Rashad Coulter (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

UFC 225: Prelim Fights that May Surprise

It’s fight week! UFC 225 is finally here, and on paper it looks to be one of the best collections of fights the combat-sports leader has offered up in some time.

With two championship bouts sitting atop the card, and what is essentially a title eliminator between Holly Holm and Megan Anderson, the UFC has pulled out all the stops for its first pay-per-view event in Chicago.

There has been a ton of hype over the event’s main card, and rightfully so. However, it’s going to be a couple of preliminary-card fights that steal the show.


“The Daywalker” Rashad Coulter is still in search of his first Octagon win. He takes on the well-rounded Chris De La Rocha in a prelim bout that will air on Fox Sports 1. Don’t blink!

Coulter has had a tough go in the UFC thus far. He fought Chase Sherman in what would become the “Fight of the Night” at UFC 211. In his next outing, he squared off with rising prospect Tai Tuivasa at UFC Fight Night 121. Although “The Daywalker” came up short in his first two trips to the Octagon, he doesn’t plan on making the same mistake a third time.

Not only will Coulter win this fight, but he will do so in exciting fashion. He might even set himself up for a rematch with the last man to beat him, the aforementioned Tuivasa. Coulter should end De La Rocha’s night early in round one.

The other contest that may be flying a bit under the radar is the very first fight of the night. When the Windy City’s own Mike Santiago begins his stroll to the cage on Saturday night at the United Center, the arena won’t yet be filled to capacity, but the house that Michael Jordan built will be rocking and rolling for another Mike.

Santiago will have his hands full when he faces the always dangerous Dan Ige. Akin to Coulter, Santiago is still waiting patiently for his first official UFC win. The featherweight was submitted by Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC Fight Night 115 and then dropped a decision to Mads Burnell at UFC Fight Night 124. Santiago would love nothing more than to notch his first UFC victory in his own backyard. He’ll get it done, too, in what might be a “Fight of the Night” contender that goes the distance.

There’s no doubt the UFC 225 main card is going to live up to the hype, but don’t sleep on the prelims.