WITH all British boxing postponed this month and the UFC taking a much-deserved sabbatical, I thought I’d start the year with some betting specials. Here are my Top 10 predictions for 2022:
Tyson Fury: Undisputed
The lineal heavyweight champion of the world will finally confirm his status as this era’s greatest heavyweight champion by capturing all four world title belts in 2022. Most likely with a victory over Oleksandr Usyk, Fury can reign this year as the undisputed #1.
TYSON FURY, UNDISPUTED HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION – (2/1)
Joshua vs Wilder at Wembley
Sticking with the heavyweight division; all is not lost for AJ. Whilst he may struggle in any immediate rematch with Usyk, there are plenty of big fights left for Joshua, none more so than a lucrative Wembley Stadium showdown with big hitting Deontay Wilder.
JOSHUA vs WILDER – (9/2)
Conor Benn coronation
Welterweight needs Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford first, but politics will ensure any unification sours fast and Benn, Virgil Ortiz Jr and Jaron Ennis will pick up the pieces. Ranked in the top 5 with three of the four governing bodies, Benn has the financial backing and fearless approach to unlock any vacant title shot.
CONOR BENN, WORLD CHAMPION – (4/1)
RUTHLESS FROM CONOR BENN ???? pic.twitter.com/Xwxbkwx0L9
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) December 12, 2021
Taylor loses his ‘0’
Britain’s best boxer of 2021, undisputed 140lb champ Josh Taylor remains unbeaten in 19 fights and with a resume to rival anybody in boxing. But a move up to welterweight is inevitable and it’ll likely be straight into a title fight with either Crawford or Spence, both of whom would represent a serious step up in challenge, even for Josh.
JOSH TAYLOR SUFFERS FIRST DEFEAT – (7/2)
Warrington back on top
Just 12 months ago Josh Warrington was 30-0 and a world champion, but not only did he give up his belt but he also got beat up by unknown Mexican Mauricio Lara, then suffered a draw in their rematch. But, after former foe Kiko Martinez scooped up his old belt, Josh could get first crack and get his unification ambitions back on track.
JOSH WARRINGTON, WORLD CHAMPION – (1/2)
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones: GOAT
Despite remaining inactive throughout 2021, ‘Bones’ is still one of the biggest draws in MMA. The most natural talent the sport has seen, his tarnished legacy now rides on a heavyweight title reign this year. Can he do it? Absolutely. Will he stay out of trouble long enough to get the chance? Who knows, this is Jon Jones we are taking about.
— AS USA (@English_AS) January 4, 2022
Arise King Makhachev
With his coach/teammate/brother now retired it’s time for Islam Makhachev to finally step out from Khabib Nurmagomedov’s shadow and capture UFC gold. Current lightweight king Charles Oliveira has proved he’s deserving of top spot and has likely got a successful defence or two in him yet. But once Islam’s chance arises, he won’t miss.
ISLAM MAKHACHEV, UFC 155lb CHAMPION – (9/4)
Business is business, Kamaru
After dominating the welterweight division, Kamaru Usman must move up to middleweight in 2022 in order to define his own career. And whilst he’s already distanced himself from a fight against ‘friend’ Israel Adesanya, he has a history of beating up actual teammates and at some point friendship must be put aside for legacy.
KAMARU USMAN, UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTENDER – (3/1)
Mo Mokaev – the contender
He may not have even made his UFC debut yet (scheduled for March) and he may only be 21 years old, but former two-time amateur world champion Muhammad will run through the lower echelons of the flyweight division like a hot knife through butter. In fact, by the end of the year he will still be unbeaten and ranked (top 15) by the UFC.
MUHAMMAD MOKAEV, RANKED UFC FLYWEIGHT – (2/1)
Farewell to the GWOAT
Amanda Nunes’ 14-year Hall of Fame fighting career will end in 2022. Nunes suffered the biggest upset of the year in December, surrendering her bantamweight belt to Julianna Pena. And whilst I can see Nunes winning the rematch, either Valentina Shevchneko or Father Time will force her to hang up the gloves by the end of the year.
AMANDA NUNES RETIREMENT – (EVENS)