Since the dawn of time, people have had a morbid curiosity about predicting the future. Tea leaves, I Ching, crystal balls, palmistry, astrology and more pseudo-science than you can shake a dowsing rod at have been used to guesstimate matters of the heart, war, business deals and everything else under the sun. Of course, this stuff doesn't really work. Nobody genuinely believes in this fortune telling bunk, but let's try it anyways - and make it MMA-specific.
Even though it is winter and I am cheap, pretend that the multi-colored wool beanie I am wearing was given to me by a savant trainer and that the blanket around me shows that I have magical powers of prediction due to many years of learning the ways of the mystical Hindu sages. I, Swami Guru, will tell you with convincing authority exactly what will happen in 2012 division by division and prime mover by prime mover.
Swami Guru predicts that Jon Jones will lose his belt in 2012, Anderson Silva keeps making Anderson Silva money and that Georges St. Pierre will wait until February of 2013 to fight again. Swami Guru is also putting his Lesnar/Overeem pick after the jump.
Hit the jump for the full set of predictions and a look back at how my 2011 predictions matched up to reality. Turns out they were not quite the trainwreck I expected when I begin writing this piece.
Fights and Fighter predictions:
Swami Guru points out that there have been only five dominant weight class champions in mixed martial arts history. Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierre, Cristiane Santos and Anderson Silva. The odds of one fighter joining that company are very small. Swami Guru hedges his mystical feelings with odds whenever appropriate and thus foretells that a LHW out there will shock us all and dethrone Jon Jones. Hypothetical karma points will be bet on Rashad Evans being the one to do the king-killing. Avoid those elbows and everything else is easy peasy.
Now that Junior dos Santos has the UFC belt and Alistair Overeem is fighting Brock Lesnar this weekend, we will have a convergence of almost all major heavyweight titles in existence at some point in early 2012. For this weekend, Swami Guru picks Overeem by second round KO. Lesnar is a warrior for sure, yet the time off for the health troubles makes this a too tough jump back into the pool.
The subsequent unification of heavyweight titles is hugely meaningful, but it's too bad that Swami Guru sees this unified belt ping ponging back and forth between the division for the next year. Junior will lose his first defense, Cain Velasquez will rise like the phoenix and yet again be taken down by another. If Lesnar stays in the sport, he will challenge for the title this time next year.
We see a truly wonderful spectacle in Anderson/Bisping over the summer. Weidman takes out everybody en route to the Okami position - including Okami. Edgar continues his storybook run until finally losing in late 2012.
Ben Askren will stand with Douglas Lima. For one round. Zach Makovsky will stand with Dudu Dantas for one minute. Spike TV will love Bellator and the Bellator fighters will go ape en masse if the judging continues to be as spotty as it was in 2011.
Guram Gugenishvili will continue to tantalize while slowly improving his stand-up. Jared Rosholt will use his Overem training camp connections to avoid getting snaked by Bellator before the UFC talent scouting division finally wakes up to his potential. Bigfoot Silva will fight Shane Carwin as a welcome back bout. Satoshi Ishii will take a narrow decision loss to Fedor and then finally fight for Strikeforce as a light heavyweight. Stephan Bonnar will get the delight of welcoming Glover Teixeira to the UFC. Swami Guru also predicts that Yoel Romero does not return to MMA. Jimi Manuwa will stay over in Yurrup for another year, building his skills. People will remember Jordan Smith again. And Yuri Villefort will be surpassed by Erick Silva as THE welterweight prospect to watch. Backflips > ACL Injuries.
Gunnar Nelson doesn't move out of Iceland and continues to fritter away an MMA career. He still rocks the No Gi Euros though. Pato Carvalho works with Paul Heyman and turns heel in order to drive his 2012 campaign for the FW belt. He has to go heel because there is no way anybody on the planet can hate Jose Aldo. Big Nog comes back by September 2012. Frank Mir fights winner of Cormier/Barnett and the winner of that gets the next title shot. Palhares breaks no limbs in 2012. Miguel Torres will get rehired.
People will realize that wrestling is almost as bad as judo in terms of injury potential. Falling correctly will be trained more and more by the smart fighters and trainers. A select few, like Nick Diaz, will start playing around with weird concepts like rolling backwards during a takedown in order to confuse top game wrestlers and cause scrambles.
The Zuffa higher ups will realize that Strikeforce should become the WEC 2.0, with a 135 women's division and continuing to contest every division but heavyweight. Zuffa will stumble massively with the lighter weights because they have not put much into scouting genuine prospects. Promotional limitations will become apparent and another face at Zuffa will emerge.
Nova Uniao will make a serious push to hold prominent MMA organization 145, 135 and 125 belts by the end of 2012. The myth of Black House being the best Brazilian camp will finally be debunked. Or the Blackzilians will take that title.
Random Stuff Definitely Going to Happen:
Grantland collapses. Mayweather/Pacquiao still doesn't happen. Germany wins Euro 2012. The Knicks flame out over the last half of the season and miss the playoffs. The Higgs-Boson is conclusively found and the masses collectively shrug. Swami Guru makes a summer pilgrimage to the Himalayas. Jason High will be shown to be the next best thing to Bill Cosby in all of mixed martial arts when he does a Combustible Huxtable-style race against someone like Tyron Woodley and posts it on Twitter.
Takes Swami Guru hat off.
Way back in January of this year, a group of friends and I posted our predictions for 2011 over on the InStrength board. Looking back on my educated guesses, some are so bad as to make me wince, others are halfway decent and a couple were terrific.
I'm particularly proud of the following:
- calling the title reign of Junior dos Santos and
- the Chael Sonnen win over Brian Stann
- getting the correct result for the Phil Davis vs Antonio Rogerio Noguiera fight
That's not bad. It's almost as good as predicting that Mauricio Rua would lose his LHW title to Jon Jones, who would then beat Quinton Jackson before fighting Lyoto Machida. Unfortunately, I also predicted that Machida would win that match-up with Jones.
Other things that I completely blanked or whiffed on were:
- the star turn of Nick Diaz
- Jacare Souza losing the Strikeforce middleweight belt to Luke Rockhold in Strikeforce
- GSP not moving up to middleweight
- the buyout of Strikeforce itself by Zuffa
- Predicted an interim title for the wrong weight class (HW instead of WW)
- Cheick Kongo did not knee someone else in the groin!!!
If you squint real hard and give me the benefit of every doubt possible, I can't be said to have completely missed the boat on these:
- Predicting that Cain would fight one or less times in 2011
- Ryan Bader having a very rough time against the elite at 205 lbs
- Charles Oliveira getting another win (the Nik Lentz win, which was officially turned into a no contest) before losing yet again (I picked a wrestler, but Donald Cerrone will certainly do in a pinch).
As yet, unresolved predictions:
- Overeem reigns over everything
- Edgar/Penn III happens in 2012
- Anderson fighting Jacare in 2012.
- Jon Fitch takes over the championless welterweight division.
- Muhammad Lawal taking a fight with Gegard Mousasi over a Strikeforce title shot because he's ornery that way.