UFC will bring its first Pay-Per-View event to Chicago, featuring two thrilling championship bouts. Middleweight titleholder Robert Whittaker will rematch No.1-ranked contender Yoel Romero and No.2-ranked welterweight contender Rafael Dos Anjos will battle No.3 Colby Covington to crown an interim 170-pound champ. UFC 225: WHITTAKER vs. ROMERO 2 goes down Saturday, June 9 at United Center and will air live on Pay-Per-View.
Undefeated at 185 pounds, middleweight champion Whittaker (20-4, fighting out of Sydney, Australia) is gunning for his first successful title defense. He captured the title following a thrilling unanimous decision over Romero (13-2, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Pinar del Rio, Cuba) in their first encounter last summer. Known for his heavy hands and dynamic striking, Whittaker has earned spectacular wins against Jacare Souza, Derek Brunson, Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares.
Aiming to even the score, Romero looks to fulfill his destiny and capture the middleweight title. An Olympic silver medalist wrestler for Cuba known for his knockout power, Romero’s only setback in the UFC has been to Whittaker. His most recent outing saw him score a sensational KO against former champion Luke Rockhold in February. During his incredible run, he has also earned stoppage victories over Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Derek Brunson and Tim Kennedy.
Though the interim welterweight championship will be on the line in the co-main event, there’s more than just a belt at stake for Dos Anjos (28-9, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) in the co-main event, as the former UFC lightweight champion also looks to defend his country’s honor when he squares off with brash contender Covington (13-1, fighting out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.).
Unbeaten since moving up to welterweight, Dos Anjos has been on a tear. Following impressive wins against Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Mangy, he earned a spectacular and dominant win over former welterweight kingpin Robbie Lawler. Now with Covington in his sights, he aims to become only the fifth fighter to capture championships in two separate UFC divisions.
A former NCAA Division I wrestler, Covington has turned heads both in and out of The Octagon®. Currently riding a five-fight win streak, he’s earned dominant victories over Dong Hyun Kim and Bryan Barberena. However, it was his impressive win over former title challenger Demian Maia where he staked his claim as a welterweight title threat.
Additional bouts on the card include:
In a battle of top heavyweights, No.2-ranked contender Alistair Overeem (43-16, 1NC, fighting out of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) faces No.4 and hometown favorite Curtis Blaydes (9-1, 1NC, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.)
No.1-ranked flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez (25-4, fighting out of Las Cruces, N.M.) returns against No.5 Sergio Pettis (16-3, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisc.)
No.3-ranked women’s strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha (15-3, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) locks horns with No.6 Carla Esparza (14-4, fighting out of Irvine, Calif.)
Former heavyweight champion and No.9-ranked contender Andrei Arlovski (27-15 1NC, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) looks to turn back undefeated No.13 Tai Tuivasa (9-0, fighting out of Sydney, Australia)
Former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (24-7-1, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) takes on aggressive finisher Anthony Smith (28-13, fighting out of Omaha, Neb.) in a 205-pound showdown
In a clash of talented finishers, Rashad Coulter (8-3, fighting out of Dallas, Tex.) meets Allen Crowder (9-3, fighting out of Mebane, N.C.)
Chicago’s own Mike Santiago (21-11, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) squares off with Dan Ige (8-2, fighting out of Haleiwa, Hawaii)