FanPost

5 flame-worthy predictions for 2012


Because what's the point of posting something that can't get you flamed?

1) Rampage will never win another MMA fight.

2) Neither Diaz brother will hold a (non-interim) UFC title in 2012 (or ever).

3) Dominick Cruz will lose the belt in 2012 (and it won't be to Faber).

4) Frankie Edgar will also lose his title in 2012.

5) UFC's 2012 New Year's card will top 2011's New Year's (141) PPV buys.

explanations after the jump

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via cdn0.sbnation.com

1) Rampage will never win another MMA fight.

Rampage has seemed mostly unmotivated since he initially retired in 2009. He's been sporadically fat and out of shape, ballooning up to 250 lbs at times, and has generally seemed more interested in acting than fighting. The only two times since 2009 that he's apparently gotten in exceptional condition (admittedly, only according to 3rd-hand accounts: people I know who know someone in Jackson's camp)--for the Jones and Rashad fights--he's been thoroughly beaten. Which implies that he'll be even less motivated to find that level of fitness again.

Which brings us to his fight on Feb. 26 vs. Ryan Bader. Under normal circumstances I'd give Jackson about a 35 to 40% chance of winning this fight. Being in Japan--virtually a "home" match for Jackson--I'd up that to 40 to 45% (and will bet heavily against him when the line comes out with him as a -160 favorite).

If Quinton loses to Bader what's next? Because he doesn't need money, and has a potential second career awaiting him, he won't be willing to fight no-names, or be some kind of low-level gate-keeper. He won't ever be given, or choose to fight another Matt Hamill. So who does that leave who he can beat? Perhaps only Little Nog or a Forrest Griffin rematch. But those are best-case scenarios for him, and he'd still likely be a slight underdog in both match-ups.

So I predict that he loses to Bader and retires from MMA, leaving the stage where he essentially began: in Japan.


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2) Neither Diaz brother will hold a (non-interim) UFC title in 2012 (or ever).

I'm not a hater. I think both Diaz brothers are immature idiots; but they're two of my absolute favorite fighters to watch. I root for both of them. That said, based on the current evidence, neither can come close to beating a strong wrestler who has decent submission defense. And, given that the top of both of their divisions are stacked with elite wrestlers, neither has a hope for ever holding a (non-interim) title.

Nick's impressive winning streak hasn't included a single elite wrestler. He got rather easily LnP'd by Sean Sherk and Diego Sanchez--the last two strong wrestlers he faced. Granted, this was a long time ago. But a year ago even Evangelista Santos took him down with ease (unfortunately for Santos, he has absolutely horrible submission defense).

So if Nick beats Condit for the interim title (very possible), GSP should easily LnP Nick without any strong fear of being submitted (because great submission defense almost always nullifies great submission offense). And if GSP is out for long enough that Diaz faces someone else for the official belt, the same goes for Johny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck, John Fitch, and even Rick Story. Sadly, I don't see anyone currently in title contention who Nick could beat after Condit.

Nate got out-wrestled by Clay Guida, Gray Maynard, and Rory MacDonald. Which gives him little hope of ever defeating anyone in the UFC's top 5. The only hope for Nate is that Gil Melendez eventually makes his way to the UFC and wins the title. Nate's style matches up reasonably well vs. Gil--but he'd still be a large underdog.

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via cdn2.sbnation.com

3) Dominick Cruz will lose the belt in 2012 (and it won't be to Faber).

I have Dominick ranked 5th on my pound-for-pound list. He's a beast with nearly no weaknesses, featuring incredible speed, footwork, defense, and length. I don't see any way that Faber will pose more of a threat in their third meeting, this coming March, than he did in his loss to Cruz at UFC 132.

However, there's one fighter in the bantamweight division whose style and attributes are perfectly designed to defeat Cruz, and he'll get his title shot by the end of 2012: Renan Barao. Barao has the speed to stay with Cruz, a longer reach than Cruz by two inches (unlike Faber), the power to hurt Cruz when he connects (again, unlike Faber), and the submission transitions to do something substantive against a damaged Cruz.

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via cdn1.sbnation.com

4) Frankie Edgar will also lose his title in 2012.

Frankie had a truly amazing year, filled with inspiring performances. That said, you can't keep taking so much damage and expect to hold on to your belt for long. If Ben Henderson doesn't beat Edgar in February, I expect Gil Melendez to come over from Strikeforce to finish the job. Both, I think, should be even money vs Edgar, which means that Edgar beating both successively is a 25% proposition. Factoring this in with the offsetting chances that (a) Gil stays in Strikeforce, and (b) Edgar possibly defends his belt three times in 2012, I think it's very likely that Edgar loses sometime in 2012.


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via l.yimg.com

5) The UFC's 2012 New Year's card will top 2011's New Year's (141) PPV numbers.

Yes, in the short term losing Brock Lesnar hurts a lot. The UFC won't top Brock's 141 PPV number (which will likely be between 600,000 and 900,000) for a while. But the Fox marketing machine should not be underestimated. Fox hyping Jones, Dos Santos, Overeem, and whoever else they target will, by mid-2012, spill over into considerably more mainstream media coverage. By the end of 2012, cards featuring these fighters will out-draw past Brock cards on PPV (with the possible exception of UFC 100). And the UFC loves to finish its year with a bang. So I'd be very surprised if 2012's final card doesn't top 1 million buys.

The only way this doesn't happen is if Fox makes the UFC agree that Fox-hyped fighters will only appear on Fox cards. But, for now, this doesn't appear to be the direction in which their relationship is headed.


\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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