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Five Bold Predictions For The UFC In 2022
So we’re already two months into 2022, which means we’ve already seen two huge UFC pay-per-views. We’ve already seen a belt change hands–Deiveson Figueiredo won a controversial decision over Brandon Moreno back at UFC 270, but that's the only belt that’s had to be refitted. Francis Ngannou turned into a wrestler to keep his Heavyweight belt, and Israel Adesanya just squeezed out a decisions victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 271.
While there’s certainly been a lot of drama this year, nothing completely bonkers has gone down–and that’s why we watch the UFC in the first place, right? We LOVE the bonkers. So, I’m going to give you my five bold predictions for the UFC in 2022.
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But now, onto the fun stuff.
1. Vicente Luque Will Earn A Welterweight Title Shot By The End Of The Year
I really thought this would come a lot sooner–but with a fight against Belal Muhammad scheduled for April, it looks like Luque will have to wait for his title shot. But fans of the TUF alum won't have to wait long–I see Luque just one fight away from a fight for the belt, so a late 2022 5-round main looks to be in the cards for the Brazilian welterweight.
Luque has the perfect combination of striking and wrestling prowess that makes for a great champion, and he will for sure give any opponent in the top five a hard time. While Leon Edwards should get the next shot (probably sometime early this summer,) Luque should get a late 2022 shot at the belt– as long as he gets that win over Muhammad.
2. Jorge Masvidal Will Retire
While we’re in the welterweight division, I’ll touch on the Masvidal situation for a bit. Coming off of the worst loss of his career (the KO from Usman) Masvidal is slated to fight Colby Covington in March. While Masvidal is (1-0) in grudge matches (remember this?) this fight against Colby will be a nightmare for gamebred.
That would make it three losses in a row for Masvidal, and all from the top talent in the division. So if Masvidal can’t stand with the big guns, then what purpose would he have in the UFC? Masvidal also already has SO much money and has his own fight promotion to worry about.
So, a bad loss from Covington in March will be Masvidal’s last in the UFC, and he will retire. Easy peasy.
3. Paulo Costa Will Move Up To Light Heavyweight And Will Dominate
It doesn’t take an expert to realize the Light Heavyweight division is hurting a bit right now. Outside of Teixeira, Prochazka, and Blachowicz, the Light Heavyweight division is lacking some of the heavy-hitters that it’s used to possessing.
Seeing as how Paulo Costa is one of the hardest hitters in the Middleweight division, adding on weight and bumping up a class would make his striking even more dangerous. He also has a deep wrestling and BJJ arsenal that he has yet to really display in the cage, so he has a real opportunity to take advantage of a thin Light Heavyweight division.
4. Marlon Vera Will End The Year As A Top 5 Bantamweight
Trivia time! Who has the most finishes in Bantamweight history?
That’s right. Marlon Vera. At only 29 years old, Marlon Vera has finished the most fighters in the Bantamweight division after front kicking Frankie Edgar into the shadow realm and capturing his ninth finish.
So it’s undeniable that Vera is a killer–and he’s really one big profile fight away from a top-5 ranking.
Maybe a fight against Rob Font would make the most sense–it’s a great fighter-style matchup between the two and it could main-event a fight night,
5. Conor McGregor Will Not Fight In The UFC EVER Again–Will Go To Boxing and Fight Jake Paul
I mean why WOULD McGregor fight in the UFC again? I’m not saying a loss will tarnish his reputation–what he did in the mid-2010s will never be replicated. However, a fourth loss in five fights would add McGregor to the list of fighters that stayed around just a bit too long.
So, why not fight Jake Paul and make more money than he ever could have in the octagon? All that said, a loss to Paul WOULD tarnish his career–so he better take this seriously.