If you can look past Joseph Benavidez versus Sergio Pettis being on the Fight Pass “Prelims” undercard being a possible indictment on the Flyweight division, you might see it as an indication of just how many top tier match-ups are scheduled to go down at UFC 225 in Chicago, Ill., this Saturday night (June 9, 2018). Indeed, this pay-per-view (PPV) event would be one of the few times I would suggest that casual fans tune in for all 13 scheduled bouts. Perhaps you aren’t the kind of person who is willing to dedicate an entire evening to a combat sports event. In that case, this is the exact right post for you. You can click the video above or continue reading and I’ll provide you with my top four fights that I think you should watch at the UFC 225 this weekend.
#4. Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
This is basically a random fight in the middle of the card; however, Lamas-Bektic edged out some other really good fights on this card to round out my list.
If you’ve ready my posts in the past you might know that I have a soft spot in my fandom for Bektic because he is a rare fighter on UFC’s roster who went to high school in Nebraska. Bias aside, he has a lot of potential and raw athleticism that, if honed correctly, could take him to the title contention. He is another young guy who has a solid wrestling base and improving striking skills. It doesn’t hurt my level of hype for this fight that he is coming off of a “Performance of the Night” victory over Godofredo Pepey.
Lamas is — and has been for a long time — right where Bektic wants to be, which is at the top of the 145-pound division. His skill set is such that he could finish any opponent in the blink of an eye with opportunistic submission attempts and he too has solid offensive wrestling. Lamas could possess enough of a wrestling prowess to negate Bektic’s smothering attacks and result in a striking battle that will tell us a lot about Bektic’s progression.
#3. Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
The FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” main event between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes should be a blast. I have to admit that I’m mostly excited about this fight because of Blaydes’ possible future title hopes. This kid is only 27 years old with a devastating wrestling arsenal that he can always fall back on when in trouble and has shown improvement in his striking skills. In a division that needs youth, Blaydes is a godsend.
Let us not forget about Overeem. At one point he was in “Greatest Of All Time” discussions. For good reason, he is the former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, DREAM Heavyweight champion, and K-1 2010 World Grand Prix champion. Overeem has defeated a “Who’s Who” of Heavweight contenders. No matter the result of this fight, Overeem turning away a youngster or Blaydes becoming a possible title challenger, this fight is must-watch television.
#2. Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
Coming in second place, reluctantly, is the co-main event UFC interim Welterweight championship title fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington. I didn’t want to call attention to Covington this week, because, quite frankly, I can’t stand his gimmick. However, because of his insufferable trash talk and ho-hum performances I’ve become emotionally invested.
Numerous fight fans are up-in-arms about the interim title nature of this bout, but I’m not bothered by second place belts (although I do wish they were silver instead of gold). At least it gives us a clear No. 1 contender who the champion, Tyron Woodley in this case, must defend their truly gold strap against. I like that dos Anjos is getting this opportunity. He is the former UFC Lightweight champion, has looked amazing since moving to 170 pounds, crushed the then-ranked No. 6 Welterweight, Nel Magny, and most recently defeated the former Welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler, via dominant unanimous decision.
Covington, though, is a nightmare stylistic opponent for dos Anjos, which is why I’m fully prepared for the heel in this fight to be the victor and make me like him even less. Love him or hate him, Covington gives us a reason to care.
#1. Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero 2
Obviously, the main event rematch between UFC Middleweight champion, Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker, and challenger, Yoel “The Soldier of God” Romero, takes the top spot. Running fights back too soon can turn off fight fans, but in this case, I believe I’m in the majority with my thirst for this championship reiteration. To that point, their first fight ended up at the “Fight of the Night” bonus award winner at UFC 213.
Whittaker has incredible takedown defense, is nimble, and hits extremely hard in combinations. Romero, meanwhile, is one of the most decorated amateur wrestlers UFC has ever seen — a freak of nature with his explosiveness and a fun character in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). With that said, the stylistic match-up clearly deserves attention regardless of the fact it’s for the championship of my favorite division.
I know I’ve shown a lot of bias with my top four, but c’mon ... I’m a fight fan just like you! Please tell me your top three or four in the comment section. #Namaste
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 225 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.