UFC 225 – Matches To Make

Robert Whittaker – Whenever my enthusiasm for MMA begins to grow thin — EG. CM Punk Vs Mike Jackson on a PPV main card — I am quickly reminded, either by a fighter or a fight, exactly why I love this sport so much. As an Australian MMA fan I have always rooted for Robert Whittaker but in his last three fights, especially this one, my interest in him has greatly surpassed pure nationalism.

Robert Whittaker is a dangerous, technical and resilient fighter with an attitude, demeanour, and heart that exemplifies a true representation of this sport. It is fighters like Robert Whittaker, Max Holloway, Demetrious Johnson and Georges St Pierre that make me love Mixed Martial Arts so much. I truly hope that seeing a phenomenal fight such as this helps fans to realise how Incredible Robert Whittaker is. As for his next fight, it seems likely that we will be gifted to another sensation fight when he defends his title against Kelvin Gastelum.

Yoel Romero – Despite barely falling short in this fight, Yoel Romero’s title hopes at Middleweight have likely come to an end. That being said, he is still a terrifying force to reckon with and could likely translate his skills to the Light-Heavyweight division. Now with two losses to the champ and two consecutive failed attempts at making weight, all signs are pointing towards a move up in weight for Romero. If he is to make the move, a number one contender’s fight with Alexander Gustafsson would be absolutely incredible.

Rafael Dos Anjos – This is going to be a tough loss for Rafael Dos Anjos to swallow, in more ways than one. Not only did he lose this fight to a heated rival but he did so by performing below what he is capable of. RDA will surely rebound from this fight but his future title hopes at Welterweight are doubtful. For his return, a matchup with Stephen Thompson would be sensational.

Colby Covington – After months of doing his darnedest to make the MMA world hate him, Colby Covington surprisingly backup up his words in a big way. This wasn’t exactly the outstanding performance that Joe Rogan alluded to on the broadcast but it was impressive none the less. Covington enforced an intense high paced fight on RDA early and was able to stall and win rounds with active but mostly unthreatening striking. Now that he has somehow been given an interim belt he will likely be facing the undisputed Welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley.

Tai Tuivasa – One of the biggest questions surrounding Tai Tuivasa’s game — ‘how would he hold up if he didn’t finish the fight in the first round’ — was answered in this fight. Although it wasn’t a flawless performance, Tai really impressed me in this fight. At 25 years of age, Tuivasa is displaying impressive improvements in his game while also showing that he has plenty of room to grow, I am excited to see what the future holds for him. For his next fight, a matchup with the loser of Derrick Lewis Vs Francis Ngannou would be insanity.

Alistair Overeem – At 38 years of age, with 13 KO/TKO losses on his record, Alistair Overeem must reconsider his future. As a long time fan of Overeem, it is becoming harder and harder to watch him compete knowing that he could likely be dealing permanent damage to his brain. With that in mind, I would like to see Alistair Overeem retire from professional competition.

Curtis Blaydes – As an underdog, Curtis Blaydes impressed everyone with his gritty win over Mark Hunt earlier this year. But even with the expectation of a win on his shoulders in this fight, Blaydes managed to put forward an even more impressive performance against Alistair Overeem. Curtis is now, along with Alexander Volkov, in consideration for the next Heavyweight title shot. With nothing but uncertainty surrounding the title picture post-Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier, it is likely that Blaydes and Alexander Volkov will need to face off to determine the undeniable number one contender.

Claudia Gadelha – This was a concerning performance from Claudia Gadelha. It is not very often we see fighters regress in between fights but when we do the results can be devastating — Travis Browne’s career fall off comes straight to mind. I am hopeful that her boxing only striking approach will be a one-off and that she will return to her full potential next time she competes. For her next fight, a matchup with Tatiana Suarez would be sensational.

Carla Esparza – Despite losing the decision, Carla Esparza was extremely impressive in this fight. Regardless of the official outcome, she should walk away from this fight proud of her performance. A matchup with Cortney Casey would be suitable for her return.

Anthony Smith – As expected, Anthony Smith made his Light-Heavyweight debut in spectacular fashion. As he enters his prime, at a more comfortable weight, it is possible that we could see him as a future contender in the Light-Heavyweight division. For his second fight in the division, a matchup with Sam Alvey would be perfect.

Joseph Benavidez – Although he debatably could have won this fight, Joseph Benavidez did not give the type of performance we are accustomed to seeing from him. That being said, this was his first fight since 2016 — due to him suffering a major knee injury — making it understandable that he may not have been at his best. For his next fight, a rebooking against Ben Nguyen would be just right.

Sergio Pettis – Despite fighting to a close split decision, this was by far the most impressive performance of Sergio Pettis’ young career. Although he still has a lot of improving to do before he can compete with Demetrious Johnson, this fight was an extremely positive step in the right direction. For his next fight, a matchup with fellow contender Jussier Formiga would be perfect.

Charles Olivera – As Joe Rogan mentioned on the broadcast, Charles Olivera is a fighter with huge potential who ’sometimes’ lives up to it. That being said, this fight was a great example of what Olivera can do when he is at his best. For his next fight, assuming he stays at Lightweight, a matchup with the rising Gregor Gillespie would be sensational.

Clay Guida – This was an unfortunate loss for Clay Guida but undoubtedly one that he will rebound from. For his return, a matchup with Nik Lentz would be well timed.


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