On Saturday night, “The Best in the World” returns as Phil “CM Punk” Brooks will make his second walk to the Octagon to the tune of “Cult of Personality” in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, when he fights Mike “The Truth” Jackson at the United Center, live on pay-per-view.
Punk vs. Jackson is scheduled as the opening bout on the pay-per-view card at UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero II on Saturday night, in a match pitting two fighters with 0-1 pro MMA records on a card that features multiple former UFC World Champions on the preliminary card leading up to the pay-per-view.
For more on the reaction from the MMA community to that particular issue, check out our own Adam Martin’s editorial, CM Punk Doesn’t Deserve A Main Card Spot At UFC 225.
Okay, with that out-of-the-way, let’s take a closer look at the actual matchup between two fighters who we know very little about.
CM Punk and Mike Jackson have each fought one professional MMA fight, and it was against the same man — Mickey Gall. Gall defeated both via first-round stoppage, as he submitted Punk with a rear-naked choke at 2:14 of round one in their fight at UFC 203 in September of 2016, and Jackson via RNC in just 45 seconds in their fight at UFC Fight Night 82 in February of 2016.
Both Punk and Jackson have had two years since their only fights inside the Octagon to improve their skills, and on Saturday, we will see just how much they have improved.
In the case of Punk, leading up to his first fight against Gall, there was a lot of buzz from high-level fighters about his talents. Ben Askren, who helped Punk with his wrestling training, was careful not to hand out too many compliments, however others, such as former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis and Roufusport head coach Duke Roufus, were quick to sing Punk’s praises any time a microphone or camera was in front of them. This time around, however, that is not the case. Roufus is still supporting his guy, claiming Punk has improved “incredibly” since UFC fans have last seen him in action nearly two years ago.
In the case of Jackson, again, we don’t know much. He claims to have a solid background in striking competition, touting an undefeated record in boxing and kickboxing with all of his victories coming by way of knockout. I have yet to see a lot of these bouts, but he insists that they are out there. Punk claims to be a big fan of jiu-jitsu, and touts some kind of karate background for his striking credentials.
If you look at the numbers, Punk is a 39-year-old longtime pro wrestler with a beat up body who has been terribly distracted by one of the most grueling issues he has faced in his life, a long, drawn-out lawsuit against WWE physician Chris Amann, which coincidentally wrapped up the same week he was finishing up his training for the biggest fight of his life. Meanwhile, Jackson is only 33, and appears to be a decent athlete, if nothing else. In terms of height and weight, they are the exact same, as they each weigh 170 pounds and they each stand 6 feet, 2-inches tall.
Once again, another dead end.
Last and certainly not least, we go the odds route. The betting odds, as of this writing, have Jackson at -210 and Punk at +180. What this means is that Jackson is slightly more than a two-to-one favorite to defeat Punk, while Punk sits at a nearly two-to-one underdog spot. A $100 bet on Punk, if he were to win, would profit you $180. On the flip-side of the coin, it would take a $210 bet on Jackson with the current odds, to profit $100 if he were to pull of the victory as expected.
Again, not a lot is learned.
When Bruce Buffer finishes his infamous pre-fight introductions and gets out of the way and the guy with the black shirt and latex gloves on tells these two to fight, your guess is as good as anybody’s in terms of how the fight will play out. Clearly Punk has a lot riding on this one, as does Jackson, as a loss will surely spell the end of either guys run in the UFC. Punk might have a slight chance of getting a third shot as an 0-2 fighter, although the public out-cry might force UFC President Dana White’s hand on that one. Certainly Punk won’t be on any pay-per-view cards as an 0-2 fighter making his third walk to the Octagon.
Things will be very interesting when the bell rings to kick off round one of the opening fight on the pay-per-view card when UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero II touches down at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday evening. If you’re not ordering the PPV, make sure to join us at our MMA affiliate website, MMANews.com, for the best round-by-round live results coverage of UFC 225.
What are your thoughts on the CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson fight? How do you think the fight will play out? Sound off in the Comments section below.