On Saturday night, MMA fans are treated to a double header of title fights as UFC 225 features Robert Whittaker defending his middleweight strap in a rematch with Yoel Romero and former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos taking on Colby Covington for the interim welterweight title. That’s a lot of action to be prepared for but never fear, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know for your gambling needs this weekend.
UFC 225, Chicago, Illinois, PPV (10 P.M. ET)
Robert Whittaker (-255/72%) vs. Yoel Romero (+215/32%)
Rafael dos Anjos (+110/48%) vs. Colby Covington (-130/57%)
FS1 Prelims (8 P.M. ET)
Rashad Coulter (-135/57%) vs. Chris De La Rocha (+115/47%)
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims (6:15 P.M. ET)
Dos Anjos at +110
Since moving up to welterweight, dos Anjos has looked rejuvenated with wins over Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny, and former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. However, none of those fighters were keen on testing how RDA’s takedown defense - something that’s always been a bit of a weakness - would fare moving up a weight class. Covington is certainly going to, and at the end of the day, that’s the key dynamic in this fight. But while Covington may find success early with takedowns, it seems unlikely he will be able to chain them together a la Khabib Nurmagomedov and on the feet, dos Anjos should have a clear advantage. Covington is a willing striker but still too wild and RDA will take advantage of that to punish the UFC’s most hated man and slow “Chaos” down before pulling away in the championship round. This is a coin-flip fight so the free value on RDA is a nice target.
Overeem at +160
Curtis Blaydes has proven himself to be one of the best prospects in the heavyweight division, but Alistair Overeem may be a bridge too far. Though an improving striker, Blaydes is still heavily reliant on scoring takedowns and Overeem, despite his advancing age, is an excellent defensive wrestler. Moreover, Overeem is still an top-shelf clinch fighter, so when he stuffs Blaydes’ shot, “The Reem” can punish Blaydes’ body with knees, taking the wind out of the young heavyweight’s sails. A Blaydes win wouldn’t be shocking but at the end of the day, this feels like a bad style match up for him.
Pettis at +205
For the last six years, Joseph Benavidez has been one of the best flyweights on the planet, and in a world without Demetrious Johnson, might be considered an all-time great MMA fighter akin to “Mighty Mouse” or Georges St-Pierre. But, at 33 years old, Benavidez hasn’t fought since 2016 and even then didn’t look amazing, edging out a controversial decision to Henry Cejudo. Conversely, Sergio Pettis is still only 24 years old and has been making consistent improvements in game every time out. Perhaps, Benavidez has enough left in the tank to best Pettis and earn one more shot at “Mighty Mouse.” However, he isn’t the same caliber of wrestler as Cejudo nor as active nor as active on the feet, meaning Pettis is going to have much more of an opportunity to effectuate his style than Cejudo allowed. Add in the long layoff for Benavidez, and his displeasure with the UFC’s promotion, and this sure looks a lot like a changing of the guard kind of fight.
There is some decent parlay fodder on this card for those inclined - Gadelha, Tuivasa, Whittaker - but nothing too spicy as to demand action. Bektic is close to demanding a bet but out of respect for Lamas’ decade as a top five featherweight, -250 isn’t quite attractive enough. And for the truly adventurous of you, a bet on CM Punk is actually decent value since no one really has any idea what is going to happen in this fight and, frankly, Mike Jackson shouldn’t be a -200 favorite to anyone really.
That’s all for this week. If you have any questions or just want to let me know what action you’re on, get at me on Twitter @JedKMeshew. Good luck and enjoy the fights!
(Editor’s note: All of this advice is for entertainment purposes only.)