A pay-per-view show with two title fights can occasionally be a trudge. That was not the case with UFC 225. Both title fights lived up to the hype and delivered. In the main event, UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker held onto his title with a razor thin decision over Yoel Romero. The following is a by-the-numbers recap that highlights the stats and milestones that stood out on the main card, with stats courtesy of FightMetric.com.
Robert Whittaker survives 25-minute battle with Yoel Romero
While their first fight was clear decision for Whittaker, this one ended with a bit of controversy. There seems to be many ways to score this one as the media scorecards tracked by MMADecisions were split across four different scores. Whittaker outlanded Romero on significant strikes 128 to 111 overall. However, Romero outlanded the champion in two of the five rounds. In both of those rounds, Round 3 and Round 5, he landed knockdowns and could have possibly done enough for a 10-8 score.
Romero clearly made an effort to focus more on head strikes. In their first fight, Whittaker outlanded Romero on significant shots to the head 46 to 20. In this fight, Romero outlanded Whittaker 76 to 57 on the target. This strategy paid off in the form of the knockdowns, but unfortunately for him, Whittaker survived and won on points.
The two combined to land 239 significant strikes, which is the record for most landed in a five-round middleweight fight. Whittaker attempted 13.12 strikes per minute, while the normally conservative striker, Romero, attempted 11.48.
Both fighters finished with respectable DraftKings scores. Whittaker has the eighth-highest score of the night with 94 points. Despite the loss, Romero was right behind him with 90.5, which is the highest score for a losing fighter on the year.
Colby Covington shuts down Rafael Dos Anjos’ attacks
Covington used his activity and clinch ability to stifle Dos Anjos’ normal attack. While the former wrestler did not have a lot of success with his takedowns (7 for 18), he did use his attempts to set up clinches and hold position against the fence. Dos Anjos actually outlanded Covington in terms of significant clinch strikes 32 to eight, but he was simply unable to keep Covington away from him long enough to land the better strikes at distance. The fight was not the washout described by UFC commentator Joe Rogan, but it was an impressive display of anti-fighting from Covington, and he deserved the decision. Dos Anjos actually outlanded Covington on significant strikes overall, 105 to 99, but the new interim champion had the edge in activity by a wide margin. He attempted 346 strikes, while Dos Anjos could only muster 223.
Covington had the highest DraftKings score of the night with 120.5 points. Despite going to decision, he also landed 99 significant strikes, two passes and seven takedowns. Even though he lost, players who took Dos Anjos were provided some sollust. He finished with 70.5 points, which was higher than four winning fighters on the night.
Holly Holm changes tactics for decision win over Megan Anderson
Coming into this fight, Holm had landed only two takedowns in her UFC career, Against Anderson, she went to her wrestling in order to secure the victory. She landed four takedowns with at least one in each round. While the majority of Holm’s strikes were not considered significant by the FightMetric definition, she was able to land 20 significant ground strikes while absorbing zero. Holm showed that she has picked up the ability to go to an entirely different style when she needs to pull out a victory.
Holm finished with the sixth-highest DraftKings score of the night for her ground-centric approach. She earned 100.5 points based on 47 significant strikes, nine passes and four takedowns.
Tai Tuivasa takes a step forward and edges Andrei Arlovski
Tuivasa narrowly avoided becoming the latest victim of Arlovski 2.0. This new version of Arlovski is much more conscious of his mortality. He forced Tuivasa to miss 55 percent of his significant strike attempts. However, the former rugby player was able to land a knockdown in the first round and pull out the victory by outlanding Arlovski 22 to 19 on significant strikes in the final round.
While Arlovski’s defense did not carry him to a victory, it did keep Tuivasa’s DraftKings score lower than expected. Coming into this fight, Tuivasa had scored two first-round finishes. Here, he earned only 70 points based on 54 significant strikes, a knockdown and a pass.
Mike Jackson beclowns CM Punk
After Punk’s poor debut, he had nowhere to go but up. In his first professional MMA fight, he landed zero significant strikes, takedowns, submission attempts, passes or reversals. Even though he lost this fight, he can say that he at least filled out the stat sheet this time with 19 significant strikes, a takedown, a pass and a reversal. However, Punk was behind Jackson for the entire fight. Jackson did not score the finish, but he outlanded Punk 64 to 19 on significant strikes. He outworked the former WWE champion in all positions including 32 to 10 at distance, 14 to seven in the clinch and 18 to two on the ground.
UFC president Dana White appeared to be very annoyed with Jackson for showboating and not finishing the fight. Perhaps DFS players shared in that disappointment. Despite being a big favorite, he earned players only 70 points for the decision victory.