ESPN – A captivating split decision by Robert Whittaker. A weight miss by Yoel RomeroColby Covington‘s interim title. A much-needed victory for Holly Holm.

UFC 225 produced a lot to talk about. What’s next for the winners and losers from Chicago? Here’s ESPN’s take.


Robert Whittaker, middleweight champion

Result: Defeated Yoel Romero via split decision

Next: Kelvin Gastelum

It may take a second, of course, as Whittaker will need to recover from a broken right thumb he suffered on Saturday. Perhaps pencil this in for the UFC’s year-end show in Las Vegas.

I see no problem in Gastelum waiting for this shot, even if takes a minute to book. Yes, he does have a loss to Chris Weidman from a year ago. And yes, Weidman himself is in the title conversation.

But that fight happened last summer, and Gastelum is 2-0 since with two quality wins. Weidman has been sidelined the entire time by injury.

Gastelum and Whittaker are both former welterweights, still in their 20s .There’s actually potential to see this matchup multiple times. Let’s get it underway now.

Yoel Romero, middleweight

Result: Lost to Robert Whittaker via split decision

Next: Alexander Gustafsson, at light heavyweight

It’s pretty clear one of two things needs to happen: Either Romero needs to check in to fight week at a weight significantly closer to his 185-pound mark, or he needs to move up. Perhaps there is a bit of weight management he can do prior to the week of the fight, to come in lighter. If he’s not willing or able to do that, move to 205.

There’s a catch to that, of course. Is fighting at a higher weight actually safer for Romero, because he’ll skip the cut? Yes. But it also means he’ll be fighting a monster like Gustafsson — a 6-foot-5 monster, with a six-inch reach advantage. That doesn’t exactly sound “safe” either.

But following the events of last week, there’s not much left for Romero at 185 pounds, at his age. It doesn’t look like he’s slowing down, but is he really going to just re-join the middle of the pack at age 41? Work his way back up? The light heavyweight division is wide open right now and Gustafsson needs an opponent.


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