Happy New Year, everybody. So, you’ve rung in 2022, you’ve taken down those Christmas decorations (or at least you intend to in the next several days), you’ve hummed that old standby Auld Lang Syne, and you’ve just about inputted all of those codes for all of those gift cards you got from your relatives over the holiday period.
MMA Predictions for 2022
However, we’ve still got one piece of business still left to take care of from the old year before officially powering forward to 2022:
Peering Into the Crystal Ball Again
That one last piece of business left over from the old year is the business of prognostication. It’s time for the exciting (well, “exciting” may not be the operative word here) conclusion of a two-part series on predictions of what may or may not happen inside the MMA cage during these next 12 months.
In case you happened to miss part one of this series, don’t fret. You can always come back to this part of the series when you’re done there or go to part one when you’re done here.
As Olmec said on Legends of the Hidden Temple:
“The choices are yours and yours alone.”
Let’s begin with part two of this series, and I still have the crystal ball in the room with me from last time.
Jon Jones Won’t Fight in the UFC This Year
One of the biggest spats outside of the cage in the past couple of years has been the ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) rift between the UFC and its former longtime light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC MMA, 20-1, 1 NC UFC).
Folks, it could take us the better part of the next six months to so much as attempt to recap everything that the UFC and Jon Jones have gone through in recent years. But after his suspension from his longtime gym, Jackson-Wink MMA due to his arrest on domestic violence charges after last September’s UFC Hall of Fame Inductions and him joining Jackson’s MMA Acoma Gym, one must really wonder exactly what kind of shape he’s in.
Bear in mind that Jones has not fought in an MMA bout in almost two full years as of this writing and because of the ongoing spat between Jones and his promotion, the odds are that he does not step inside the cage at any point.
Given Jones’ history of controversy and his prior arrests, who’s to say that the UFC completely washes its collective hands of him and gives the former champion at 205 lbs. his walking papers at some point in the next 12 months?
It just might be for the betterment of Jones and the promotion at this point if he walks.
Dalton Rosta Will Become a Top Middleweight Contender in Bellator
A little under three years ago, Bellator MMA‘s middleweight roster got a little more powerful when Dalton Rosta (5-0 MMA, 5-0 Bellator), a former redshirt linebacker on the Youngstown State University football team under Bo Pelini during the 2015 season and wrestler at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA prior to coming to YSU, joined the ViacomCBS-owned MMA promotion.
Since coming to Bellator, Rosta, who sported a 7-0 record in amateur MMA competition, remains unblemished professionally, running his current winning streak to 12-0 across all bouts.
60 percent of the time during his Bellator stint, Rosta has not even so much as needed to have a victory confirmed by the fight’s judges. Winning three fights via knockout or TKO, only going to decision in his last two bouts. Most recently back in April of last year versus Tony Johnson during the featured prelim of Bellator 256.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
“Romero Cotton shouldn’t be ranked,” Rosta said to the media. “He’s 5-0 and he only fought one solid competition. He took somebody down that had no wrestling, took his back and choked him, you know? Nothing spectacular, nothing too impressive, and his other four wins [were] against no-name guys. I think he’s being boosted a little bit too early and I think I should definitely take his spot. If anything, he should be knocked out of the rankings, if not, he should be 10, I should be nine.”
Rosta closed that portion of his remarks by hoping that he and Cotton would be able to meet in his next fight in the cage.
Barring any last-minute adjustments to Bellator 273 in Phoenix on Jan. 29, that’s just what they’ll do for the featured undercard bout.
As mentioned earlier, Cotton is the No. 9 contender at 185 lbs. in Bellator MMA, with Rosta currently being unranked at middleweight.
A win here would catapult the former YSU Penguin into the rankings– so here’s one note of caution to the fans:
If you have yet to watch the footage of a Dalton Rosta fight, watch the tape today.
Rosta is truly an amazing contender and this could be the year he becomes a household name.
Jake Paul Will Not Fight Jorge Masvidal in a UFC Bout
Finally in this series, here is a prediction that you can easily take to the bank this coming year in MMA:
At this point in his life, Jake Paul is still in a phase where he’s exhibiting delusions of grandeur— and in the scheme of reality, this young man cannot be seriously thinking that he can fight, much less defeat, an MMA stalwart, especially one of the caliber of Jorge Masvidal.
Paul thinks he’s the toast of the town when honestly, this could not be further from the truth.
The Dec. 18 pay-per-view card had an anemic buyrate, as just 65,000 viewers across cable and satellite providers spent $59.99 (USD) to watch the Showtime PPV broadcast that night and saw Paul score a sixth-round knockout of Woodley in the headlining bout.
Comparatively, UFC 268 (the most recent UFC pay-per-view for which buyrate figures were available as of Jan. 2) on Nov. 6 had a buyrate north of 700,000 inside America alone on ESPN+, more than 10 times the buyrate of the Jake Paul fight.
Thus, it’s safe to say that Jake Paul vs. Jorge Masvidal will not happen in the UFC.
Featured Image Credits to: Embed from Getty Images