99°F
weather icon Clear

Here’s a preview and picks for UFC 225 in Chicago

Updated June 8, 2018 - 7:48 pm

A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC 225 on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:

Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs. Yoel Romero (13-2)

Class: Middleweights

Line: Whittaker -240

Storyline: This was supposed to be a rematch for Whittaker’s middleweight belt, but Romero failed to make weight Friday so the title is no longer on the line. Whittaker won a close fight in the first meeting in July despite Romero injuring Whittaker’s knee early with a kick. The champion has not fought since that night, as he healed from the injury and then endured a case of staph infection. Romero is incredibly strong and a high-level athlete. He tends to get a bit less dangerous as the fight wears on, though he has recorded a few late stoppages. A big question could be how much the weight cut affected Romero.

Hill’s pick: Romero by second-round knockout

Fang’s pick: Whittaker by decision

Rafael dos Anjos (28-9) vs. Colby Covington (13-1)

Class: For interim welterweight title

Line: Covington -130

Storyline: Covington has quickly become one of the UFC’s most hated fighters. He is the real-life personification of an anonymous Twitter troll. Dos Anjos repeatedly has said that he looks forward to shutting up Covington. Dos Anjos has had issues with wrestlers, but he has looked comfortable and confident since moving up to 170 pounds from 155, where he was the champion. His experience in the spotlight could be a big edge against Covington, who is making a big step up. Look for dos Anjos to try to use leg kicks to wear Covington down early.

Hill’s pick: Dos Anjos by decision

Fang’s pick: Dos Anjos by third-round knockout

Holly Holm (11-4) vs. Megan Anderson (8-2)

Class: Women’s featherweights

Line: Holm -220

Storyline: Anderson will make her long-awaited UFC debut, but not against champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino as expected. Instead, the former Invicta champion will fight a former world boxing champion and former UFC women’s bantamweight champ. Holm has struggled with inconsistency since her knockout of Ronda Rousey in 2015. Anderson hasn’t fought since January 2017.

Hill’s pick: Holm by decision

Fang’s pick: Holm by second-round knockout

Andrei Arlovski (27-15, 1 No Contest) vs. Tai Tuivasa (7-0)

Class: Heavyweights

Line: Tuivasa -230

Storyline: Arlovski was the heavyweight champion in 2006. His career looked to be over, as he lost five straight fights, but he has won the past two to get a bout against an undefeated rising star. Tuivasa has knocked out all seven opponents in the first round, including two in the UFC. The former rugby player is big and quick for his size. He has all the makings of a future champion.

Hill’s pick: Tuivasa by first-round knockout

Fang’s pick: Tuivasa by third-round knockout

Phil “CM Punk” Brooks (0-1) vs. Mike Jackson (0-1)

Class: Welterweights

Line: Jackson -225

Storyline: Brooks, who fought in the WWE under the name “CM Punk,” is getting a second chance in the UFC. He made his debut in 2016, when he was smothered by newcomer Mickey Gall, who has proven to be far better than expected. Brooks will get another chance against Jackson, a part-time fighter who also lost his only pro fight to Gall. It’s difficult to judge either fighter by their performance against Gall, who easily handled both. Brooks also just went through an exhausting trial that he won this week when a jury ruled in his favor in a defamation case filed by a WWE doctor. He might be worn down or rejuvenated by the legal victory.

Hill’s pick: Brooks by decision

Fang’s pick: Jackson by second-round knockout

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Dana White signs four fighters to the UFC - Video
Four fighters were put under contract with the UFC following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series on Tuesday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Contender Series fighters react to being signed to the UFC
After making history as the first batch of winners to all earn contracts following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series, the fighters react to making it to the UFC.
Dana White signs all five winners at Contender Series
For the first time in the three-season history of Dana White's Contender Series, every winning fighter earned a UFC contract. Maki Pitolo, Joe Solecki, Antonio Trocoli, Hunter Azure and Jonathan Pearce impressed the UFC brass and were awarded contracts by the UFC president.
Jones says he was confident he secured a win over Santos at UFC 239 - Video
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continued his reign by taking a split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. He discusses the close call and entertains the idea of a trilogy bout with Daniel Cormier. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 recap: Jones and Nunes retain their titles - VIDEO
Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes both retained their titles at UFC 239. Jones took a decision over Thiago Santos in the main event and Nunes scored a first-round knockout of Holly Holm. Jorge Masvidal also made promotional history on July 6 by scoring a 5-second knockout over Ben Askren. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amanda Nunes on her win over Holly Holm at UFC 239 - Video
Amanda Nunes talks about continuing her reign as a two-division champion in the UFC after defeating Holly Holm with a head kick in the first round of their title bout at UFC 239. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239: Masvidal makes UFC history with 5-second knockout - Video
Jorge Masvidal discusses his history-making knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 and makes his case for a shot at the welterweight title next. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fighters at UFC 239 react to the 7.1 earthquake - Video
Fighters at UFC 239 talk about what they experienced when the 7.1 earthquake was felt in Las Vegas on Friday night. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Ceremonial Weigh-in Staredowns - Video
All fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena faced off against each other one last time before their bouts take place. In the main event, Jon Jones will put his light heavyweight belt on the line against Thiago Santos. In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will look to continue her reign as the women's bantamweight champion when she takes on Holly Holm.
UFC 239: Jon Jones says he wants to make a statement - VIDEO
Prior to UFC 239, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones says he's trying to challenge himself, set his own records to establish his legacy and explains how he's become comfortable with where he is in his career. He will put his title on the line in the main event against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Official Weigh-in Results
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena made weight at the official weigh-in at the New York-New York hotel-casino on Friday. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones putting his belt on the line against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Preview: Jones vs. Santos
Prior to UFC 239, the Review-Journal's Adam Hill and Heidi Fang break down the main event between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos for the light heavyweight title, the co-main championship tilt between Holly Holm and reigning bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes, and preview a feature bout between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 media day: Masvidal says he has faced tougher competition than Askren
Ahead of facing rising UFC welterweight Ben Askren, promotional veteran Jorge Masvidal says he's faced tougher opponents in the past. Askren says don't be shocked by his approach to the fight at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Jones thanks fans for support through his dark times
At UFC 239 open workouts, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones thanked fans for their support during his "controversial moments" and says he wants to be more active through 2020. His challenger Thiago Santos says he will "shock the world" on July 6 and be the new division champion. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Holm wants to shock her naysayers
Holly Holm will look to reclaim the UFC women's bantamweight title when she faces two-division champion Amanda Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena on July 6. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
White: I'm looking for different things on this show - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the second episode of the third season of his show "Dana White's Contender Series". He explained why he signed the two fighters he did after their performances and discussed the heat he's taking for not signing Brendan Loughnane last week. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
THE LATEST
UFC 240: Max Holloway beats Edgar, Cyborg wins

Reigning featherweight champ Max Holloway defended his belt Saturday, overwhelming former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at UFC 240.