Nurmagomedov-McGregor Rematch Among 2019 MMA Predictions

Sunday, December 23, 2018 4:51 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018 4:51 PM UTC

The UFC has rising stars and epic fights on the way to make for an amazing 2019 in MMA. 


The year is going to close with a bang with the absolutely stacked UFC 232 card. Sure 2018 had its bumps and didn’t get rolling until about half way through, but with the way things shook out, I am honestly not disappointed.

We were introduced to lots of rising stars thanks to Dana White’s Contender Series. We saw the fall from grace of fighters such as Michael Chiesa (this is written prior to UFC 232 where he may or may not get things on track). Al Iaquinta should be in the running for Fighter of the Year after taking Khabib 5 rounds and then backing up the fact that he is an elite talent with his dismantling of Hype Train Kevin Lee. And there was plenty of drama to go around such as the infamous trade of G.O.A.T. Demetrious Johnson for future UFC contender Ben Askren and the women’s first ever flyweight champion Nicco Montano being stripped after basically refusing to fight Valentina Shevchenko.

Here's a look at what I think we have to look forward to in 2019.

2019 Prediction 1: Bader Becomes Bellator’s 1st 2-Division Champ


Let's begin nice and easy. January 2019 starts hot with some fun events! One of the biggest will be Bellator’s finale to the Heavyweight Grand Prix on January 26. Ryan Bader looks better at heavyweight than he ever did at light heavyweight and that's impressive. He was a longtime contender, just missing out on a title shot in the UFC and when he moved over to Bellator he quickly established himself as the top dog. The way Bader handled Matt Mitrione, who is a much bigger man, has me believing that we will just see a repeat of that fight with Fedor not knowing how to get up and gassing in the 2nd or 3rd round. I expect Bader to get the finish after Fedor figures out he’s not going to get up and gasses out. Bader is currently sitting around -380 and that’s just too steep to lay. I will look for a total or maybe Bader inside the distance as the fight gets closer.


Tyron Woodley vs. Colby CovingtonFree UFC Futures Pick: Tyron Woodley -185Best Line Offered: Bovada2019 Prediction 2: Woodley Crushes Covington

Tyron "T-Wood" Woodley is the most unappreciated champion the UFC has ever had. The guys he has fought have been some of the most dangerous fighters any champion has faced consecutively since George St Pierre’s run prior to his retirement. Nobody faces that number of killers and remains the champion. When he retires we as fans will look back and wish we had treated him better. We, as bettors, will wish we had him back because he is a money printing machine!

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\"I was going to save this for the press conference, but...\"

For the first time, @TWooodley tells @KristineLeahy the real reason he's ready to take Colby Covington out pic.twitter.com/5XoiJlxkbj

— Fair Game (@FairGameonFS1) December 14, 2018
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Prior to my time here with SBR, I was GIFTED the opportunity to bet Tyron Woodley at even money against Darren Till and I told everybody who would listen that this was an opportunity that could not be missed. Not only did he win but he won by TKO against a young fighter who just is not as well rounded as the champion. Colby Covington is no different. He is a wrestler with an incredible gas tank, but that isn't enough to de-throne Woodley. Colby cannot out-wrestle Woodley. Colby stands no chance in hell of out-striking Woodley. I don't expect that fight to last long and I expect Woodley to derail another hype train and hang on to that belt.

Jon Jones vs Daniel CormierFree UFC Futures Pick: Jon Jones -225Best Line Offered: Bovada 2019 Prediction 3: Jon Jones Defeats Daniel Cormier For The 3rd Time


On December 29 for UFC 232, Jon Jones is going to beat Alexander Gustafsson and regain the light heavyweight strap. Daniel Cormier is trying to get a retirement fight against wrestling super star Brock Lesnar, but he is demanding Brock fight clean. Lets be real, that's not going to happen and USADA already “misplaced” Brock’s samples.

Jones outclassed DC in their first fight back in 2015. DC bounced back and showcased an impressive improvement in striking for the rematch in 2017 and honestly looked like he was on track to win that contest, until Jones unleashed the head kick from hell and dropped DC in his first ever KO loss. DC is getting closer and closer to retirement while Jon is just hitting his prime. Even though I am a massive DC fan and think he is one of the greatest fighters we have ever had the privilege to watch, it looks like Jon Jones is just that guy who has his number and the longer this rivalry goes on the less chance DC has to win one as father time is not his friend.

2019 Prediction 4: Luke Rockhold Flops At 205

Fighters who move up a weight class tend to have massive success. Anthony “Lionheart” Smith and Thiago Santos have both moved up from 185 to 205 and have looked massively impressive doing so. 205 is wide open at this point with few elite fighters at the top of the division and everybody else trying to get on that level. 2019 is shaping up to be a great year for Light Heavyweight with these additions to the division. My hot-take here is that Luke moving to 205 will make him excellent FADE material. He has an impressive record with wins over the likes of prime Lyoto Machida and prime Chris Weidman. As a former UFC champion with the grappling skill set that he has he will be lined as a favorite over most of his first several opponents and I will be lining up with the dogs because I think he is a shell of himself and the new weight class might not drain him as much from cutting weight, but the fighters at 205 hit harder than the ones at 185 do and Luke hasn't had a chin since 2015.

2019 Prediction 5: Khabib And Conor Will Rematch In 2019

Conor and Khabib blew the pages off the record books when they clashed at UFC 229 in October 2018. That fight was by far the most anticipated fight in UFC history and the bad blood spilled over after the fight. The hearings and fines are still getting sorted out, but one thing that we know for certain is that drama sells. Conor already has called for a rematch and as the UFCs biggest star he pretty much gets what he wants. Under the new ownership, the UFC’s heads are basically only interested in dollar signs and the state of the divisions be damned for the sake of a quick buck most of the time these days. I would not at all be surprised if the next challenger for the 155 pound title is not a deserving contender like Dustin Porier or Tony Ferguson (who was unceremoniously stripped of the interim title and never given the opportunity to unify the belts) but the guy who just lost in a one-sided beating because the hype for the rematch would be off the charts.

In fact some reports show that the fight may already be on the table.

If I were a betting man (and I am) I would say that this isn't a true offer by the UFC and is Khabib’s father trying to push the second fight. We know Conor wants the fight. We know Khabib’s team likes money and after the way the first fight went a rematch seems like an easy pay day, and we KNOW the UFC likes money. Even if they make Conor lock up a win before they give him another shot at it, I would expect them to give him another hand-picked fight to get him back on the winning track and set up the inevitable call out of Khabib for a rematch. Maybe even for the end of year card for 2019.

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