UPDATE: AUSTRALIA’S Robert Whittaker will take on Cuban wreckingball Yoel Romero at UFC 225 Chicago in what will now be a non-title fight after Romero controversially didn’t make weight.
Whittaker became the first Australian to win a UFC title when he defeated Romero at UFC 213, edging a close decision over the 41-year-old Soldier of God.
‘The Reaper’ is quietly confident of adding an eighth-straight middleweight scalp on one of the best UFC cards of 2018 that features fellow Aussie phenoms Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa and Megan Anderson.
PREVIEW: Ultimate Guide to UFC 225 Chicago
KNOCKOUT: Whittaker’s multi-million dollar payday
BAM BAM: ‘I’m not fake, I’m a f**king houso’
HOW TO WATCH: Purchase Whittaker v Romero II at www.mainevent.com.au
WHEN: Sunday, June 10, 12pm AEST
WHERE: The fights will go down at the United Center – home of the Chicago Bulls
BETTING: Whittaker is the $1.43 TAB favourite, while Romero is $2.80 for the win
UFC 225 FIGHT CARD
Middleweight: Champion Robert Whittaker (19-4) v Yoel Romero (13-2)
Interim welterweight title: Rafael dos Anjos (28-9) v Colby Covington (13-1)
Holly Holm (11-4) v Megan Anderson (8-2)
Andrei Arlovski (27-15) v Tai Tuivasa (7-0)
CM Punk (0-1) v Mike Jackson (0-1)
Alistair Overeem v Curtis Blaydes
Claudia Gadelha v Carla Esparza
Ricardo Lamas v Mirsad Bektic
Rashan Coulter v Chris De La Rocha
Rashad Evans v Anthony Smith
Joseph Benavidez v Sergio Pettis
Clay Guida v Charles Oliveira
Dan Ige v Mike Santiago
AUSSIES TO WATCH
ROBERT WHITTAKER KEYS TO VICTORY: Australia’s most successful MMA fighter is unbeaten at middleweight, capturing the vacant UFC title in his last bout against Romero. The Reaper did a wonderful job nullifying the Soldier of God’s Olympic-level wrestling, allowing him to work Romero over on the feet. Whittaker’s time with Australia’s Commonwealth Games wrestling team this year could prove to be the difference.
TAI TUIVASA: There’s no secret to “Bam Bam’s” game plan: Walk forward and knock the other bloke out with kicks, punches and knees. All of the hulking heavyweight’s seven wins have come by the way of knockout but he’ll get the sternest test of his career when he faces MMA legend and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. Tuivasa must exercise patience and pick his shots, using kicks and feints to keep Arlovski second guessing before exploding.
MEGAN ANDERSON: The Aussie will make her UFC debut against former bantamweight titleholder and arguably the most decorated combat sports fighter on the planet, Holly Holm. Anderson was set to make debut against the most the feared woman on the planet, Cris Cyborg, but pulled out of the fight citing personal reasons. It will be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire for Anderson on Sunday. The Aussie must utilise her 6 foot frame and significant reach advantage if she is to overcome the crafty veteran.
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Originally published as Aussies headline UFC event of the year