Every year, MMASucka provides you with 10 outlandish MMA predictions for the upcoming year. You can check out last years predictions here, where some were accurate, but most were slightly off! Check out how well we did here!
Outlandish MMA Predictions for 2022
1 – Ciryl Gane outpoints Francis Ngannou and goes on to face Jon Jones in August
We know that Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou are set to clash in the first PPV of 2022 to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Although the power is with the current champion, Ngannou, the skill differential and slicker striking sits with Gane. Gane has made improvements in every fight he’s had in the UFC thus far and therefore will outpoint Ngannou to a one-sided unanimous decision victory at UFC 270.
Don't get in their way 😳@francis_ngannou and @ciryl_gane are ready to fight for the undisputed HW title! #UFC270 🏆 pic.twitter.com/wsUTtu5zZm
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) January 4, 2022
He will then welcome Jon Jones back to the UFC and to the heavyweight division. Former longtime UFC light heavyweight champion, Jones hasn’t competed since February 2020 and it will be over two years before he competes again. We know his next fight will be at heavyweight and it’ll be hard to deny him an immediate title shot having never (truly) been defeated.
2 – Leon Edwards finally gets his grudge match against Jorge Masvidal before being dominated by Kamaru Usman
Leon Edwards had an interesting 2021. We previously predicted that he’d be let go by the UFC, he instead returned to make two appearances. His first ended in a no-content but his second is what made headlines. He dominated Nate Diaz for 24:30 until getting caught and rocked. With that aside, he then had a fight with Jorge Masvidal arranged for UFC 269, however, Masvidal withdrew from this one.
This motherfucker is deluded 😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/Aiyl9YAazL
— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) December 24, 2021
It’s still the fight to make as the two have a bitter history after a backstage brawl back in 2019. Leon Edwards is the far more technical fighter and outpoints Masvidal over five rounds in a co-main event. He is then undeniably the #1 contender to Kamaru Usman‘s welterweight title, however, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ is too much for Edwards when they fight. He’s too big, goes back to his wrestling roots and dominated the Brit when they clash.
3 – Khamzat Chimaev defeats Belal Muhammad but loses to Colby Covington
Khamzat Chimaev and Belal Muhammad have gone back and forth on social media since both men picked up recent victories. The two will meet in a fight night main event in April/May where Chimaev’s wrestling will prove too much for Muhammad. He’s the much bigger man and ultimately it’ll be a tough, but winning night for ‘Borz’.
All I need is 15 min to beat you https://t.co/BRHaWR3wFk
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) December 23, 2021
He’ll then face Colby Covington and get largely exposed as quite rudimentary in his skills. Covington is far more skilled, has a much higher level of competition and phenomenal cardio. Although his striking power isn’t that of Chimaev, his output is high. He’ll wear Chimaev down with a constant barrage of shots, finishing him late on after the Swede gasses.
4 – Kyoji Horiguchi Defeats Raufeon Stots in the final of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix
The Bellator bantamweight grand prix was announced in early December, set for 2022. With a host of top-level talent, experience will play a huge part. Although the likes of Patchy Mix and James Gallagher have a future in the sport, they simply are too inexperienced at a high level to be successful in this tournament. The former champion and the man who has most recently lost a bantamweight title fight, Kyoji Horiguchi will enter the tournament with a vengeance, looking to right the wrongs of his title opportunity last year.
He will dominate his first two opponents before meeting Rauseon Stots in the final. Although Stots has impressed throughout the tournament (potentially even beating the current champion, Sergio Pettis along the way), Horiguchi’s higher-level experience is too much for the American, leading to a one-sided victory for the Japanese based fighter.
5 – Dana White cuts three former champions (Luke Rockhold, Cody Gabrandt, Frankie Edgar)
Dana White is often in the business of protecting fighters and former champions. He all but forced Chuck Liddell to retire after ‘The Iceman’ suffered multiple big knockout losses. The same can be said about former middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold, former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar and former bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt.
Rockhold, since capturing the belt back in 2015 has only competed four times, losing three by knockout. He tried his hand at light-heavyweight, unsuccessfully. He cuts a lot of weight to get down to the 185lbs limit and it clearly takes its toll. A spout of injuries have kept him out of fights and it may be time for him to call time on his career in the UFC. Dana White makes that call for him.
Frankie Edgar went a huge 29 fights before he was ever stopped. The legendary brawls with Gray Maynard, multiple title fights across weight classes and wars have seen his chin deteriorate over time. The move down to bantamweight made sense as he appears to make the weight safely, however, with a record of 1-2, it hasn’t quite gone to plan. Not only that, but he has been on the wrong side of two big, savage knockouts. White looks after Edgar, gives him a straightforward, winnable fight before letting him go.
The biggest shock on this list is Cody Garbrandt. Like Rockhold, capturing the title seemed to be the downfall for ‘No Love’. His defence is simply not good enough to cut it and he has been knocked out in four of his last six fights, all of which were big finishes. He always has that ‘power’ equaliser, however, having moved down to flyweight, the power didn’t carry down and he was finished at the hands of Kai-Kara France. Although he could still be a draw, Dana White does him a favour after he’s finished by Sean O’Malley in his next fight and cuts him.
6 – Kayla Harrison defeats Amanda Nunes in December for the featherweight belt
We know that Kayla Harrison is a phenom, an undefeated killer and a big threat to whoever she faces. We also know that Dana White intended to face Harrison and Amanda Nunes off at UFC 269 if ‘The Lionness’ had come out victorious. During the post-fight press conference, White stated, ‘Let me tell you, if Amanda Nunes had won tonight, the Kayla Harrison fight would have been one of the biggest fights that you would have ever seen’.
WATCH: Kayla Harrison repeatedly yelling "F**K" at the top of her lungs after Pena upsets Nunes. You have to think that big money fight was coming next #UFC269pic.twitter.com/YLwHe0N3H8
— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) December 12, 2021
We predict that Nunes will rematch Juliana Pena and regardless of the outcome, she’ll face Kayla Harrison for the 145lbs strap. Harrison is too big, too strong and willing to walk through fire in order to get the victory. We have regularly seen Nunes gas, which is something that Harrison won’t do. Harrison ground and pounds Nunes in round four to capture the featherweight strap, becoming of the UFC’s biggest stars.
7 – Joe Rogan retires from UFC commentary and Laura Sanko Debuts in the Booth
Legendary commentator, Joe Rogan has certainly slowed down in recent years. He now only features on the PPV events and only on those where he can free himself up from his comedy career. He won’t travel abroad to do commentary anymore either. Names including Daniel Cormier, Michael Bisping, Dominick Cruz and Paul Felder have taken the mantle in recent years so Rogan wouldn’t be a huge loss to the booth. Although he is legendary, we missed Mike Goldberg when he left, but we soon got over that. Laura Sanko more than deserves her shot having commentated on LFA as well as Dana White’s Contender Series. Make it happen in 2022.
8 – Anderson Silva knocks out Jake Paul
Jake Paul, unfortunately for some, was maybe one of the biggest stars in 2022. Going 3-0 in ‘professional’ boxing, Paul constantly stole the headlines. Brutally knocking out Ben Askren, going the distance and then finishing Tyron Woodley in a rematch, Paul is certainly showing progression, as well as facing tougher opposition. ‘The Spider’, Anderson Silva also went 2-0 in professional boxing. Firstly, he defeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr via a dominant decision in June before knocking out Tito Ortiz in September.
Many sites have Silva as the favourite to be Paul’s next opponent and it certainly makes sense. He’s a striker by trade with some of the best highlights that the UFC has ever seen. His distance management, ability to avoid strikes and counter are like nothing we had ever seen at the time. It would be an easy sell for Paul and it would certainly be the toughest test of his young career. For Silva, it would be a big payday for the 46-year-old.
We predict that it’ll come to fruition and Silva’s stand-up game will simply be too much for the inexperienced Paul. Silva has been training for longer than Paul has been alive and simply put, he’s better. He’s a similar size to Paul, which is rare for Paul and this will cause the Youtuber turned boxer trouble, leading to a late knockout for ‘The Spider’.
9 – Casey O’Neill goes 3-0 and is scheduled to fight for the belt in 2023
One of the breakout stars of 2021, Casey O’Neill went 3-0 in 2021, notching three finishes. At just 24 years of age, O’Neill has a huge future ahead of her and 2022 is certainly set to be another breakout year for ‘King’. She is set to face Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 271. It will be the first time that O’Neill will go the 15 minute distance against the veteran, gritty Modafferi.
Just created this @kingcaseymma montage for UFC Fight Camp airing on @ESPNAusNZ later this week.
The Aussie is number 3 on @espnmma's top 25 under 25 list…this week's show we'll be talking 2022 break out stars, fights we'd like to see in the New Year, and more. pic.twitter.com/tiXXXrYbUi
— Ben Riegel (@BenRiegel) January 4, 2022
She will then rise up the rankings (currently ranked #15) and face Joanne Wood in an all Scottish affair. Using her much superior ground game, O’Neill taps out Wood in the second round via rear-naked choke, a method that O’Neill has won by twice before. In a title eliminator, she will then narrowly get past Katlyn Chookagian via split decision. At 6-0 in the UFC with four finishes, she will have a scheduled fight with Valentina Shevchenko in the first quarter of 2022.
10 – Corey Anderson loses to Vadim Nemkov but defeats Valentin Moldavsky for the heavyweight strap
Corey Anderson‘s Bellator career has started with three victories, each coming via TKO. Two of these wins have come in the Bellator light heavyweight tournament and he is set to take on the current champion, Vadim Nemkov for the belt sometime this year. This prediction will see him lose to the superior Nemov, possibly via knockout.
He will then go up in weight to face Valentin Moldavsky for the heavyweight belt. The Bellator heavyweight belt is set to be contested at the end of this month and Moldavsky will defeat Ryan Bader. Corey Anderson will then go on to face the new champion at the end of the year. The Bellator heavyweight division is thin and Anderson moving up in weight will provide new blood to the division. He wins the belt by using his superior experience and managing to outpoint Molavsky to a five-round decision victory.
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