Bold MMA Predictions For The Second Half Of 2010
The first half of 2010 produced some amazing moments in the sport of mixed martial arts. Brock Lesnar’s amazing comeback victory via arm triangle. Chris Leben going 3-0 with wins over highly favored Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama. Fedor Emelianenko getting triangled by Fabricio Werdum. Anderson Silva’s mockery of Demian Maia. The list goes on and on. We anticipate even more craziness for the rest of 2010 and the brain trust here at Heavy MMA tries to predict just how some of that craziness might play out. Behold, our bold, bolder, and boldest predictions for the second half of the year.
Heavy MMA Feature Writer Spencer Kyte
Bold: Randy Couture will embarrass James Toney at UFC 118
There is no way on Earth this doesn’t happen. I know the fight starts in the standing position, but it won’t be there too long. Couture is too smart, too savvy and too damn talented to even entertain the idea of Toney pulling the upset. “The Natural” will have him on his back early and end things before the first round is over.
Bolder: BJ Penn will reclaim the UFC Lightweight Championship
I love Frankie Edgar – his last name is my first name, what’s not to love? But, beating BJ Penn twice in a row is a tough feat. Penn wasn’t the ferocious attacker he had been in his previous bout with Diego Sanchez, or even as effective as he was against Kenny Florian, which tells me something was wrong. No way does lightning strike twice – Penn isn’t Lee Trevino – “The Prodigy” will come out dictating the terms and taking the action to Edgar, finishing him in the championship rounds.
Boldest: Cain Velasquez, UFC Heavyweight Champion
Yeah, I said it. Write it down so that when I say, “I told you so,” you know that I really did. Velasquez has all the tools to take the belt away from Brock; unmatched cardio, an outstanding wrestling base, and quality striking with developing knockout power. What has me convinced is that his last fight is always his best fight; he looked better beating Nogueira than he had before, and the trend has continued throughout his career, meaning his fight against Brock will be the best incarnation of Cain Velasquez we’ve seen to date.
Shane Carwin laid the blueprint on how to take Lesnar out of his game – bring the fight to him and put your hands on him early – but where Carwin was over-eager and fell victim to lactic acidosis / “adrenaline dump” / gassing out, Cain will take a more measured approach and keep the pressure on Lesnar. The champ keeps improving with each fight as well, but he’s yet to face someone as well-rounded and well-suited to facing him as Velasquez.
Heavy MMA Feature Writer Nate Lawson
Bold: Brock Lesnar will defeat Cain Velasquez and remain the UFC heavyweight champion
Lesnar may have been close to defeat at the hands of Shane Carwin at UFC 116, but the heavyweight champion pulled out a submission win to prove he is ever-improving and tough as nails. If Carwin couldn’t take that belt, no one is going to in 2010.
Bolder: Lyoto Machida holds some sort of light heavyweight title at by the end of 2010
With Rua out until well into next year, an interim title between Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida could come to fruition. Machida does what he did at UFC 98 and knocks “Sugar” out cold.
Boldest: Fedor Emelianenko loses to Fabricio Werdum a second time
Right now, Strikeforce seems a bit confused with what they want to do with the heavyweight division. Yes, Werdum should be fighting Overeem for the title at this point, but I think Fedor gets what he wants (and when I say Fedor, I mean M1-Global) with a shot at revenge against Werdum. Unfortunately for Fedor, Werdum does the impossible again.
Heavy MMA Feature Writer Brett Jones
Bold: Tito Ortiz will enter his next match at “100%,” then cite pre-existing injuries as the reason why he lost
Rumor has it that Ortiz will return to the Octagon in October. I have no idea who he is fighting or in what condition he is currently or will be leading up to the fight. But I do know this: Ortiz will tell everyone who will listen prior to the fight that he is 100% healthy and in the best physical condition of his entire career. Then, Ortiz will lose. Then, he will tell Joe Rogan about the broken orbital bone he suffered the just days before the fight, or the collapsed lung he endured during the weigh ins, or the fact that he woke up the morning of the fight in a bathtub full of ice with his kidneys removed. He will then become annoyed when fans boo his entirely legitimate health concerns. It would be funny if it wasn’t as much a certainty as death and taxes.
Bolder: Cain Velasquez will beat Brock Lesnar to win the UFC Heavyweight title
Astute readers know that I am all for straddling the line between the pure sport and the professional wrestling aspects of MMA. As you might expect, I’m a fan of Brock Lesnar. However, I find myself compelled to pick against him. I thought Heath Herring would submit him. I thought Randy Couture would submit him. I thought Shane Carwin would knock him out. Although I was almost right on that last prediction, I wound up being entirely wrong on each of my predictions. History be damned, I say, because I find myself already convinced that Cain Velasquez will be the man to defeat Lesnar.
Why, you ask? He has the best cardio of the bunch in addition to being the most well-rounded, and his hand speed is something that, I feel, will give Lesnar trouble. The fact that he has knockout power (just ask Big Nog) and great wrestling as well give him a clear advantage despite Brock’s size and resiliency.
Of course, if Lesnar beats Velasquez, I’ll probably still pick Junior dos Santos to beat him, too.
Boldest: The match of the year is still to come
There are those who feel that Leonard Garcia v. Chan Sung Jung was among the very best fights in the history of MMA. For the rest of us, there have been a handful of great fights thus far in 2010: Mark Hominick v. Yves Jabouin, Chris Leben v. Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Stephan Bonnar v. Krzysztof Soszynski, though I appear to be in the minority on the latter.
As great as each of the aforementioned fights were, I predict that at least one match in the second half of the year will top them all and reveal itself as the definitive fight of 2010. Though, I still expect plenty of folks will prefer Garcia v. Jung.
Heavy MMA Videographer Ryan Loco
Bold: BJ Penn will defeat Frankie Edgar.
BJ Penn on any given day could beat about anyone, in my eyes. He just has that “something” about him. He gets a lot of grief for not giving his all in training, not taking it seriously, etc…Well, what could motivate someone like BJ Penn more than losing your belt to a guy who everyone thought you were going to handle no problem? I don’t see any way for BJ to not go in there, establish his dominance both on the feet and on the ground, and get back what is rightfully his, the UFC Lightweight belt. After that, all bets are off though, because who knows what BJ is going to show up.
Bolder: Cain Velasquez will defeat Brock Lesnar
There’s no one on this website, or possibly Earth, that is a bigger Brock Lesnar fan than myself. That being said, after seeing his fight with Shane Carwin, we’ve learned that the monster that is Lesnar is not perfect. Cain Velasquez has fantastic striking for a big man. Couple that with a solid wrestling game, and you have the perfect fodder for Mr. Brock. Do I want to see it happen? Of course not. The little fanboy inside my heart will probably cry. But this is the fight game, and the harsh reality is that everyone on top will eventually fall down. Anderson Silva hasn’t read that memo yet, but that leads to my boldest prediction.
Boldest: Chael Sonnen will defeat Anderson Silva
Talk about going out on a limb here. Anderson Silva, regarded by many to be the best pound for pound (arguably with GSP), and I have him losing to Chael Sonnen – who wasn’t a blip on anyone’s radar just a year ago. However, there’s some things that are involved in this match up that interest me and could lead to a Sonnen win. Chael is angry, and is going in there to prove a point. A man with nothing to lose is a scary individual. Chael has everything to gain from this fight, Anderson has everything to lose. After Silva’s last performance, he is probably under pressure to perform. Rather than lay back as he usually does and wait to strike, we may see a more aggressive, forward moving Anderson Silva. That could play right into what Sonnen wants. No games, no taunts, just a scrap. Either way, we win.
Heavy MMA Sr. Editor Matt Brown
Bold: Brock Lesnar KO’s Cain Velasquez
I know. After his last outing, how could I ever say he’s going to knockout someone as talented as Cain Velasquez? Well, Brock is a super competitive individual. He’s not in MMA for the money. He was already a millionaire several times over from his WWF days. He’s in MMA because he needs the fight. He needs the competition to keep him sane. He’s watched the tapes. He’s not satisfied with his performance in the Carwin fight. And I have a feeling he will work tirelessly to improve his standup before the Velasquez fight and continue to improve his evolving ground game. I think all this equals the most amazing heavyweight we’ve ever seen in the sport…and equals a tough night for Cain Velasquez.
Bolder: The WEC will prove to be the promotion of the year
The UFC puts on great shows, no doubt (UFC 116 might be my favorite card ever). Strikeforce puts on very entertaining cards with some fun fights. But no promotion has blown the doors off of the joint each and every event like the WEC. The little guys flat out scrap and their noticeably higher gas tanks make for barnburners of epic proportions. Critics blasted the WEC 49 card for lacking big-time fights and major star power. And in typical WEC fashion, the event was near magical and is easily one of the top three cards of the year. Their first pay per view card was worth every penny and their card on August 18 is totally stacked, even with Urijah Faber’s debut at 135 getting pushed back. 2010 will be the year of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Boldest: Jake Shields will start to lose in the UFC
I’m not going to argue that Jake Shields is overrated. He’s not. He’s every bit the bad ass that everyone says he is. However, there are tons of guys who are total studs that can’t quite compete at the highest of high levels of the sport. Do I think Jake Shields is a top five welterweight? Yes. Do I think he’d get beaten by Georges St. Pierre, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Thiago Alves? Yes. While his wrestling is superb and his jiu jitsu is fantastic, the same can be said for most of the other top tier guys in the division. Where he lacks in the stand up game will prove to be his downfall against the cream of the crop. Dana White and Joe Silva don’t give anyone a break, so when everything is made official, I suspect Shields will be in with another top 5 guy by his second fight and staring at his first loss since 2004.