This time last year we gave you 10 MMA predictions that could potentially have come to fruition in 2020. Now, disclaimer, some were outlandish but could very well have happened if COVID-19 didn’t play havoc with the entire world. Some we got partially correct and some were miles from being anything near true. We will re-visit last years MMA predictions and look at where some went wrong.
Last Years Predictions
1 – Conor McGregor fights three times, none of which are for a Championship belt
Not quite the three times but he did compete once, which on that occasion wasn’t for the title. He’s also scheduled to fight early in 2021, so maybe this prediction could come true in 2021, rather than 2020.
2 – Douglas Lima defeats MVP for a second time and goes up to challenge for the middleweight title
So Douglas Lima didn’t fight Michael Page again, however, he did move up to middleweight. Unsuccessfully taking on Gegard Mousasi for the belt, Lima will likely stick around at 170lbs for the entirety of 2021.
3 – Jon Jones defeats Dominick Reyes and Corey Anderson and moves up to heavyweight
Again, this one came partially true. Jon Jones did defeat Dominick Reyes and he did move up to heavyweight. He didn’t face Corey Anderson, however, as current Jan Blachowicz ended any hopes Anderson had at making a UFC title run.
4 – Maycee Barber realises a title shot but it is too much too soon
There is one main reason that this didn’t come true. Roxanne Modafferi. Modafferi defeated Maycee Barber back in January by dominant, unanimous decision. Yes, Barber did suffer an injury in this bout which has kept her out all year but it did prove that she still has a lot to learn. Barber is scheduled to be back in action at UFC 258 in February and hopefully, for her, she’ll get back to winning ways and push on towards a title shot.
5 – Israel Adesanya will face Darren Till at Anfield
Okay, this one was miles off. Till showed that he still has a lot to learn having lost to Robert Whittaker in his second middleweight bout. Israel Adesanya went 2-0 in 2020, cementing himself as one of the P4P best. With the UK all but shutting down for months on end due to COVID-19, there is no chance this one goes ahead in 2021 or anytime in the foreseeable future.
6 – Stipe Miocic defeats Francis Ngannou for a second time
Following the rubber match between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, there has been little said about the UFC heavyweight belt. Francis Ngannou only spent 20 seconds in the octagon in 2020. Unless Jon Jones gets an automatic shot at the title, expect to see Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 very soon.
7- Weili Zhang makes two defences of her belt against two former champions
Again, this MMA prediction came partially true. Strawweight champion Weili Zhang did make a defence of her title, against a former champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk. After a fight of the year contender, Zhang retained the belt. I had predicted that Rose Namajunas would also face Zhang and although it appeared this may happen, it never came to fruition in 2020. Dana White did state that Namajunas didn’t want the fight, which seems hard to believe but it would explain why the fight has happened yet.
8 – Weidman and Rockhold rematch at 205 and the loser retires
This one was far off. Luke Rockhold didn’t compete in 2020 and has been out of action since July of 2019. Chris Weidman only competed once in 2020, defeating Omari Akhmedov by an unconvincing unanimous decision, this time back at middleweight. This has set up a rematch with Uriah Hall, but Weidman looks far from his best.
9 – Kayla Harrison and Cris Cyborg will face off in a Bellator/PFL crossover bout
Again, this one was quite far from coming to fruition. There was a potential that this one could have worked but with the COVID-19 pandemic, a crossover bout would never have worked. Kayla Harrison went 1-0 in 2020 whilst fighting for Invicta FC. Cris Cyborg had a better year, going 2-0 in Bellator. Firstly she won the belt from Julia Budd via TKO and she then defended the belt against Arlene Blencowe in October. If things get back to a relative ‘normal’ in 2021, we could see this one work out.
10 – The 165lbs division comes to fruition in the UFC
This one also didn’t work out in 2020. The focus for the UFC was getting fights on, working on getting on with ‘normal’ events following COVID-19 and putting an effort into safety. What was positive to see were much more catchweight bouts in the UFC. This was arguably as a result of a number of bouts being made close to the events themselves but is certainly refreshing to see.
The 165lbs division should still be a focus for the UFC going forward but again, the safety (with regards to COVID-19) should be the priority during the early stages of 2021.
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