After a great year of fights last year, it's time to now turn our attention towards what this year has to offer in the fight game, so lets dive straight into it, this is whom I believe will be champion in their respected division by the end of the year 2022;
Woman's strawweight division; Rose Namajunas.
To me she when she's dedicated she's unbeatable with some of the best footwork in the game, I don't see many woman in this division stopping the free flowing force, which is Rose Namajunas.
Woman's flyweight division; Valentina Shevchenko.
No brainer for me, she's beat the top four rank in her last 4 fights and doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon, to be honest I don't see her even fighting in this weight class this year, I think they (UFC) will let the rest of the girls fight it out between them to then try find the next clear number one contender, which leads me on lovely to my next pick.
Woman's bantamweight division; Valentina Shevchenko.
As I just previously mentioned I really don't see any suitable opponent that will give Valentina a good fight in her natural weight class, my shout of the year will be Pena beats Nunes in the rematch, then towards the end of the year Shevchenko beats Pena and becomes double champ, securing her number one spot on the pound for pound woman's list!.
Men's flyweight division: Askar Askarov.
Now matched up with Kai Kara France which is sure to be the number one contender match for either Moreno or figueirdo, A win here puts Askarov in touching distance of that title fight. Kai Kara France, Moreno and figueirdo, I think they all match up terribly against the wrestling machine Askarov, styles makes fights after all, also it's interesting to point out Moreno and Askarov have already fought back at UFC fight night back in 2019, which ended a draw, so for me that makes this fight even more interesting assuming they can both get past there next respected opponents.
Men's Bantamweight division: Petr Yan.
"No Mercy" has just simply looked unbeatable in any fight I've seen him in, most fights he tends to start slow and really calculates his range within the first 2 rounds without doing much, but after those calculations have added up and he has his formula, he's a real force to be reckoned with in round 3 onwards, just relentless pressure, excellent cage control and crisp accurate strikes that no fighter seems to be able to deal with, as we speak he is currently matched up with his nemesis Aljo, for their much anticipated rematch, but if we are being honest, nothing in their first fight gave me any indication that sterling will cause Yan any serious problems, the first fight I personally was intrigued to see how Yan would fare against Sterling's relentless wrestling and will to try take you down, Yan answered these questions for me after their first fight by boasting a 100% takedown defence against the current champion, therefore he's my pick.
Men's featherweight division; Alexander Volkanovski
Whilst currently writing this post, Holloway has just been pulled out of their 3rd fight due to medical reasons, which makes this pick a bit tougher as we are yet to see who Alex will defend his title against, Henry Cejudo has been recently making claims via twitter that he is willing to step in and face the current champ, Volk has himself called out "Korean Zombie" (which I'm not too fond of at this particular time) the champ has made it very clear, he wants to be more active and fight at least 2 fights a year, personally speaking I'd like to see him face the winner of Kattar vs Chikadze (What a fight) then, Holloway later on in the year if he (Volk) wins of course, either way I don't see the current champion giving that belt away anytime soon, I mean look at the heart he showed in the Ortega fight!.
Men's lightweight division: Charles Oliviera
What a year Charles "Do Bronx" had in 2021! I called it back in 2019 that Charles is the dark horse in this lightweight division, turned out I was right, the submission king has looked excellent in his last few fights, though his last two fights haven't gone smooth sailing, he's answered those who questioned his heart and determination to win. This is the most stacked division in my humble opinion, absolute killers from 1-10, so this could be anyone's year to hold the title, history also shows that the lightweight title changes hands quite often (3 being the current most defences), I'm going against the odds picking Charles to retain the title for the 2022 year, I haven't gone against "Do Bronx" since 2019, I'm definitely not starting now.
Men's welterweight division: Kamaru Usman
My fighter of the year 2021 the "Nigerian Nightmare" has looked impeccable of late, after his demolishing job on all his opponents in the 2021 year its almost impossible to go bet against Usman (unless your a believer that Chimaev is coming to take over!). Looking at the rankings he's beat the majority of the top ten, the only fight I'm interested in next is Usman vs Edwards, I'm aware Edwards is not a fan favourite due to his "safe" fighting style, but you cant argue the stats, Leon is more than deserving for a rematch against Usman, although I think this fight will be really close and go the distance, I expect Usman too defend his title once this year, (as he's stated he wants to only do 1 or 2 fights this year due to wanting to spend time with his family), hopefully that will be against Leon "rocky" Edwards. Meanwhile whilst Usman takes his foot off the pedal, I imagine Khamzat will "smesh" his way through the division, to set up the intriguing 2023 fight between Usman vs Chimaev.
Men's middleweight division: Robert Whittaker
The rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker (UFC 271) is going to be much different than the first, I expect a close fight that will likely go the distance, "the last style bender" has almost looked invincible in his quest to become the greatest middleweight the sport has ever seen, so picking against him maybe daft, I just personally believe with now Whittaker's mental state being in a far more stronger place than their first bout, we are going to get the scrap I anticipated back in their first fight, rather than a one sided ass whooping that we saw from Adesanya (if we are being honest), be ready to watch Whittaker be strategic in his strikes and implement his wrestling this time around, either way this is a two horse race in the terms of who will reign as champion in this middleweight division, I like most strongly believe we have the two best middleweights facing each other at UFC 271, to find out who is the true middleweight king.
Men's light heavyweight division: Jiri Prochazka
Just like Oliveira, it was such a heart felt moment watching Glover winning the title when everyone including myself counted him out, but unfortunately the hard part now starts, in defending the light heavyweight strap. Not many fighters can stake a claim to be number one contender after just two fights with the organisation! But that is what Prochazka has more than likely got in store for his next fight in the UFC, Jiri has definitely brought a new life into the light heavyweight division with his awkward free flowing striking being a thing of beauty to watch, with his 2 finishes (one being potentially KO of the year with the spinning elbow on Reyes) in his two fights in the UFC, its hard to see a way an experienced Glover Teixeira, will be able to handle the constant pressure Jiri will bring, Jiri is on a 12 fight winning streak not loosing a fight since 2015! I'm backing him to take glover out, KO/TKO round 3.
Men's heavyweight division: Stipe Miocic
This division has always been one of if not the hardest to predict, because as we have seen before, 1 shot is all it takes, but I'm going to again speculate my prediction with an outsider's choice, Yes the still in my opinion best heavyweight to do it in the UFC Stipe Miocic, now we obviously have the huge fight (literally) in Ngannou vs Gane UFC 270 to relish over, in which gane will edge out in my opinion, which then will leave the fans intrigue of Gane vs Miocic all to much, for the UFC to not book the fight, this fight will then get made towards the end of the year and this is where I predict Miocic beating Gane, reclaiming that belt and once more proving, why he is the baddest man on the planet!
If you took the time too read this it is much appreciated, feel free to respond with your guesses, always good to see/hear other peoples views.