MMA Tap Out: 27 Bold Predictions to Close Out 2010 (and Results)
Don't worry, this one isn't strictly a UFC-only prediction piece, but we are coming to the end of 2010, steady approaching 2011, and now is the time when people go balls-out in predicting which events will and won't take place in the world of MMA.
Some events are bound to go down, while others may prove to just get our hopes up, but certain things will happen in 2011.
I now present to you 26 of those things—these all are things that are happening at the end of 2010 and some things that I see going down in 2011.
Some of these may seem like common sense, but they're not all what you could call "common sense" when you learn the ways in which I see things going down.
So enough squawking, let's go bold this time out!
Dale De Souza is a Man on Fire—or as the regulars of MMA writing call it, a “Featured Columnist"—for Bleacher Report MMA, as well as a contributor to Sprawl-N-Brawl MMA, RealSportsNet and Sports Haze (which will be relaunching soon!).
Also be sure to check out more of him on the official Agree To Disagree Facebook page.
Dan Henderson Will Beat Babalu, But Won't Get Past Feijao
Dec. 4 marks the second fight between Dan Henderson and Renato Sobral, with the winner getting a crack at Rafael Cavalcante's Strikeforce light heavyweight belt.
How do I see this one?
Hendo beats Sobral, I'll say an unanimous decision win due to Hendo not being able to finish Sobral, but then he'll face the "Muay Thai Wrecking Machine" known as Feijao.
Unless Hendo abandons his wrestling entirely and sticks plainly with a pure striking game, he's going to suffer the same doomed fate as King Mo did in Houston.
Aldo-Grispi Will Happen in Mid-2011
MMA Junkie reports that Jose Aldo will NOT be defending the UFC featherweight belt against Josh Grispi on New Year's Day.
Major League Suckage, if you ask me.
So when will the two featherweight phenoms collide?
Give it until sometime in the middle of 2011—likely sometime in the late spring or early summer of 2011.
This deal's a great blow to the UFC 125 card, but at least the potential bout will boost a future UFC card.
One thing's for sure in my mind: Aldo WILL either be the champ or back in the mix for a shot at the belt by the time Grispi gets a shot at it.
Big Country Isn't BSing: He WILL Fight in 2011!
I don't know if it will be Lesnar, Mir, Carwin or heaven forbid, Velasquez.
I truly believe that the Square Ring promotion, or whatever the correct name is for Roy Jones Jr.'s promotion, will not hinder Roy Nelson's efforts to fight for the UFC.
Who will he face?
My best guess is someone we aren't giving a chance to face or even beat Nelson.
Phil Davis Will Stand Between Jon Jones and the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
I've gone balls-out in predicting how this one will go, so please consult my take on a possible Davis-Jones bout and how I come to that, and know that it's going down in 2011.
Mark my words.
Nick Diaz vs. Jason Miller Will Happen, Ending in a Split Decision Win for Diaz
If you've wandered around the web recently, you've heard the reports of Cesar Gracie saying that Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz might finally fight Jason "Mayhem" Miller in an event that could happen as soon as Jan. 29—exactly one week before UFC 126.
There's probably a question as to whether the fight actually happens, considering the fact of Diaz apparently wanting the fight to happen at a catchweight since Miller's not looking to drop to welterweight anytime soon.
That might actually be a good plan to have a catchweight because I don't quite see what business Diaz would have at 185, and I don't remember Miller having exactly the best time ever when he did fight at 170.
That said, I see this fight as a combination of the intensity that existed behind UFC 114's Rampage Jackson-Rashad Evans bout, the hatred behind the Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell feud and the excitement to get in the cage and whoop the other guy's ass, a la Jaime Varner-Donald Cerrone II.
It'll be a war all its own, but that's how I see it—and truth be told, if you can honestly see a finish before the end of round three, let alone the fact of it being a quick finish or a late finish, then I have to call you casual, Mr. "Fan."
Sure, both Diaz and Miller probably want to finish the other, but they truly want to leave us all arguing over who was the better fighter.
Thus, they'll take it three rounds, and although I see Diaz getting the win by split decision, I think there's going to be one round in this fight—YES, it will be a three-rounder—that isn't so obvious in producing a clear-cut winner.
Will they still hate each other?
Maybe, but they'll probably hug in the middle of the cage for a brief moment before they remember Nashville.
It's likely that they just wind up hating each other slightly less than before after the fight.
Oh, and regardless of whether this goes down the weekend before 126 or sometime later in 2011, this fight WILL happen.
Jacare's First Title Threat Will Be Robbie Lawler
Plain and simple, the bout that The Ruthless One had against Babalu was far from his most impressive performance in the cage.
A win over the Dec. 4 card's headliner would have put him where Tim Kennedy wound up when the belt was still vacant and Jacare was still a potential contender.
A win over Lindland in what will likely be the new co-headliner of the event, what with Herschel Walker pulling out due to a cut, will make him the first threat Jacare has had since going five rounds with Kennedy in Houston.
Lawler will have his hands full with The Law in St. Louis, and apparently Mr. Lindland is getting enough of a second wind that people believe that he will actually face Souza.
Considering that people might actually be choosing Lindland to pull out what would definitely be an upset, I will say that Lawler not only beats Lindland, but he knocks out The Law in the closing moments of round number one at the least, and number two at the most.
If Lindland can go the distance with Lawler, I will be surprised.
Smith-Diaz II? Definitely
As much as I like Paul Daley, and although I really do hope he does manage to make the most of his Strikeforce debut by beating Scott Smith in dominating fashion, I'm going to go all out and predict that Daley is actually defeated soundly by Mr. Hands of Steel.
Naturally, the more-experienced Daley does dominate Smith for the majority of the fight, only to have his explosive left hook countered by Smith's deadly right hand in the third round, thereby justifying both the TUF 4 middleweight alumnus' nickname of "The Comeback Kid" and also any claims of him deserving to challenge Champion Nick Diaz for his belt.
Diaz will eventually face Jason "Mayhem" Miller in 2011, but something tells me that, pending a win over Daley, a title defense against Smith happens first.
It Will Be The Answer That Faces Either Bendo or Showtime
I'm not even going to act like I wasn't impressed with Frankie Edgar's outing against B.J. Penn at UFC 118, because I was.
Gray Maynard's fight with Kenny Florian, not so much.
Therefore, I feel compelled to predict that before the end of the fifth round, Frankie Edgar will garner a TKO win over Gray Maynard, and the end will come when Gray Maynard tries to take the fight to the ground using his wrestling, at which point Edgar lands a sickening uppercut square on the button.
I haven't decided whether I'm going to stick with Ben Henderson retaining the belt or Anthony Pettis bringing the belt to the Roufusport Fight Club in Milwaukee, Wis.
I don't want to write off Henderson in print, only to see him beat Pettis, and I don't want to shut Pettis' chances down, only to see him pull out what you might call the "KO of the Night" against Bendo.
I'll stay on the fence for the WEC lightweight title fight, but I can tell you for a fact that Maynard is not kicking 2011 off as UFC lightweight champ.
Scott Jorgensen Will Be the UFC Bantamweight Champion After WEC 53
I said I wasn't sure about Henderson-Pettis.
Much as I like Dominick Cruz, I'm not exactly too much on the fence for the final Bantamweight bout in WEC history.
I like Dominick's striking game more than Jorgensen's striking game, but I wouldn't necessarily say that Jorgensen's at a total disadvantage.
I think Cruz may be at a bit of a disadvantage if the fight hits the ground, which is the exact spot where I think Jorgensen wants to take the fight to begin with.
Jorgensen is the guy who I believe will be the stronger of the two and thus his takedowns and punching power will both prove more effective in the fight despite the reach advantage that Cruz will likely have.
Cruz won't be an easy fight for Jorgensen at all, but even still, Jorgensen is pulling out the victory and walking into the UFC as bantamweight champion.
Valentijn Overeem Will Make a Successful Strikeforce Debut... When He Debuts
Valentijn Overeem's debut will have to wait longer than many had hoped as an elbow injury has caused him to pull out of a Heavyweight bout with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.
Before the announcement of the elbow injury, I predicted that Valentijn would pull out an upset against Bigfoot, but with the announcement of the unfortunate injury, my prediction will be slightly revised.
I believe the older Overeem will still have a successful debut when he finally fights for Strikeforce... the only thing that I can't say is that his successful debut will come at Bigfoot's expense.
Kyle vs. Gracie Will Be the Most Exciting Non-Title 205 Bout in Strikeforce
Everyone talks about title bouts and how exciting or boring they were, how one fight should've gone one way and another should've ended another way, but as far as exciting light heavyweight bouts go, one fight I believe stands out quite well on Strikeforce's end is a bout originally scheduled for the Henderson-Babalu card next weekend, but now planned for the Jan. 29 card.
Mike Kyle is scheduled to take on Roger Gracie in a light heavyweight contest, which so far is the only bout slated for the card, which also hopefully sees a Jason Miller-Nick Diaz catchweight war come to fruition.
If you haven't seen Kyle in action, you might be missing out on one of the sport's most hungry light heavyweight fighters outside of the UFC's own 205 class.
The man is never in a dull fight and even when he comes up short he always bring it every time.
Gracie is more than just what the last name suggests—he's a mountain of a man that seemed to tower over Kevin Randleman when the two fought at Strikeforce's last outing in St. Louis.
A 6'4" fighter with some solid BJJ to his credit, he could pose a pretty big threat (no pun intended) to Kyle, but when Kyle's in a fight, he's in it to win it.
Crazy thing is, so is the 3-0 Gracie, who is inexperienced in the sport, but has shown that big guys can make you squeal, even without having to beat you up and take your lunch money.
Stylistically, this has all the makings of a war all throughout, and I would suggest that these two are going to make for one of the most exciting non-title bouts in Strikeforce's early year in 2011.
The Animal Will Be Unleashed In...Some Type of MMA Cage.
Do I think Batista should be involved in MMA at this point in his life?
Not at all.
Will we somehow see Batista in Strikeforce or in another MMA organization in the future?
I still maintain that some of the injuries that Batista's suffered may come back to get him when he steps into the cage, and in the case of the former multi-time WWE champion, I seriously will not be surprised if Batista winds up pulling out of a few fights due to some sort of injury.
That said, I've been proven wrong in the past, and if Batista somehow makes it into one MMA organization without proving himself to be injury-prone—even if it isn't Strikeforce—I will have another Thanksgiving feast, complete with a hearty helping of some nice crow.
If Lesnar-Mir 3 Does Happen, Mir Wins the Series 2-1
Frank Mir almost always talks about a fight with Brock Lesnar, and I don't doubt Lesnar wanting to do a rubber fight with Mir.
The title of this slide should give you the option to battle amongst yourselves on whether or not the fight happens.
Ask me, and the fact that I'm calling Mir winning the series should tell you that YES, this fight does happen in my eyes.
How does Mir beat Lesnar?
This fight actually ends somewhat controversially to me—the fight ends with a third round submission. specifically a Kimura in the closing fifteen seconds of the fight, but Lesnar looks to hang on until what appears to be a late tapout on the part of a hurt Lesnar.
A replay shows that Lesnar tapped right as the bell sounded to end the last round, but because Lesnar tapped at the bell and not in the one split second before the bell, the fight doesn't go down as a submission win for Frank.
The fight is one I see being mostly Mir, with Lesnar somehow winning the first round and showing some dramatic improvements, yet showing signs of fatigue in round two and looking gassed out and therefore more susceptible to takedowns in the third round.
This fight is one that I will wind up scoring 29-28 for Mir, but it'll be irrelevant because the best Frank Mir will come out in this fight and he'll not only give some hell to the best Brock Lesnar we've seen in a long time, but he'll also take some hell at the hands of the best Brock Lesnar we've seen in a long time.
Don't be surprised if anyone, myself included, makes a case that says Lesnar seriously should have won.
I don't think he will, but he'll make some folks wonder what the judges were thinking.
Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum: Overeem 1, Werdum 1
Fabricio Werdum is the man we all know as a former UFC heavyweight who beat Alistair Overeem in PRIDE, beat Gabriel Gonzaga twice, getting a TKO over Brandon Vera, losing to Junior Dos Santos and being the only man in MIxed Martial Arts to beat both Fedor and Aleksander Emelianenko.
The only thing Vai Cavalo doesn't have?
The credential of being called a former heavyweight champion in MMA.
Being the first man to score a legit win over Fedor is huge, but his ultimate object shouldn't be just to be "the guy who beat that Russian dude who nobody beat in 10 years."
He should remember what else that win over Fedor did, and what it did is put him in line for a rematch against Alistair Overeem.
The fact is, Werdum will be coming off of an elbow surgery to rematch Overeem, whom the Brazilian defeated in PRIDE by way of a Kimura in the second round of a PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix Opening Round bout.
Much as I was shocked and ultimately impressed with the way in which Werdum beat Fedor, I just don't see how the man comes off of the win over Fedor—AND the rehabbing of his elbow—to beat the champ and finally get a world title to his name.
Overeem could have a number of motivating factors, among which could be the fact of Werdum beating him, Werdum wanting his title, or the fact of Werdum doing what Overeem wanted to do first and beating Fedor.
Either way, Werdum's going to try, but he's going down the way Brett Rogers did: an Uberknee to the cranium and a few solid shots from The Reem's fists.
Sure, he beat Fedor, but when a shot at Overeem is on the line in the bout against Fedor, it falls by the wayside that the Russian tapped out if you can't capitalize on the biggest win of your career by beating the champ in the bout after.
Then again, the man is coming off of an injury, so you can bet after the TKO loss, people will point to that as the reason why Overeem beat him.
The end result of the Overeem-Werdum rivalry?
The rivalry turns into a trilogy, which Werdum does end up winning by way of a triangle choke.
The Next Time Pacquiao or Mayweather Fights, the UFC Will Top It
I could make this slide read about the same length as a regular article just to tell y'all the deal behind the honorable Emmanuel D. Pacquiao of the Sarangani Province in The Philippines and his most talked about competition, "Pretty Boy Floyd Money Mayweather", the many who retired with an unbeaten 39-0 win streak only to come back and beat Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley.
I could run down how every boxing fan has been hungry for Mayweather-Pacquiao to happen, the way fans of the old school hungered to see Muhammad Ali face Joe Frazier back when the heavyweight division was the talk of the sport of boxing.
Instead, I'm going to be brutally honest.
The simple fact of the matter is that regardless of how many articles you read or how much you believe that Pacquiao-Mayweather will happen after Pacquiao's brutal and thorough destruction of Antonio Margarito and Mayweather's near-complete shutdown of Shane Mosley, there's one thing we all hae to live with:
Mayweather isn't fighting Pacquiao in 2011.
2012 or 2013, maybe, but it isn't happening next year.
I can already see how this whole situation plays out.
It's likely Pacquiao winds up fighting first, but I won't be surprised if Mayweather fights first.
Either way, they're not fighting each other, but alas, their respective managements will find reason upon reason to book fights against any fighter except each other.
The best part about it all?
Some people will buy into the belief that the fight makes sense and actually convince themselves that there's more logic behind the fight's occurrence than just "the fight is happening so that we can say it happened."
They'll throw out reason after reason why it makes sense that they'd fight these other guys and they'd point to every single time Manny or Floyd had ever been hit or knocked down.
Oh, and the fights themselves?
They'll land on the same night as a UFC event.
Now, I know it'll take a huge card to top a Pacquiao fight or a Mayweather fight on PPV buyrates, but as far as action goes, the UFC will provide the better product no matter what Bob Arum says.
Pacquiao and Mayweather may be involved in fight cards that see millions of people ordering their fights over a UFC card, but there's only so many times when you can be willing to overlook the fact that Boxing promoters are trying to avoid giving their own fans what they want, and what they want is to stop speculating about what would happen if Pacquiao and Mayweather fought.
They want to see the two go at it and they want to put the debate to rest.
Unless that exact fight happens in 2011, the buyrates may be the only thing that Boxing will have that the UFC doesn't.
They may have over 1.4 million plus people buying their product, and a Pacquiao fight or a Mayweather fight could equally be perceived as a bigger product than most sports.
Put either fight up against a UFC card, however, and ask yourself: Is the boxing card really better?
I personally don't think so.
Kid Yamamoto Will Find Himself in Free Agency—and Eventually, the UFC
Ever since the rise of the lighter weight divisions, people have been taking note of the little guys, and even before Jose Aldo, two names were prominent:
One was current UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber, and the other was DREAM veteran Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.
The only problem beforehand?
The lighter weights weren't in the UFC, so the bout wouldn't have been major in anyone's eyes unless "anyone" considered themselves to be hardcore fans of the sport.
Now that the featherweights, bantamweights and (hopefully) flyweights are now in the world's largest Mixed Martial Arts organization, the bout is one that you'd think would be a bit more likely, except for Urijah's move to bantamweight, which is eight pounds less than Norifumi's natural weight of 143.
No problem for the fight to still happen.
The truth is, Yamamoto hasn't fought since DREAM 14, and no one has been offered for the man who who probably be a natural UFC featherweight if he made the trip to the States.
While it'd be tough to figure out a good weight for a catchweight bout between The California Kid and The Son of God to occur, it's not tough to see how much of a lure it is for guys like Yamamoto, Bibiano "Flash" Fernandes and basically every lighter weight that the UFC hasn't gotten yet.
Kid gets competition, the chance to have even your casual fans remember his name, and of course, a chance for a payday or two sounds like a good reason to jump ship from DREAM.
Yamamoto will find himself doing just that within the next year or two—unless DREAM changes their mind about not putting him on a card, or FEG just coughs up the cash to pay him for those other fights he's had.
It'd be foolish of Dana White to not capitalize on the chance to acquire one of the best lighter weights in the world, but he'll get his chance to do just that in the next year.
Wanderlei Silva's Next Fight Will Co-Headline a Late Spring Or A Summer Card
The Crippler has Brian Stann at UFC 125, while Wanderlei Silva hasn't been in the cage since UFC 110 against Michael Bisping.
Leben called out Wanderlei after getting a win by submission in what was a hell of a fight against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116.
Silva has been widely rumored to come back to action as early as January and as late as February, so he's definitely coming back sometime in the Spring of 2011, pending injuries in training and so forth.
Silva has also said that he has guys the likes of Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, and of course Leben on his hit list.
Alan Belcher has also expressed interest in fighting the PRIDE legend -- a fight that Duke Roufus admitted that he'd like to see personally.
Whether Vitor gets Wanderlei next may depend on what happens when Vitor faces Anderson Silva, but after UFC 125, Leben would be free to take on another fight -- pending his health and whether he only gets a precautionary medical suspension after fighting Stann.
Belcher is reportedly recovering from his eye injury and could see action in 2011 himself, while Sonnen will have his case heard by the CSAC regarding the aftermath of Sonnen's UFC 117 bout with Anderson Silva.
The events in the aftermath of the fight have unquestionably overshadowed the fight itself, as before tapping out to the Triangle Choke that would serve as the Submission Of The Night, the fight saw Sonnen dominate Anderson Silva in four and a half rounds.
Had Silva not have locked in the Triangle Choke, The Spider would have lost what would have been arguably the most lopsided Middleweight Title Bout in UFC history on all three judges' scorecards.
Sonnen, Leben, and Belcher present younger and more deadly threats to The Axe Murderer, and while Sonnen hasn't said anything about Wanderlei since news surfaced about his failed UFC 117 drug test, Belcher and Leben have.
Wanderlei Silva will meet one of these three on the night he returns to the cage.
Likely, it won't be Sonnen, even if his appeal to the CSAC is approved, because Sonnen still can't fight for a set number of months, which has proven in the past to be no more or less than a half a year for those who have had their appeals approved.
Belcher's return date has yet to be approved, and heaven only knows what the future will hold for Leben.
Expect Wanderlei Silva to co-headline a card in the late spring or the early summer of 2010, and as for his opponent...
Expect every message board, online forum, and every article on B/R to plead a case for one of these three men to be the guy that welcomes Wanderlei back into the Octagon.
St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 Will Be Exciting from Start to Finish
That's right, I'm saying it.
I'm picking GSP to beat Koscheck, I won't be surprised if the next welterweight title fight we see in the UFC is Josh Koscheck vs. Jake Shields, but the main event of UFC 124 will not be a snoozer like everyone is unfairly anticipating.
Josh Koscheck is a wrestler above all else, but he has assured the world that he's a different Josh Koscheck from the man who dropped a decision to "Rush" at UFC 74.
He didn't state what he thought GSP would do differently, but he did let all of us know that he's hoping GSP is ready for a Josh Koscheck that is primed and ready to finish this fight.
We know Kos isn't a lay-and-pray artist—last time anyone checked, a rear naked choke on Anthony "Rumble" Johnson didn't qualify as "lay-and-pray."
Neither did a knockout of Yoshiyuki Yoshida or a TKO win over Dustin Hazelett.
The win over Paul Daley... that depends on your bias.
Point is, Koscheck will look to finish GSP, and if the bout with Dan Hardy was an indicator, we can expect that GSP will want to do the same.
Doesn't sound like this one is going to be a snorefest anymore, now does it?
IF Anderson Silva Gets By Vitor Belfort, He'll Eventually Vacate His Title
Anyone who knows me or who has read enough of my material knows my take on Anderson "The Spider" Silva.
Some of you also know of another bold prediction I made some time ago, saying that Vitor Belfort would win the belt (though I wrote the piece before Silva-Belfort became a part of UFC 126.)
I would like to make the bold prediction of saying that my prediction of Vitor Belfort beating Anderson Silva actually prove to be very, very wrong.
Not "very, very wrong" in the sense of the knockout happening in the first round (although it could happen).
"Very, very wrong" in the sense of Anderson Silva actually retaining the belt, and if I know Silva, this win comes either by way of knockout, TKO or submission sometime before the end of the fifth round.
If the bout goes the full distance, Silva will be lucky to have the fight end in a split decision.
Nonetheless, Silva will not only prove my prediction horribly wrong, but he will avenge his loss to Yushin Okami by submitting Okami late in the third round.
I would not be surprised if Yushin won the first two rounds of his fight against Silva solely on his takedown ability and his Octagon generalship.
Like The Spider or wish to see him squashed, but the man is walking out of UFC 126 still the champ, he's beating Okami for the belt, and he's vacating the belt as he really should have done some time ago.
As for Silva's retirement?
Once that happens, nobody in the middleweight division will come close to the unheard-of streak of seven consecutive title defenses successfully made in ONE title streak.
Hell, you have to count Matt Hughes' second welterweight title run to even say he's equal to Silva.
Silva's going to make it eight—should be nine, but it's going to be eight—against Vitor Belfort come Super Bowl weekend
Velasquez vs. Dos Santos Will Be a Fight of the Year Candidate
Say what you want about UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and No. 1 contender Junior "Cigano" Dos Santos, but never lose sight of the fact that they are always involved in some sort of memorable fight that the UFC always provides whenever they need some good heavyweight action to light the crowds up.
Cain is a wrestler first, but he's not the type of guy who lays and prays for three rouds.
If the champ gets on top of you, expect him to pound your face in until it looks like a wild mess.
Expect Dos Santos to do the same thing to you just by waking towards you.
The UFC will not go out of 2011 without providing some sort of stage for Velasquez-Dos Santos, and regardless of when they fight or who you're backing, expect this fight to be one of the most entertaining affairs of the new year.
I'm not taking a stab at that one.
UFC 128: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua Will Return -- AND Beat Rashad Evans
Think that Rashad Evans might have an easy time with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua when the champ comes back?
That's cool if you do, but I wouldn't bank on it.
See, there's been a bit of controversy surrounding this fight -- most of it being about IF this fight was going to actually happen, and Rashad has had a few mixed reactions about the situation.
First, he was down to wait for the champ to fully rehab -- which I respect because I personally hate nothing more than when a person takes a fight and lets us all know that he feels at his best, only to show that he clearly was rusty due to his time away from the cage.
Then came the talks that Rashad was getting fed up with waiting and was down to take a fight to keep the cage rust off for when he does fight Shogun.
I say, "what cage rust?"
Sure, Shogun's going to be coming off of an appendix removal and rehabbing his knee, but as we get closer to fight week for UFC 128, we're all going to see that Shogun's form was only enhanced by his time away from the Octagon.
His strikes will look cleaner when he lands his punches against Rashad, who has knockout power but is a Wrestler first, and the kicks of Shogun will still be lethal enough to bruise the skin of Suga Rashad.
The wild card in this prediction is what happens if Rashad does manage to take the fight to the ground, because without his Wrestling, he won't stand much of a chance against Shogun.
Taking Shogun down for five rounds and not letting him get off any of his legendary offense, all en route to one of the sport's more lopsided Unanimous Decisionm victories in recent memory, is Rashad's only shot at being a two-time Light Heavyweight Champion.
Strangely enough, I don't see Rashad doing that.
I see him taking his time and expecting the champ to exhaust himself early, but Shogun's Chute Boxe Madness isn't just limited to the wild and aggressive offense he showed in PRIDE -- back when soccer kicks were as legal as a rear naked choke.
Shogun is a smart striker -- one of the few guys in the sport that you'd relate to a Randy Couture in that he's a strategic fighter.
Remember, he didn't go wild the first time he fought Machida, and he didn't do anything nuts against Liddell until that flying knee.
He weakens opponents with short but powerful shots before he comes forward with that fast-paced "damn, he's trying to kill me" type of offense.
Knockout, Submission, or heaven forbid, a decision -- it doesn't matter.
Either way, Rashad Evans is a lot of things: he's an analytical mind, a solid wrestler, and a brutal one-shot killer when he's able to get his best shots off.
One this Suga Rashad ain't?
He ain't the guy leaving Abu Dhabi as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
Tate vs. Coenen Will End in Submission
Miesha "Takedown" Tate has submitted four of her opponents in her career, going the distance succesfully with four and finding a way to end three fights by stopping her opponent.
Marloes Coenen has submitted 13 opponents, stopping three and going the distance successfully with two opponents.
Coenen has never tapped out in her career, nor has Tate.
While a takedown from Tate might be tempting her fate in Coenen's hands, successful ground control by using her wrestling could be what Tate needs to change all that.
That said, Marloes isn't called "The Female Rickson Gracie" for nothing.
One of these two 135er will walk out as Strikeforce's women's welterweight queen, but mark my words on this one folks:
While one will walk out the champ, the other will TAP out.
No stoppage by TKO due to strikes, no going five rounds.
Someone's tapping out.
Whether it's Miesha or Marloes that forces the submission, I haven't decided yet, but one of them will lose by way of some sick hold.
The Last Emperor Will Return to Fighting Form
I don't have a question about Fedor Emelianenko after tapping out to Fabricio Werdum.
The man's next Strikeforce fight may not be Alistair Overeem, but there are other top-card heavyweights in Strikeforce's largest division that could be the Pat Barry to Fedor's Cro Cop (who by the way Fedor has beaten, just for an "LOL").
To put it another way, Scott Coker does have other options in deciding how to test out the spot in which Fedor sits in the heavyweight ranks of the sport.
Regardless of who it is, Fedor will come back in top form and he will prove that, although he's no longer the pound-for-pound best heavyweight in the world, he's still one tough motherf**ker.
After all, you don't dethrone an emperor without expecting him to fight like hell to reclaim his kingdom.
B.J. Penn Will Snap Jon Fitch's Five-Fight Win Streak in Australia
I can't boldly predict that B.J. Penn will face Georges St-Pierre in 2011 because I honestly can't say I see B.J. Penn earning a rubber fight with GSP with two more fights at welterweight.
I will, however, say that at UFC 127, the new and improved B.J. Penn does something which no one has done to Jon Fitch since the Purdue Boilermaker's career began in July 2002:
That's right, I'm talking about B.J. Penn finishing Jon Fitch.
See, B.J. Penn has faced takedown artists like the type of methodical dismemberment machine that Fitch is, but Jon Fitch has never faced a fighter with the expert BJJ of Penn.
If you think Fitch is getting the unanimous decision victory number six at the Acer Arena in Australia this March, then at least don't put money on it happening.
Fitch may have the takedown ability, but B.J. will be the better standup fighter and the better ground fighter in their welterweight affair.
To put it nicely, boys and girls, Dana White will not have anything to do with Fitch not getting a title shot after UFC 127.
This time, you can prepare to blame The Prodigy for the fact that GSP-Fitch II still ain't going down yet.
George Sotiropoulos Will Be the Next UFC Lightweight Title Contender
He just came off the Fight of the Night last weekend against Joe Lauzon.
He'll get Dennis Siver at UFC 127 in a bout that is sure to be a true test of Soti's standup and all-around fighting game, but I want to go beyond that.
I have Sotiropoulos submitting Siver in the mid-first round at the earliest and the late third round at the latest, anyway.
I've already said that Frankie Edgar will walk out UFC lightweight champ on New Year's Day, and that I'm on the fence for the WEC lightweight championship bout.
Regardless of what happens at UFC 125, however, the submission ace from Down Under will not be denied his shot at the belt after UFC 127.
He'll prove to be too much for Siver to handle, and he'll be the next fighter in line for the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, whomever that may be.
Roufusport Will Produce a Future UFC Champion
Anthony Pettis, Pat Barry, Alan Belcher, "Danny Boy" Downes, Erik Koch, Matt Mitrione, Ben Rothwell...
These gentlemen represent the current Roufusport talent that you can see in the UFC as of the time of this article's publishing.
Pettis so far is the only member of the camp currently lined up to face a champion, but Barry trained with the former UFC heavyweight champion prior to Brock Lesnar's last outing, Belcher is well on his way back into the mix, Danny Boy and "The New Breed" are exciting young talents that are familiar in the eyes of some of the fans of the lighter weights and Mitrione has a bout coming up with Tim Hague while Rothwell is a bit "familiar" himself with Cain Velasquez.
Why mention the boys from Roufusport?
Because in a world run by the fighters out of Team Sityodtong, Black House, Xtreme Couture, ATT, The Wand Fight Team, Nova Uniao and the Greg Jackson camp, teams like Roufusport get lost in the mix as far as credible training teams in the sport of MMA.
Regardless of whether Pettis beats Benn Henderson or not at WEC 53, that all is going to change for Duke Roufus' boys in the next year, three years at most.
With a new year, new stars make their names known and new champions emerge, and somehow, someway, that champion will represent this group of young hungry fighters from Milwaukee, Wis.
Will Greg Jackson and Ed Soares likely still have some of the sport's most dominant fighters?
Will they rule the roost in Mixed Martial Arts entirely?
On that I wouldn't go too far.
And speaking of the Black House and Greg Jackson camps...
Silva vs. St-Pierre Will Fall Into Place, But Won't Happen Until 2012 or 2013
If GSP beats Koscheck, he still has to face Jake Shields, and it's possible that he'll get the winner of Chris Lytle-Carlos Condit at UFC 127—even if the winner is Condit.
Anderson Silva could pull out the upset against Vitor Belfort, but he still has to beat Yushin Okami, and the winner of Michael Bisping-Jorge Rivera could be an option for The Spider if Silva avenges his loss to Okami.
With all that in mind, I don't see GSP vs. Silva finally happening next year, but I do see both men retaining their belts in their next two to three bouts in what I would have to say are going to be major upsets—while GSP beating Koscheck at UFC 124 isn't really an upset, I still don't think many people are giving the pound-for-pound king a shot to beat Shields.
As for Silva, he's going to definitely be responsible for an upset if he makes it past Belfort and Okami—both of whom present their own threats to the unprecedented streak of the UFC's longest reigning titleholder.
I see GSP and Silva moving all the pieces in place to make the fight happen, but the fight won't happen as a closer to 2011.
The best things in life are the things we have to wait for, and Dana White will make us wait for GSP vs. Silva to happen.
How long is the wait?
The earliest I see this happening is the mid-spring of 2012, pending the health of both fighters, as I'm sure both men will want to try and get back in the cage as soon as possible after their latest win.
The latest time will be the late fall to early winter of 2013, which is a massive gap, but one that could be possible pending both fighters' health issues or possibly losing the belt and having to take a rollercoaster ride through their divisions in order to keep the hopes of the superfight alive.
In any event, the fight WILL happen... just not as soon as you and I would like.
Bonus Predictions to Close Out 2010
-- DREAM Dynamite! 2010 will be an electric event that makes people wish they had HDNet, and strangely enough, a fired-up entrance from Melvin Manhoef will have nothing to do with that, although Manhoef will look like the most badass-looking badass to come out in a battle skirt, let alone any skirt.
-- Yoshihiro Nakao will not only not kiss Dave Herman at Sengoku's Soul of Fight, but he will also manage to not lose to Herman.
-- Bellator's fourth season is coming up, and the tournaments to decide the challengers to the promotion's four original titles will go down, but the winners of the tournaments will do little to matter (unless Georgi Karakhanyan wins the featherweight tournament—he's my pick!). I say it really won't matter because in Season Five, Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, Ben Askren and Joe Warren will retain their respective titles.
Oh, and Lombard will probably call out Jacare again
-- Speaking of Strikeforce/Bellator co-promotional deals, that Alvarez bout with Gilbert Melendez... it'll probably come back into conversation after Melendez's return to action. Will the fight happen? Hell yeah it will. Quote me on this one: Somehow, someway, Coker's jumping on board with this whole idea after Melendez makes a successful return to action.
-- Most likely Strikeforce lightweight bout: Josh Thomson vs. K.J. Noons.
-- Will Chuck Liddell come back to the Octagon? Yes he will, and we will rehash the stuff Dana White has said the past two times he wanted Chuck to "hang the gloves up" before we find out the fight.
-- Will FEG crumble after DREAM Dynamite 2010? I would hope one of the lighter weights at least goes to the UFC, but somehow NO, it will not.
-- The fate of Todd Harris and Craig Hummer? Hopefully not anywhere away from the Octagon, but I see them playing some role in the UFC.
-- Will Arianny Celeste have competition in the form of Brittney Palmer? WHO CARES? They're still going to be damn gorgeous in B/R's eyes!
If you have any other questions that you'd like for me to predict the outcome of, post them in a comment.
Additionally I welcome all feedback on this slideshow, no matter what it is.
* If you're going to flame this, then flame it—all I ask is do so in a way that I can at least read it!
I am Dale De Souza, and I thank you for playing Twisted Met-- I mean, viewing this slideshow!
Of Course, You May (Or May Not) Be Wondering...
How did all of this go for me?
Well, if I eat crow, I'll let the MMA community know about it, so here's how it all went for me (in no particular order, because orders are for restaurants, and besides which, these events happened in a sort-of certain way).
Who Did The WEC Lightweight Champion Face In The Unification Bout?
At the time this slide was created, Edgar and Maynard fought in a bout that saw the judges' scorecards, but the result was the polar opposite of what everyone expected.
Some people honestly saw Edgar getting finished, others (myself included) thought Edgar would finish Maynard, but most wrote off this card, believing that this main event would be a five-round lay-and-pray session that ended in a stale Unanimous Decision.
There's a reason why we a B/R do what we do -- and there's a reason why we call fights exciting even when the fight looks like it really is going to be a snoozer.
To quote Dana White, "You can't judge a fight before the fight happens."
** This slide will be updated with the result of the rematch between Edgar and Maynard and Dale's Take AFTER Edgar-Maynard III happens
Did The UFC Pick Up The Son Of God?
It seemed unlikely, but it happened.
Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto did get signed and he is slated (likely to be confirmed but not confirmed) to face Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson in what will be Yamamoto's UFC Bantamweight debut at UFC 126 on Super Bowl Weekend.
I like what I have seen from Yamamoto and I don't understand why two recent pro losses is full justification to doubt the obvious skill and ability of this talented warrior -- who by the way is responsible for what I have considered to be the best KO by flying knee that I've ever seen, period.
That being said, the guy fought in DREAM's Featherweight division, a division in which the fighters compete at no more than 139-140 pounds -- only about three to four pounds below Kid's natural weight of 143.
Compare that to the UFC's Bantamweight division -- a weight class in which the limit is roughly seven to eight pounds below the natural weight limit of Yamamoto.
The drop shouldn't result in a detrimental performance for Yamamoto, but we also can't jump to conclusions and say that the eight-pound cut-down will result in either the best performance or the worst performance of Yamamoto's career.
I will be among a possible many who won't be convinced of this move being good for Yamamoto until we see Yamamoto soundly defeat Johnson, but does that mean Yamamoto won't make a big impact on the UFC Bantamweight division?
Not at all.
In fact, not only do I think Yamamoto can beat Johnson, but I think he will somehow beat Johnson.
From Start To Finish, How Was The GSP-Koscheck Rematch?
You can say I nailed this one, or you can say I was totally wrong about this one.
The fact is that GSP didn't lay-and-pray on Koscheck for five rounds -- unless you can show me the fight again and prove that breaking Koscheck's right orbital bone is broken counts towards being lay-and-pray.
GSP may not have finished Koscheck, but at least no one can say that GSP doesn't do any real damage to people when he fights.
I think delivering shots to the point of a doctor stoppage being justifiable on all fronts falls on an equal point as does a clear TKO finish, and besides, the fight was fun to watch.
There's really only one thing I can say, and I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this at all:
I hope Jake Shields was watching this. I really do.
Did Hendo Go 2-0 Against Babalu, and Did Smith and Lawler Prevail In St. Louis?
You tell me.
Looks like I did something I swore I wouldn't ever do again and underestimated Paul Daley.
Lawler prevailed (and KOed Lindland), but Daley's left hook stopped Scott Smith cold.
As tough as Henderson is, I still don't see how "Hollywood Homicide" seals the fate of the Muay Thai Wrecking Machine known as Rafael Cavalcante.
When the fight goes down between the two, Hendo will have the chance to prove me wrong.
As for Semtex and Ruthless Robbie, it'll be interesting to see if Daley's next outing will really be against KJ Noons or against Nick Diaz.
Jacare will unquestionably have his mitts loaded with one Robbie Lawler in his first title defense -- one that could make for an interesting fight.
Did Dominick Cruz Lose The Belt to Young Guns?
Au contraire, he did not.
Actually, he dominated Jorgensen with his striking for all five rounds and got a pretty lopsided unanimous decision victory because of it.
Jorgensen doesn't have anything to be ashamed of -- he just had a tough night and was unable to pull the trigger against the champ.
The champ did what he had to do, and he came out the victor in the end -- which has sparked up debate over whether or not a "role-reversal" category of title bout will happen between Cruz and Urijah Faber.
Has Roufusport Produced a Future UFC Champion Yet?
This slide was done on the weekend after WEC 53, and on that night, Danny Downes defeated Tie Quan Zhang.
The same card saw "The Showtime Kick", which broke a 38-38 tie on my scorecards during the Ben Henderson-Anthony Pettis fight to crown the final WEC Lightweight Champion.
Had the kick not landed or been a thought in the mind of Pettis, I feel that either one of two scenarios would have taken place:
1. Ben Henderson would (probably) have retired the WEC Lightweight Belt
2. Henderson and Pettis would be slated for a rematch at a future UFC event for the first crack at the Edgar-Maynard II winner.
I'd say we should give Pat Barry, Matt Mitrione, Erik Koch, Danny Boy, and Alan Belcher a shot to earn their shots at a belt, but did they do it before the winner of Edgar-Maynard II was decided?
Yes, they did, and his name is Anthony "Showtime" Pettis.
I was honestly split on this fight, which is why I didn't predict Bendo retaining or Showtime winning the title, but I did honestly see them both split a two rounds apiece in the actual fight.
That kick was the deciding factor in my eyes and it garnered the win for Pettis.
He has grown before our eyes in the WEC, and any hype surrounding him is purely justified as he proved that he's not "all hype and no show" against the champ.
Tell me you thought that kick didn't hurt Henderson.
I'll tell you it nearly earned Pettis a TKO win over Henderson, and the fact of the fight going to the judges doesn't mean that the kick was ineffective.
If Pettis pulled that off in the WEC, I can't wait to see what he does in the UFC.