12 Bold MMA Predictions for the Summer of 2011
Although it already feels like summer across most of the country, the summer season officially begins June 21, and will come to an end on September 22.
In between that time, MMA fans are going to be treated to many great fights and events.
There will be 13 major events held (14 if you grandfather in UFC 135, which is scheduled to take place on September 24) during the hottest season of the year. On top of that, Jason Miller and Michael Bisping will begin their coaching stint on the 14th season of the Ultimate Fighter.
While there sill surely be surprises happening inside the cage and ring, there will also more than likely be some big happenings that don't involve men and women getting punched in the face.
Here are 12 predictions for the summer of 2011.
Patricio Freire Will Defeat Joe Warren for Bellator's Featherweight Title
When they first met in June of last year, Joe Warren narrowly escaped the first round of his fight against Patricio "Pitbull" Freire to take a split-decision victory in the finals of Bellator's season three featherweight tournament.
Warren was then awarded a shot against reigning champion Joe Soto, and was able to win the title via second round TKO.
Pitbull came back in Bellator's fourth season to win the featherweight tournament and earn a chance to not only win the title, but to also avenge his lone career loss.
When the two face off again at Bellator 47 on July 23, Freire will get a TKO victory over Joe Warren, and leave Ontario with the Bellator featherweight title.
Athletic Commissions Will Realize That Monitors for Judges Are Pointless
At UFC 130, judges were given monitors at cageside for the first time in the sport's history. Even though this is a good move in theory, it won't solve the overall judging problem in MMA.
It goes without saying that during the next three months, we will see a few decisions that will leave us scratching our collective heads. Then everyone will realize that adding monitors won't solve the problem; getting judges that know what they are doing will.
Gilbert Melendez Will Be the Next Strikeforce Fighters Folded in to the UFC
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To be honest, the Strikeforce lightweight division is very, very shallow. Outside of Josh Thomson, there is little opposition left for Melendez under the Strikeforce roster.
Since we have already seen that "business as usual" didn't last very long, expect to hear an announcement this summer that Melendez will be brought up to the UFC later this year.
Jon Jones Will Live Up to the Hype
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It has recently been all but confirmed that Jon Jones will be making the first defense of his title against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 135.
That event will take place two days after the end of summer, but we'll include it anyway.
When Rampage and Jones square off, Jones will put a beating on Rampage that will make the beatings he received from Wanderlei Silva in Pride look like tea parties.
Then forget about St-Pierre vs Anderson Silva, give us Jones vs Silva.
Josh Barnett Will Test Positive for Steroids
This really isn't a bold prediction.
Fedor Will Retire
Fedor is set to take on Dan Henderson on a Strikeforce card in Chicago on July 30.
Fedor is currently on a two fight losing skid. After each of the losses, Fedor hinted at leaving the sport. But each time, his decision regarding retirement was quickly answered.
After he gets violently knocked out by one of Henderson's "H-Bombs," Fedor will announce his retirement, and will never look back.
Randy Couture Will Un-Retire
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We have all been through this drill a couple of times.
Randy loses, says he's done, then a few months later he gets the itch to fight again. Then Dana White signs him again, Randy comes back, loses badly, and retires again.
This time around, Randy will be inspired by the recent success by the ageless Bernard Hopkins, and come back to make another run at UFC gold.
Anderson Silva Will Make the Move to Light Heavyweight
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At UFC 134, Anderson Silva will be making yet another defense of his middleweight title. This time around, his victim will be Yushin Okami.
After Silva disposes of Okami, it will be difficult to argue that Silva has not cleaned out the UFC's middleweight division.
With a lack of serious contenders for his title, Silva will vacate the belt and make the move to the light heavyweight division.
Then we will get to see if he can go through a second weight division.
Steven Seagal Will Reign Supreme
So far in 2011, Seagal is a perfect 2-0
By the time UFC 134 goes down in the history books, Seagal could be a perfect 4-0 should Junior dos Santos and Anderson Silva pull off some crazy kicks to score their victories.
When that happens, Seagal will surpass Greg Jackson as the best trainer in MMA.
Also, I will quit all this MMA stuff, and Robert Gardner will be put on suicide watch at his local mental institution.
UFC 133 Won't Bring in More Than 300K Pay-Per-View Buys
History has proven that Rashad Evans vs up-and-coming fighter can't sell.
While many believe that Phil Davis can be a force in the light heavyweight division, he still isn't a name that will draw the casual fans in to buying a pay-per-view.
Also, with the recent developments in the light heavyweight title picture, it doesn't look like the winner will get a shot at the title anytime soon.
Add all that to a so-so undercard, and you have a recipe for a pay-per-view disaster.
Rick Story Will Be Next in Line for a Welterweight Title Shot
At UFC 130, Rick Story fought the fight of his life when he won a unanimous decision over Thiago Alves.
Now just a month after that bout, Story is stepping in on short notice for Anthony Johnson to take on Nate Marquardt at UFC on Versus 4.
If Story had no problems with Alves, Marquardt is going to be a walk in the park for him.
After he gets another decisive victory over a big named opponent, look for Story to be named the No. 1 contender and get a shot at the welterweight title early in 2012.
Floyd Mayweather Will Sign with the UFC
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Boxing hasn't been very good to Floyd Mayweather as of late.
Oops, I meant to say Mayweather hasn't been very good to boxing as of late.
The former pound-for-pound king was recently sitting ringside for the Andre Berto vs Victor Ortiz bout. It was rumored that Mayweather would be looking to face the winner of that fight. Those rumors have been squashed by Mayweather's people.
Then is was reported last week that Mayweather turned down $65 million to face Manny Pacquiao in what would be one of the biggest matches in decades. It was also reported that Mayweather's counter offer was an unheard of $100 million to face the seven division champion.
So with nothing on the table for Mayweather, could it be a better time for Dana White to give "Money" an offer he couldn't refuse?
With MMA on the verge of becoming a mainstream sport, a high profile fighter like Mayweather could be just what the doctor ordered to propel the sport to the next level.
And don't think for one second that it would cost White $100 million to step inside the Octagon. It would cost him, but the long-term gain would offset the short term cost.