UFC: 11 Bold Predictions for the Rest of 2011
The year is over half way done and we’ve seen some shocking things happen thus far.
Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard put on a fight of the year candidate less than 24 hours after the ball dropped in Times Square, Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida made Ralph Macchio and Steven Segal relevant again and Jon Jones went from prospect to champion in a little over a month.
And that was just the first three months of the year.
The last few months have the potential to be just as exciting, and I decided to throw out some random predictions that would shock the world about half as much as Matt Serra once did.
Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson Will Go to Decision
Both these guys are known as finishers, but this fight will have one of the most unexpected outcomes of the year.
Jones will likely try to get Rampage to the mat, but Jackson showed he has some pretty good takedown defense against Matt Hamill, and when he keeps it on the feet, Jones becomes tentative.
Expect a five-round fight with some decent exchanges, but no one lands clean enough to put the other away.
Tito Ortiz Will Be Inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame
Dana White mentioned that a fighter may be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during the UFC fan expo in Houston, and Tito seems to be a likely candidate.
A few short years ago this would have been laughable, but Tito and Dana have been on good terms for a while now, and there is no question as to whether or not Ortiz deserves it.
Kenny Florian Will Defeat Jose Aldo at UFC 136, Earn UFC Gold
Dana White has called out Florian for choking in big fights, so it is almost comical that he would give him a title shot in just his second featherweight bout.
However, Florian looked pretty decent against Diego Nunes at UFC 131, and I have a feeling Aldo is going to eat a few hard elbows during their title fight at UFC 136, losing a lot of blood and growing weary before getting stopped in the championship rounds.
Clay Guida Will Earn Himself a Lightweight Title Shot
Once thought of as little more than a stepping stone to a title shot, Clay Guida has rattled off four straight wins over quality opponents.
Now Guida is likely just a win away from getting a shot at the belt in the UFC’s deepest division, and if he wins a rumored fight against Ben Henderson, the shot is almost certainly his.
Georges St-Pierre Will Finish Nick Diaz at UFC 137
Even though he’s one of the greatest fighters of all time, GSP has been under fire for almost two years due to his inability to finish his opponents.
I think that changes at UFC 137, where the welterweight champion runs through an overwhelmed Diaz.
GSP finishes the fight quickly and makes a statement with a second-round TKO win.
The First Flyweight Title Fight Will Be Set
Assuming Demetrious Johnson is unsuccessful in taking away Dominick Cruz’s title on October 1st, I fully expect the UFC to market him as the future of their flyweight division.
How does Joseph Benavidez vs. Mighty Mouse Johnson for the inaugural flyweight belt sound?
The Ultimate Fighter 14 Will Produce 4 Future Title Contenders
As a Michael Bisping fan (there are six of us, we have a club), I’m extremely excited for the newest season of TUF.
And though I’m sure Bisping and Mayhem Miller will bring the verbal fireworks, the group of featherweight and bantamweight fighters has me salivating to see some high energy fights inside the TUF house.
The first season for every weightclass has produced a few contenders, and I don’t see this season being any different.
Diego Sanchez Will Send Matt Hughes into Retirement
Matt Hughes is a living legend, but it’s pretty obvious that he isn’t all that interested in fighting anymore.
After his loss to BJ Penn last November, Hughes looked like a broken man, and if Sanchez is able to beat him at UFC 135, his career will likely end shortly after.
Anderson Silva Will Lose the Middleweight Title
I’m not sure that Yushin Okami has what it takes to snatch the title away from Silva at UFC 134 in a few weeks, but it’s possible that Silva fights again at UFC 140 in December.
I see Chael Sonnen grinding out Brian Stann and taking a fight on a few months notice against Silva.
Sonnen will then masterfully recreate their fight at UFC 117, except he’ll be smart enough to stay out of Silva’s desperate submission attempts.
Alistair Overeem Will Make His UFC Debut, Lose to Frank Mir
The MMA world is buzzing about Overeem entering the Octagon soon, so why not let him co-main event the final event of the year?
Frank Mir is the only logical opponent without a fight lined up, and I think he’s a terrible matchup for Overeem.
Mir will take the fight down and earn a submission win in the third round, shocking the world in the process.
Brock Lesnar Will Return to the Octagon
All reports say that Brock won’t be ready to return until at least January, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say we’ll see him before the year is out.
The most popular fighter in MMA hasn’t been seen inside the cage since losing his belt to Cain Velasquez back at UFC 121, and I think a rematch with Shane Carwin would interest him a enough to get back a little sooner than expected.