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Our questions about UFC 225: The return of CM Punk

CM Punk

Despite a day full of nonsense revolving around whether or not we had a main event due to Yoel Romero missing weight, UFC 225 is a full go for Saturday and man, what a card it is. I mean, where else can you get two pro wrestlers -- former WWE star CM Punk and former TNA star Colby Covington -- competing for big stakes on a PPV?

Helping me answer the many questions about this card are Paul Fontaine and Ryan Frederick. Note that everyone wrote their piece before the events of Friday at the weigh-ins. An added note from Paul: Since November, fighters missing weight are 13-2 since November in their fights.

For those looking for some audio, I talked to Punk opponent Mike Jackson last week, and previewed the show with MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn this week.

Main Card

  • UFC welterweight champion Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero II (non-title)
  • UFC Interim middleweight championship: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington
  • Holly Holm vs. Megan Anderson
  • Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson

Prelims

  • Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
  • Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
  • Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha
  • Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
  • Joe Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira
  • Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige

What are you most looking forward to?

Josh: This entire damn show. Even without the big name headliner, it’s been a while since we had one of these top to bottom loaded shows. I can find storylines and interest in nearly every fight.

Ryan: There’s not one thing I don’t love about this card. It’s the deepest fight card in quite some time and has intrigue all over it. When Clay Guida and Charles Oliveira are in the second fight on a card, you know you have a special card. The fight I’m most looking forward to is the main event between Whittaker and Romero. Their first fight was excellent and I think this one will be even better.

Paul: Punk vs. Jackson. This really intrigues me on so many levels. Two weeks ago, I was firmly convinced that Punk would win but then, I heard Josh interview Jackson on his podcast and then Punk spent the key part of his time he should have been getting ready for the fight in court. Now, I’m not so sure.

Anything being overlooked?

Josh: A lot. Basically, the entire Fight Pass portion (Evans/Smith, Benavidez/Pettis, Guida/Oliveira) has intrigue from returns (Benavidez) and last stands (Evans). Also, the Gadelha-Esparza and Overeem-Blaydes bouts are of interest for what happens to the winners.

Ryan: I think the fight between Holly Holm and Megan Anderson is getting overlooked. As much as people might not believe it, Anderson is a real threat to women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg as she’s as big or even bigger than Cyborg and has good all-around skills. I think she gets past Holm here and gives a great challenge to Cyborg in the near future.

Paul: In addition to the fights Josh mentioned, there’s Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes. Overeem is going to be looking to prove a point as he’s mad his fight wasn’t put on the main card and honestly, he’s got a point.

Anything not doing it for you?

Josh: The arrangement of the fights is kinda strange. I would think FS1 would want the more well known fighters like Benavidez and Evans on their prelims. It’s weird to me that UFC would decide to throw a bone to Fight Pass subscribers at this point, but the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this will be a trend on PPV shows until the current TV deal is done. I can’t imagine they’d do the cut nose/spite face deal, but it’s possible.

Ryan: Other than the fact I’m not a fan of Colby Covington’s tactics outside the cage, everything is doing it for me. I won’t ever complain about placement on a show of fights because I watch everything, and there is something for everyone from the moment the first fight enters the Octagon.

Paul: I feel the same as Josh here. I mean, why is Rashad Coulter vs. Chris De La Rocha with their combined 0-4 UFC record on FS1 while Evans vs. Smith is on the Fight Pass portion? The Evans fight might be boring, but you know what won’t be? Charles Oliveira vs. Clay Guida and their combined 17 post show bonus awards. Why this isn’t headlining the FS1 prelims right before the PPV is beyond me and it’s a mistake the previous regime wouldn’t have made. In fact, go ahead and add Oliveira-Guida to the list of overlooked fights. How Josh, with his obsession for “crossroads fights” missed that is just more evidence as to how overlooked it is.

(Josh note: HOW DARE YOU, PAUL!!!)

Any intrigue with this show?

Josh: And how! Will Covington be able to back up the talk? Can RDA win another (interim) title? Can Whittaker or Romero put their stamp on the middleweight division? Is Benavidez back? Is Evans done? Has Punk improved? Real talk, this show is something else.

Ryan: Lots and lots of intrigue with this one. The main event is dynamic and has intrigue on its own. The co-main will set up a showdown with Tyron Woodley. Anderson, Benavidez, and Gadelha could secure title shots. Tuivasa could show he’s the next big thing at heavyweight, or Arlovski could show he has more in the tank. Blaydes gets his tough fight with Overeem who wants to show he’s still a top dog. Bektic can be a threat at featherweight, but Lamas is a guy you have to get by to contend. And then, there’s CM Punk.

Paul: Is Tuivasa the next heavyweight contender? Does Guida have another good run left in him? Can Arlovski turn back time and pick up a third straight UFC win at his advanced age? Does Overeem have another run to a title shot in him? Is Megan Anderson the next featherweight contender for Cris Cyborg? Is CM Punk still a PPV draw? Ya, I’d say there’s just a bit.

What will be people talking about most after the show is done?

Josh: That CM Punk has fought his final fight in the UFC and that we need to be treating RDA as a real threat to Tyron Woodley’s title.

Ryan: Obviously. the Punk fight will get the most attention. I think people will be talking about a trilogy between Whittaker and Romero after this one, and we’ll actually have people excited for a future Woodley fight with the co-main winner.

Paul: The Punk fight for sure, win or lose. If Romero beats Whittaker….was he clean? Who’s next? Do they do a rubber match? If Covington wins, I feel like we may hear rumblings about a fight with Conor McGregor.

Who wins?

Whittaker vs. Romero:

- Romero: Nason
- Whittaker: Ryan, Paul

Covington vs. RDA:

- Covington: Paul
- RDA: Nason, Ryan

Holm vs. Anderson:

- Holm: Nason, Paul
- Anderson: Ryan

Punk vs. Jackson

- Punk: Ryan, Paul
- Jackson: Nason

Benavidez vs. Pettis

- Benavidez: Nason, Ryan, Paul

Guida vs. Oliveira

- Guida: Nason, Paul
- Oliveira: Ryan