9. Kenny Florian will capture the lightweight title
This might seem obvious to most MMA fans. Florian called out BJ Penn after his impressive win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 91. Kenny is patiently waiting for his title shot against Penn.
But even if Kenny gets lucky and BJ decides to vacate the lightweight title he still won’t wear the UFC lightweight belt. That’s because he would fight Sean Sherk for the vacant title and lose their rematch.
I really like Kenny Florian. He does a great job on MMA live. If he wants to wear gold perhaps he can challenge Jaime Varner for the WEC lightweight title.
8. Fedor will sign with the UFC
This may seem like another obvious one. Fedor still has some good possible fights after his bout with Arlovski but the list of competition will eventually run out.
A fight with Barnett would make sense but Barnett has avoided that fight so far. Perhaps Werdum or Overeem will sign with Affliction if they stay in business.
7. Affliction will stay in business
I am not sure when Affliction will go out of business. Maybe they will put together another fight card or even two. But at some point they will decide to fold. That would likely send Fedor back to Japan and fighting for DREAM…unless the unlikely happens (UFC).
6. Rashad Evans will go undefeated
The light heavyweight belt could be on the line three times in 2009. Rashad Evans has looked really impressive in his last two fights but can he really go 3-0. A fight against Rampage Jackson is all but guaranteed. Will Liddell get his rematch? And then there is Lyoto Machida…
5. Lyoto Machida will be denied a title shot
Machida will have to keep winning but I find it hard to believe he won’t get his title shot in 2009. Even if it’s the last title defense of the year. If Lyoto beats Thiago Silva at UFC 93 the UFC will likely make him fight once more while Rashad and Rampage battle it out.
Does a fight with Jardine sound appealing? How about the winner of Liddell vs. TBA? Maybe Lyoto can fight Shogun Rua if Rua is not the aforementioned TBA.
4. Matt Hughes will retire
The fight with Matt Serra keeps getting pushed back. Maybe it won’t actually happen till 2010. Hughes will beat Serra and send him back to the lightweight division. With the win the itch to fight won’t go away and Hughes will try and make one last run at the title, unsuccessfully.
3. Anderson Silva will move to the light heavyweight division
I hope I am wrong on this one. Really I do. First a fight with Chuck Liddell fell through. With Silva not wanting to fight until April the UFC had the perfect opening to put him up against pretty much any light heavyweight out there. So what happened?
I get the sickening feeling that the UFC may continue to use Silva to prop up the middleweight division. He will fight Thales Leites in April. That leaves eight more months in the year. Yushin Okami might be next. Follow that up with the coach that wins The Ultimate Fighter. A fight with Georges St. Pierre is also still out there but might get saved for 2010 – one superfight a year.
Someone convince me I am off the mark.
2. Thiago Alves will win the welterweight title
Alves has the look and feel of a champion. If only he could make weight. Imagine him getting his title shot and not making 171 pounds. Hopefully he will exercise any “Travis Lutter” demons and give us one hell of a fight against the winner of GSP-Penn. Either fight would be fantastic.
I just don’t think Alves will be successful his first time around.
1. Georges St. Pierre will go undefeated
I am not going to predict who St. Pierre will lose to. It could be Penn. It could be Alves. It could even be Anderson Silva. GSP is going to run the gauntlet in 2009. If he were to come out in one piece he would have to be considered one of the best MMA fighters of all time.
I am not saying “O Canada” can’t do it – the odds are just really stacked against him.
What other predictions won’t come true in 2009…I am sure I missed a few.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Georges St. Pierre, Thiago Alves