The Chicago “pop” was there for CM Punk when he walked to the octagon at UFC 225, but that’s where the fanfare ended.
Punk looked confident and calm as he walked out to “Cult Of Personality” and the audience in attendance buzzed at the opportunity to see their hometown hero once again. That buzz turned to concern a mere seconds into the first round. Out of the gate, Jackson and Punk stood toe to toe and exchanged strikes. They both connected with some, but Jackson’s were the ones that appeared to do damage. As the round went on, Punk incorporated a weak looking spinning kick into his offensive arsenal as Jackson continued to pick away with hooks and jabs. Round one ended with Punk securing a takedown, but he was unable to exploit his position to do further damage.
The crowd’s concern seconds into round one wasn’t because of the damage done to Punk, but due to the fact that Punk’s movement and strikes plodded along in a fashion that spelled danger. In the second round, things went from bad to worse. Jackson clocked Punk with some vicious striking combinations which eventually positioned him in a mount position on a prone CM Punk. Jackson continued the assault from there and toyed with Punk and the Chicago crowd by mocking him with hand motions instead of delivering more crushing blows. In Punk’s days as a WWE wrestler, the “CM Punk” chants from a Chicago crowd would have spurred an intense babyface comeback which would inevitably lead to victory. At UFC 225, the chants rang through the arena, but were met with a stunning silence from Punk. Round three was a carbon copy of round two and in the end, Mike Jackson won the fight via unanimous decision.
Punk showed an incredible amount of heart during this performance, but heart doesn’t win you anything in the UFC. As expected, Punk was leaps and bounds behind Jackson in terms of talent level. He was slower and not effective with his energy whatsoever. The one surprising element of this fight was Punk’s cardiovascular endurance. That’s one element Punk could seemingly control during his training and one he may look back on regrettably. He gassed out at the beginning of the second round which caused his entire offensive playbook to be completely nullified.
CM Punk deserves respect for finishing the fight amidst a tremendous beating. That said, he absorbed loads of damage which was uncomfortable to watch. He simply doesn’t have the skills or experience to compete in a safe way. After this fight, it’s clear that his time in the UFC must come to and end.
CHECK OUT THE FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS ON UFC 225 HERE: UFC 225 Live Report