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UFC 225 start time, TV schedule, who is fighting tonight at ‘Whittaker vs Romero 2’

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Sat., June 9, 2018) to stage UFC 225 from inside United Center in Chicago, Ill., on pay-per-view (PPV). The event will be headlined by a five-round, non-title fight between Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. In the co-main event, Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington will collide for the interim Welterweight strap.

What’s Hot:

Since 2014, Whittaker has been on an absolute tear, climbing his way up the 185-pound ladder to the tune of eight-straight victories, defeating the likes of Derek Brunson, Ronaldo Souza and then Yoel Romero to claim the interim division title. Now, the undisputed champion, “Reaper” had the chance to defend his belt for the first time against Romero, but “Soldier of God” failed to make weight for the title fight.

It will have been nearly one year since Whittaker last competed because of several injuries, but he seems primed and ready to prove he is beyond a shadow of a doubt the best fighter in the 185-pound weight class. Romero, meanwhile, has also been kicking ass and taking names, winning eight of nine since 2013 with his lone loss coming to Whittaker, And he’s been terrorizing his opponents, knocking out Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Tim Kennedy on his way to the top of the mountain. Now that he has a chance to get one back against “Bobby Knuckles” he will do so without the possibility of winning the strap. Both men have only gotten better, so this fight should still be one of the best of the year. But you’re lying if you say the non-title aspect of it doesn’t take a bit away from it.

Colby Covington, for better or worse, has talked his way into a title fight, albeit an interim one, as he will face former Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event of the evening. While his gimmick has been wearing thin on just about everybody, “Chaos” has been putting in work inside the Octagon, winning five straight and eight of nine overall.

Taking out dos Anjos, however, will be a tall order as the Brazilian bomber is as tough as they come, defeating Robbie Lawler in his previous bout. Since moving up to 170, “RDA” has been perfect, winning his first three fights in the division. His win over “Ruthless,” though, was highly-impressive given the fact that he went toe-to-toe with one of the hardest hitters in the game and beat him at his own specialty. He has a chance to make history by becoming only the fifth fighter to win two titles in as many divisions. In the process, he can score a huge victory for his native country after Covington bashed Brazil on multiple occasions.

Holly Holm seems to be a fighter without a home. Better yet, she’s a fighter with two homes, as the former women’s Bantamweight champion has been moving up and down from the 135-pound weight class up to Featherweight with results that haven’t exactly been in her favor. After coughing up her bantamweight strap to Miesha Tate in 2016, Holm went on to lose to Valentina Shevchenko in her following bout. In a move that baffled many, “The Preacher’s Daughter” then fought for the inaugural women’s 145-pound title, despite the fact she was coming off two defeats. But hey, if UFC gives you the opportunities, you’d be a fool not to take them. Still, Holly came up short against Germaine de Randamie and suffered her third-straight defeat.

After that, she went back down to 135 pounds to school Bethe Correia. Six months later, Holm found herself in yet another title fight, this time moving back up to 145 pounds to challenge the most dominate female fighter in the history of MMA, Cris Cyborg. After five rounds of fighting, Holm once again came up short in her bid to win her second title in as many weight classes. Now, she will face Megan Anderson, the former Invicta FC featherweight champ in hopes of getting back to the big dance. And since the 145-pound weight class, or 135, doesn’t have a legit contender to either champion, the former boxing champion could find herself in a title fight sooner, rather than later. Of course, Anderson is looking to squash all of that as she is determined to start her UFC career of with a bang. Winner of four straight, Anderson has the size to give Holm fits and send her to her fifth loss in six outings. This one will be interesting.

What’s Not:

Even the biggest critic out there can’t complain about this card.

Original Card vs Actual Card:

Surprisingly, all of the major bouts stayed intact, with only Chris de la Rocha stepping in to face Rashad Coulter after Allen Crowder was forced out of the event for undisclosed reasons. That said, Bobby Green — who hasn’t had the best of luck in UFC — was forced out of his bout against Clay Guida for undisclosed reasons and was ultimately replaced by Charles Oliveira.


The injury bug, thankfully, stayed away from this event. Though the fact that Romero and Whittaker won’t be a title fight is a bummer.

New Blood:

Megan Anderson will finally maker her long-awaited Octagon debut against former women’s bantamweight title holder Holly Holm in main card action. The former Invicta FC featherweight title holder was rumored to face Cris Cyborg on a few occasions in her first-ever UFC fight, but for one reason or another that bout never came to be. Now, Anderson will look to earn herself a shot at Cyborg’s strap by taking out the former boxing champion of the world. For a more detailed look at Megan’s journey to the Octagon, take a look at our very own Patrick Stumberg’s detailed piece on Anderson right here.

How The Prelims Look:

You know, last week I was pretty harsh on UFC Utica, as that event simply did nothing for me. But I felt I was warranted, as the card didn’t really have much to offer on paper. While the bouts were entertaining, I was still baffled by the lineup and the Friday booking.

When we take a look at UFC 225’s underbelly, you wonder why the promotion feels the need to over-stack one event and leave another hanging dry. I get it, on PPV events you want the free portion of it to be exciting to drum up interest to purchase the PPV card.

But when I look at the prelims for UFC 225, that could easily have been UFC Fight Night 131 in Utica. The main event of the Fox Sports 1 prelims will see Alistair Overeem take on surging heavyweight Curtis Blaydes in what is sure-to-be a hard-hitting contest. Then we have an intriguing women's’ strawweight bout between former division champion Carla Esparza taking on Claudia Gadelha, a former title challenger. In men’s featherweight action, Ricardo Lamas takes on Mirsad Bektic. Bektic got back on the winning track against Godofredo Pepey after having his “0” taken by Darren Elkins. Now, the hard-hitting 145-pounder looks to start another winning streak against longtime veteran Lamas. This is a fight I’m really looking forward to.

And we’re not done.

The Fight Pass portion of the event is very good, as well, as it will feature former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans face off against Anthony Smith. It’s a big fight for Evans, as he looks to avoid losing his fifth in a row against Smith. Furthermore, former two-time UFC title challenger Joseph Benavidez will make his long-awaited return to action to face off against Sergio Pettis. And if that weren’t enough, the always-entertaining Clay Guida will face Charles Oliveira after a late switch. Seriously, you take this undercard and it could easily be a UFC fight card on big FOX.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

It’s been a tough fall for Rashad Evans, the former 205-pound kingpin who seemed poised to make a long run as champion and have a long and prosperous career inside the Octagon. While it started off great, the last five years have been anything but, as “Suga” has dropped his last four outings dating back to 2013.

While losing to Glover Teixeira and Chael Sonnen is nothing to hang your head low over, when you lose to Dan Kelly and Sam alvey after taking on and defeating the best in the world, people start wondering what’s going on. And no disrespect to either of those two guys, but Evans has defeated the best-of-the best. Now, Evans will look to prove he still has some fight left in him as he attempts to break his losing streak against Anthony Smith. Should he drop his fifth straight, there is no telling where he goes from here.

Interest Level: 10/10

I mean, this card is stacked from top to bottom, literally. Sure, we will no longer get to see Romero try to become champion, but the fights are still incredible and I feel like they will all deliver is some fashion. Plus, CM Punk returns after a two-year break to show the world that it wasn’t a mistake for UFC to give him a shot, let alone two, when he takes on Mike Jackson. Mike has wanted this fight for a while, and now that he’s got it he has a chance to make some money and perhaps put an end to the CM Punk experiment.

Also, Tai Taiuvusa will look to continue his ascension up the Heavyweight ladder when he faces off against longtime veteran Andrei Arlovski. Winner of two in a row, “Pitbull” looks to show the upcoming, undefeated fighter that he isn’t ready to give up his spot in the big man landscape, especially on his home turf.

We are in for a fun night of fights, folks.

Fight Card:

UFC 225 PPV Main Event:

185.2 lbs.: UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero

UFC 225 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):

170 lbs.: Colby Covington vs. Rafael dos Anjos for interim Welterweight title
145 lbs.: Megan Anderson vs. Holly Holm
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
170 lbs.: C.M. Punk vs. Mike Jackson

UFC 225 Prelims On FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):

265 lbs.: Curtis Blaydes vs. Alistair Overeem
115 lbs.: Carla Esparza vs. Claudia Gadelha
145 lbs.: Mirsad Bektic vs. Ricardo Lamas
265 lbs.: Rashad Coulter vs. Chris De La Rocha

UFC 225 Prelims On Fight Pass (6:15 p.m. ET):

205 lbs.: Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
125 lbs.: Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
155 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
145 lbs.: Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago

For more upcoming UFC events click here.

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