As the title says, I'm going Balls Out on my predictions for 2011.
I'm starting up a new series of columns which I proudly call "Going Balls Out", or GBO for short.
This is entry number one, although I did go balls out on a prediction one other time.
I actually was one of the few to think that Roy Nelson was potentially the next big thing in the UFC Heavyweight Division.
Remember that knockout win Junior Dos Santos was supposed to get on Big Country?
Yeah, that never happened.
Remember how JDS was supposed to dominate Nelson and make short work of him?
Never happened, did it?
I went Dos Santos at UFC 117, but I opted to not write Nelson off, and considering how a few of my predictions went after UFC 112, I'm glad I gave him a shot to at least survive the three rounds with Dos Santos.
Now, it's time to let mine hang out again, and I'm going to be as I've always wanted to be:
I'm going to be one crazy, possibly-psychotic, definitely bold badass and predict one of the fights that goes down in the UFC in 2011.
As has become simple knowledge, the long-awaited Jon Jones-Ryan Bader war -- the ultimate in The War of The Prospects, at this point in time -- will finally go down on what is already shaping up to be the biggest UFC card of the Winter season.
That's right, I'm saying it: UFC 126 may be the biggest card of the Winter season in 2011 and it sure as hell can be considered one of the biggest card you'll see in MMA in the upcoming year.
Now, the word on the street -- the ONE word on the street that I've picked up that didn't come from any buddy of mine, that didn't involve non-UFC talent, and that wasn't intended to get my hopes up of someone finally coming to the UFC, even though they'd likely be coming to the UFC just so I could say they were there -- is that Jones may get a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Title if he beats Bader and then beats two other opponents afterwards.
I'm going to say it: Phil Davis will be the man that literally stands between Jones and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout that the UFC's Most Valuable Prospect has been looking for since he first debuted in the promotion.
Stylistically, the Greg Jackson phenom and the Alliance MMA marvel match up almost perfectly.
The only differences?
Jones doesn't have any BJJ experience, while Davis's best offense doesn't include any Muay Thai.
Both men have solid wrestling, they have some good punching power, and if you ask a few folks, their ground-and-pound abilities are lethal in their own respects.
Jones's only disadvantage may come if Davis can keep the fight off the feet, while Davis' weakness may come if his striking and grappling abilities don't improve to where we can actually witness Jones in any sort of danger.
Both men are still young in their careers, and by the time they face off, the keys to victory may change somewhat, so we can't fully break down how the fight would go yet.
We have an idea of who has the edge now, but we may later come to find that the key is merely conditioning or preparation for the fight, but hey, it doesn't hurt to try to break it down a little bit early.
Now that we have sort of a brief idea of their strengths and their weaknesses now, we'll say Jones gets by Bader and Phil Davis gets by Boetsch.
It's tough to tell what Dana White and Joe Silva think about sometimes, and it's equally difficult to try and gauge what goes on in the heads of both Davis and Jones, but I'm guessing Jones sticks to his word and opts to take on two more opponents.
Who will be the first person Jones takes out?
My bank goes to the winner of Rich Franklin's fight with Forrest Griffin, and that's regardless of how much Forrest may think a fight with him and Bones might royally suck for him.
For the record, their only similarity is that they don't cherry-pick their fights.
Take THAT, guys from The Daily Line on Versus!
Laughter aside, and as much as I do respect Forrest Griffin, the man will be fighting "Ace" in what will be his first fight since the Split Decision win at UFC 106 against Tito Ortiz.
Just so it soaks in, that's over a one-year layoff for the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, so for Forrest to beat Franklin makes it that much more of an upset.
Still, Jones' hot streak in the UFC won't be stopped by Ace.
I see the two getting precautionary suspensions from the NSAC after UFC 126, and the two facing off in a range of three months to a half a year from UFC 126, so at the least, they'll probably fight when the UFC breaks into the 130's.
Jones will beat Franklin, and as expected, a loss to Bones will give people the impression that Frankling should finally hang up the gloves even though Franklin does make it tough for Jones.
As for Davis, we'll say he gets someone -- let's say, the winner of Thiago Silva's bout with Brandon "The Truth" Vera at UFC 125 ends in an exciting fashion and the winner faces Davis.
Silva has a good chance, but Vera needs the win to stay in the UFC, so we'll say the fight ends up being Vera vs. Davis.
Vera goes for a head kick, but Davis catches him and overpowers Vera after scoring a takedown, eventually getting the win after some ground and pound.
A submission win might surprise me, but then again, Davis hasn't been in the UFC long enough for anyone of us to claim to have seen him tap anyone out.
Anyways, a loss to Davis takes Vera away from the chopping block and into the Land of The Inconsistencies, and Davis moves on forward.
Now unlike Jones, it's likely that Davis gets one more fight before the UFC brass makes the Davis-Jones affair happen.
After a slight step up in competition, Davis gets one more opponent before it's time that they make the fight between him and Bones.
It's possible that this step up could come in the form of Stephan Bonnar or -- Heaven preserve us all if this is so -- Matt Hamill.
With Bonnar, Davis would need to prepare to be in a wild striking exchange in a minimum of four times before the end of the fight, whereas Davis' win over Hamill might be a split decision.
Stylistically, they're both good fights for him, but either of those two might just be putting Davis on Bones' path to the belt.
Realistically, they wouldn't have Bonnar on their list of Davis' next opponents because the brass might already have someone like possibly Bader or another Light Heavyweight in mind for The American Psycho.
Hamill could fall under the same category as Bonnar, and the intent of not having Davis as Hamill's next fight could translate to say that the UFC brass isn't ready to make it happen just yet.
I'll predict that they go the "Wrestling vs. Jiu-Jitsu" route again and let Rogerio Nogueira get a crack at Davis -- after surviving hell at the hands of Tito Ortiz in Abu Dhabi and getting a medical suspension due to what I will call as a cracked orbital bone.
Davis and Nogueira go at it for three rounds, but the fight just barely goesto Davis in a bout that sees one judge scoring the fight for Nogueira and the other two scoring it for Davis.
That's when it finally happens.
After what feels like a long time, Davis and Jones finally face off with the winner getting a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Chances are that the Shogun-Evans fight takes a lot out of champion and challenger alike, and we all know what this boils down to.
It's striker vs. Wrestler, but the wild card in the bout is Shogun's knee and whether it'll hinder Shogun's chances of beating Evans.
If it doesn't, then whoever wins will have no second option -- they'll have to make sure that they come in the more dangerous striker in their bout with Shogun.
If it does hinder Shogun at all, though, the smart money is that Davis vs. Evans will be more likely an outcome than Jones vs. Evans -- unless Bones doesn't mind heading outside of the Greg Jackson Camp in order to prepare for Evans.
As for the Davis-Jones bout... well, that breakdown is an article for another day, but when in doubt of what the future may hold for these two fighters, going with what you know can sometimes bite you back where it hurts.
Therefore, I close with a word of advice:
When in doubt, don't cry or shout.
You're better off just Going Balls Out.