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UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2 staff picks and predictions for PPV main card

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Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2 main card in Chicago, Illinois.

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Bloody Elbow staff has made its picks for UFC 225, and I’m not even sure I should be calling this “UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2.” For the time being, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero has not been cancelled following Romero’s weight miss, but we know it’s not for a title fight. Theoretically this probably should be Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington as the main event, regardless of the status of Whittaker vs. Romero.

Anyway, everyone is going with Robert Whittaker over Yoel Romero for Saturday night. As for the co-main event, only Phil Mackenzie is going with Colby Covington to beat Rafael dos Anjos and become the interim welterweight champion.

Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he’s going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.

Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero

Anton Tabuena: Romero will always be dangerous, but Whittaker is most likely to be the one who has made the most improvements since their first bout. I would’ve picked Whittaker even before Romero looking like death on the scale, and now I expect a more one-sided affair this time. Robert Whittaker by late TKO.

Mookie Alexander: Well Romero missed weight. This is now a non-title bout, and it’s three rounds (I’m assuming). Anyway, these were my thoughts before the weight miss, and nothing changes here. My pick hinges almost entirely on Whittaker not looking depleted after all of the health issues that plagued him earlier in the year. His takedown defense is phenomenal, and even when Romero got him down, he couldn’t hold him there… and that was even with Whittaker’s knee getting jacked by Romero in the opening round! I don’t think that changes in the rematch, and he fights at a pace and times his strikes even better than Yoel does. Their first bout is still the only time Romero has been outlanded in a UFC fight. I’m expecting Romero to fight this one strategically as he did vs. Luke Rockhold. However, Rockhold is a fairly basic and relatively wooden striker, whereas Whittaker cuts angles and throws in punishing combinations. I know there’s the third-round Romero fear, but don’t rule out Whittaker planting Romero with a head kick. I’m hoping we get another thriller, but the pick is still Robert Whittaker by unanimous decision.

Ram Gilboa: I have Jacare & Romero as the best UFC middleweight contenders never to become champs and I don’t think this’ll change. Will definitely not change Saturday night. Robert Whittaker by TKO.

Staff picking Whittaker: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Mookie, Phil, Dayne, Fraser, Ram, Tim, Stephie, Anton
Staff picking Romero:

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington

Anton Tabuena: Covington has a chance to turn this into his normal boring lay and pray affairs, but I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Dos Anjos is a good athlete and a decent wrestler, so he can conceivably stay on his feet long enough to take advantage of the fact that he is by far much the better striker here. Hell, even Maia outstruck Covington before he gassed. I predict RDA wins this fake belt to become a somewhat weird two-division champion by the latter rounds, and people eventually forget about Covington’s uninteresting and forced “marketing plan.” Rafael dos Anjos by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: Phil will do his breakdown on the Toe-To-Toe, but let it be known that he’s picking Covington because in addition to being on MMA Depressed-Us, he actively seeks depressing outcomes. Anyway, Covington can absolutely win this fight. RDA doesn’t really respond too well to pressure, and Covington is the first time he’s faced a consistent takedown threat since Khabib Nurmagomedov. The thing is, RDA also likes to pressure, and he’s a much better striker than Colby, especially with the leg kicks and his improved clinch work. RDA is also proven in five-round fights, whereas Covington is not. For the sake of my sanity, please let this be an RDA win. Please? Rafael dos Anjos by TKO, round 3.

Staff picking RDA: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Mookie, Dayne, Fraser, Ram, Tim, Stephie, Anton
Staff picking Covington: Phil

Megan Anderson vs. Holly Holm

Anton Tabuena: Apart from one big win, Holm has lost every meaningful bout in the UFC and barely beats even her worst opponents. She has a chance to win, but I think this will look ugly and possibly uneventful, that I’m worried it’s the viewers who will lose again. Megan Anderson by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: Going for the upset, if only because I have no interest in Cyborg-Holm 2 and want to see something different. On paper, Holm should win this easily. The Anderson we’ve seen in Invicta will likely get countered a billion times by Holm while searching for power shots. Holm does tend to underwhelm against “lesser” competition, so that’s something to keep in mind. Plus, who’s to say Anderson hasn’t improved considerably during her long absence from competition? I’ll take my chances that James Krause and company will find a way to make the most of Anderson’s physical advantages and get the W. Megan Anderson by unanimous decision.

Fraser Coffeen: No faith whatsoever in Holm at this point. Megan Anderson, decision

Phil Mackenzie: At this point Holm has had exactly one truly impressive performance in the UFC. At this point, more than anything else she’s a damning indictment of the skill level of women’s boxing, seeing as she’s been handily outboxed by crossover kickboxers on multiple occasions. She’s still physically incredibly impressive, and was able to muscle Cyborg around in the clinch on multiple occasions. She’s just not very... good. Megan Anderson isn’t very good either though. She often starts off looking clean and effective in her fights, but bits of her game fall off very quickly, and she tends to become something of a plodder and a brawler. This seems like a deadly combination of traits against Holm, who is going to be increasingly likely to pick up the big counter cross or head kick as the fight goes on. Holly Holm by TKO, round 3.

Ram Gilboa: They found organic molecules on Mars, Holm can find herself again in the Octagon, show some faith. Holly Holm by decision

Staff picking Anderson: Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Stephie, Anton
Staff picking Holm: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Dayne, Phil

Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa

Anton Tabuena: Arlovski is a good test for Tuivasa at this point in his career, but it’s one that I expect him to pass with flying colors. Tai Tuivasa by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: Well I’ve been picking against Arlovski repeatedly and it’s burned me in recent outings. Tuivasa is better than Junior Albini and probably better than current Stefan Struve. We’ll most likely see Tuivasa’s chin get tested, but you can’t help but be excited about what he produces offensively. He goes to the head, he goes to the body, mixes up his attack, throws standing elbows, left hooks to the liver, and he’s relentless. Sorry, Andrei, but you’re going to wind up on the mat. Tai Tuivasa by KO, round 1.

Ram Gilboa: Arlovski is a great fighter with a bad chin and sadly the second part isn’t going to change. Tai Tuivasa by KO, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: Arlovski is in many ways the best technical fighter he’s ever been, but his power has been abandoning him. The man who finished Rothwell and prime Big Country is decisioning Mir and Struve? Other than that, he’s just always been susceptible to being backed up and walloped by pure aggression, and while Tuivasa’s gas tank, decision-making and defense are huge question marks, his aggression, power and toughness aren’t. Tai Tuivasa by KO, round 1.

Staff picking Arlovski:
Staff picking Tuivasa: Bissell, Nick, Harry, Mookie, Dayne, Fraser, Ram, Tim, Stephie, Anton

CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson

Anton Tabuena: We all know about his limitations with athleticism and age, but for all the talk about his “added experience” and “significant improvements” with technique, CM Punk’s recent training footage just looks embarrassing, even by non-UFC standards. He’s incredibly stiff, even on the pads, so I can only imagine how much worse he is on the feet against an actual opponent. Jackson is a fighter with actual experience in stand up fights, so unless he’s comically bad on the ground, Punk is going to get busted up pretty bad here. Mike Jackson by TKO, corner stoppage.

Mookie Alexander: Do I have to provide serious analysis for this? Jackson is 0-1, but he’s an athlete who’s competed in boxing and Muay Thai. CM Punk is almost 40, doesn’t have much athleticism, and… he grapples as a hobby and is a blue belt? That’s cool, I guess. Come on. Punk’s gonna get squashed. Mike Jackson by KO, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: *sings* I’m lookin’ at the can, in, the mirror Mike Jackson by unanimous decision.

Fraser Coffeen: This is basically a Bellator bout, and so I’m taking a Bellator approach to picking. Which means, pick whatever I want. Therefore, WAR PUNK! CM PUNK by gogoplata, R1

Tim Burke: Punk is coming for that belt. I’m telling you. Late 2019 title fight, retires with the belt in 2021. It might be the intercontinental belt, it could be the IWGP heavyweight belt, who knows. But he’s coming. CM Punk, submission, round 1

Ram Gilboa: Where the best fight the best, and CM Punk fights Mike Jackson. Mike Jackson by TKO, round 2

Staff picking Punk: Harry, Fraser, Tim
Staff picking Jackson: Bissell, Nick, Mookie, Dayne, Ram, Stephie, Anton


Who wins the top two fights at UFC 225?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Whittaker and RDA
    (1200 votes)
  • 15%
    Whittaker and Covington
    (305 votes)
  • 10%
    Romero and RDA
    (198 votes)
  • 3%
    Romero and Covington
    (71 votes)
  • 9%
    The Scale
    (183 votes)
1957 votes total Vote Now

Purchase UFC 225 on Amazon