, who said he’d rather see Yoel move up to light heavyweight given his weight-cutting issues, missing his mark in consecutive title fights.
Interestingly enough, the former Olympian did say he was open to moving up to 205 pounds to face current division champion Daniel Cormier down the road at his recent Q & A during fight week. If he does move up, I highly doubt an immediate title shot would be in order.
Still, I don’t see him going up just yet, as he is still a force to be reckoned with at 185 pounds. Hopefully, he can get his weight issues in order moving forward. The only problem is matching him against a top 185-pounder is tough at the moment. Of five men ranked below him, he’s beaten four of them, taking out Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Derek Brunson and Jacare Souza. Going further down the line, he already holds win over Brad Tavares and Lyoto Machida, as well.
There is Kelvin Gastelum, but he’s in line for a shot at the title, in my opinion.
He can always face David Branch, the No. 8 ranked middleweight who is coming off a knockout win over Thiago Santos. But if he does move up to 205 pounds next, I wouldn’t mind seeing him face Alexander Gustafsson after his planned bout against Rockhold went up in smoke.
It’s not like “The Mauler” has anything else to look forward to at the moment, since Rockhold is hurt and Daniel Cormier has bigger fish to fry at UFC 226 on July 7.