There’s no doubt that tonight’s line-up for UFC 225 isn’t shy on compelling fights or big name fighters. But is Chicago getting the most stacked UFC card of 2018?
Now, there’s been a fair amount of buzz tied to tonight’s event, due to the fact it will feature bouts like Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero 2, Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington, Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson and yes, even CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson. Not only that, but the card will see stars like Alistair Overeem battle rising heavyweight Curtis Blaydes, former champ Andrei Arlovski throw hands with another rising commodity in Tai Tuivasa.
If you need further evidence of how stacked the line-up is, #1 flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez is set to battle Sergio Pettis, on the Fight Pass prelims. That’s right, one of the best 125’ers the sport has known, is taking on another of the promotion’s top flyweights on Fight Pass (and if you missed it, Benavidez isn’t thrilled about that fact).
There’s no question that Romero being ineligible to win the 185 title, after missing weight on Friday, has taken some of the buzz out of the headliner. But, the card still features RDA taking on Covington for the interim welterweight title, and even if you don’t think an interim belt should be up for grabs, it’s a compelling fight with a title shot on the line.
What Events Match Up?
If you look back at what cards have gone down thus far in 2018, the obvious competitors, in terms of depth, is UFC 220. The January 20th event took place in Boston, and it featured heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic defeating Francis Ngannou, and light-heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier taking out Volkan Oezdemir. There was a lot of hype surrounding that card leading up to it, and it’s important to remember that before it went down, Oezdemir and Ngannou had been dropping jaws with highlight reel stoppages.
But, if you examine the rest of the line-up for UFC 220, it wasn’t as stacked with big, established names as UFC 225. Not even close really.
If the original plans for the April 7th, UFC 223 card had unfolded, then maybe, we would be looking at that card as a possible competitor too. After all, it was supposed to feature Tony Ferguson taking on Khabib Nurmagmoedov in one of the most highly anticipated lightweight fights ever, in addition to Rose Namajunas – Joanna Jedrzejczyk 2.
Ferguson, as you know, had to drop out due to injury, and then his replacement, Max Holloway, also wasn’t cleared to compete. Even if Ferguson – Nurmagomedov had stayed together, however, like UFC 220, the complete line-up doesn’t stack up to UFC 225.
Now it just remains to be seen if the stacked line-up for tonight can deliver on the action.