The action unfolds later tonight (Sat., June 9, 2018) at UFC 225 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside United Center in Chicago, Ill., as UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker takes on Cuban juggernaut Yoel Romero in a five-round main event.
In addition to the headlining rematch, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will collide with 170-pound contender Colby Covington for the interim welterweight title, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will welcome former Invicta FC featherweight queen Megan Anderson to the Octagon, former UFC heavyweight titleholder Andrei Arlovski will try to make it three in a row against rising prospect Tai Tuivasa, and former WWE superstar CM Punk will make his return to the cage against Mike Jackson.
But, before the premier bouts get underway on PPV starting at 10 p.m. ET, UFC 225’s dynamite “Prelims” action will go down on Fight Pass starting at 6:15 p.m. ET and FOX Sports 1 starting at 8 p.m. ET.
Find out what happened right here as the UFC 225 undercard recaps roll in real-time:
Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
It was slow in the early going. Overeem (43-17, 1 NC) tried to feel the situation out while Blaydes (10-1, 1 NC) waited for a takedown attempt. Two minutes elapsed before the first strike was thrown - a Blaydes high kick. Blaydes would soon find a home for a takedown and score valuable top points on a defensive “Reem.” The second round saw Overeem land a huge knee and then a right hand that hurt Blaydes, but Blaydes was able to take him down. Overeem unexpectedly went for an ankle lock, but the younger heavyweight survived and popped his leg out. Overeem started to show a leg injury when the action returned to the feet. Blaydes stalked him down and landed some solid damage before bringing the action to the canvas again. The wrestler would grind “Reem” away and tire him before the end of the round. In the third, Overeem found a home for some hard body kicks. Blaydes responded with a barrage of powerful punches along the cage before taking Overeem down. From there, Blaydes would pressure the striker. Eventually, Blaydes postured up and blasted Overeem with heavy elbows before Overeem’s face busted open and the referee stopped the action.
Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
Gadelha (16-3) clipped Esparza (13-5) early and grabbed a hold of her neck. Esparza regrouped and got back to her feet, but Gadelha continued to press the action on the feet with her hands and elbows. Out of nowhere Esparza leveled the Brazilian with a short right hand. Gadelha staggered around before the former champion took her down. The action would return to the feet before Gadelha scored a takedown of her own. The Brazilian nearly locked in a guillotine choke before the first bell. In Round 2, both women came out firing in the center of the cage. Esparza pushed forward with combinations on the move, while Gadelha stay edplanted and launched counter shots. The two would tie up along the cage before Gadelha secured a timely takeodown. Esparza would land some good elbows off her back. The third frame saw Esparza land another huge right hand that clearly stunned Gadelha. Gadelha didn’t move much and Esparza really took control on the feet, finding a home for hard leg kicks, superman punches, and strikes to the body. She was constantly scoring points inside and then quickly jumped out before eating a counter. Gadelha would temporarily end up in top control, but Esparza transitioned over and scored hard ground-and-pound before the fight came to a close. In the end, it was Gadelha who somehow walked away with the split-decision win.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
Lamas (18-7) came out with a quick takedown, but Bektic (13-1) got back to his feet in fashion. Both men exchanged hard knees inside along the cage. Bektic clipped Lamas on the go before pushing him against the fence again. Bektic was able to secure a takedown and keep top control but didn’t do much damage. The second round saw Bektic let his hands go a little more as Lamas struggled to find his range. One of the shots cut “Bully” below his left eye. Lamas tried to get inside and do some work with his wrestling but Bektic’s defense was stout, stuffing seven of seven takedowns through the first 10 minutes. The third frame saw a desperate Lamas push the pace a little bit and come inside with more combinations. But Bektic smartly tied him up and brought him to the cage. Lamas would threaten with a pretty tight guillotine choke along the way, but Bektic positioned himself to wiggle free and eventually ended up on top. In the end, it was Bektic who walked away with the split-decision win.
Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha
De la Rocha (4-2) pushed the action along the cage in the early going. Coulter (8-3) tried to keep his balance but de la Rocha was able to secure a big takedown and get back control. Coulter got back to his feet and blasted de la Rocha with a nasty combination. De la Rocha came back and landed his own heavy shots along the cage. The two heavyweights stumbled into one another with titanic blows as the Chicago fans cheered in amazement. In Round 2, de la Rocha landed a big body shot on the cage before eventually taking Coulter down. De la Rocha worked for the rear-naked choke and a tired Coulter somehow fought it off. De la Rocha would keep busy with ground-and-pound before finally finishing “Daywalker” minutes later via TKO.
Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
Smith (29-13) landed a few leg kicks early that spun Evans (19-8-1) around. Evans looked to tie things up along the cage, but Smith waited patiently before landed a crushing knee inside that instantly put “Suga” to sleep. Smith landed an insurance shot before the referee stepped in for the first-round knockout stoppage. It took just 53 seconds.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
The bout opened up with a few hard leg kicks by Benavidez (25-5). Pettis (17-3) returned with a hard right hand counter before catching Benavidez with a flush uppercut and dropping the former title challenger. Benavidez recovered and secured a timely takedown. Pettis was able to return to his feet and land even more counter rights whenever Benavidez entered with his chin up. In Round 2, Benavidez rushed in with a flurry that landed some. Benavidez followed that up with another calf kick, turning Pettis’ leg into a red mess. Pettis couldn’t find much offense as Benavidez started to press him along the cage and threaten with takedown attempts. But Pettis remained standing and showed really good takedown defense and level control. The third and final frame saw Benavidez come out sharp and land a spinning back fist. Both men landed crisp shots during an exchange inside, but it was Benavidez who kept the pressure up. Pettis briefly threatened with a standing guillotine choke, but Benavidez sneaked his head out and regained control along the cage. Benavidez continued the onslaught with more leg kicks before securing a timely takedown before the end of the round. In the end, it was Pettis who walked away with the split-decision win.
Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
Both men landed early leg kicks. Guida (34-18) looked to counter but the Brazilian held his hands high and returned with some good jabs. Oliveira Oliveira (23-8, 1 NC) then clipped Guida with a right along the cage before grabbing a hold of Guida’s neck and going for the guillotine. “Do Bronx” fell back to the canvas and started to squeeze before Guida was forced to tap in the very first round.
Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige
The action started with Ige (9-2) tagging Santiago (20-12) along the cage and taking him down. Ige then worked for the back and landed vicious ground-and-pound. Santiago tried to defend but Ige was relentless and eventually finished the bout via TKO just 50 seconds into the first round.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 225 fight card below, 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.