By Niall Clarke

  • UFC Middleweight division preview and predictions
  • Luke Rockhold is the current champion
  • Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks to make his debut?

Now more exciting than it has ever been, what does the UFC’s Middleweight division have in store for 2016?

Once dominated by Anderson Silva, the 185lbs division is now more wide open than it has ever been before. A new champion was crowned in December in the form of Luke Rockhold after a TKO victory against Chris Weidman at UFC 194.

The All-American kicked off the year with a TKO victory against Vitor Belfort, but found Rockhold a much harder task. It was said to be his most difficult challenge as champion, and so it proved to be. Rockhold took advantage of a spinning back kick attempt by Weidman to get full mount and unleashed a barrage of punches.

The fight was not stopped in that third round, but the assault continued into the fourth where the fight was mercifully stopped. Middleweight has a new king-pin.

The former Strikeforce champion is likely to face Yoel Romero next after the Cuban edged out Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza on the same card. Romero has put together some nice wins but has not been overly impressive with them. Therefore Rockhold will stop him in his first title defence.

The only man to hand the champion a loss inside the octagon is Belfort. Rockhold will therefore be craving a rematch with the Brazilian. Belfort is fed a tune up fight which he wins to get the next shot at Rockhold, but this time the champion prevails.

Weidman will return in the middle of the year against a ranked fighter, maybe Gegard Mousasi or someone of that nature. Despite losing his most recent outing, Weidman still runs over most of the division and expect the same when he returns

This leads to a fight with Weidman which the former champion dominates for a decision victory, putting himself back in contention. A Rockhold-Weidman rematch is scheduled for early 2017.

Former WWE star Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks will make his debut in 2016 at UFC 200 against an unknown fighter and will win the fight, leading to the cries of fix. Brooks will not fight again in 2016.

Anderson Silva will return to action after his suspension in 2016 and will face Britain’s Michael Bisping in London. This is a great main event for those attending the show on February 27th as they get to see England’s best fighter face the greatest UFC competitor of all time.

Once upon a time, you would have said Silva without thinking about it, but now there is more lingering doubt. I still believe the Brazilian pulls through before confirming a move up to Light-Heavyweight later on in the year.

Nick Diaz on the other hand will not fight in 2016 and could possibly get himself into trouble which results in his release from the company.

All in all it should an exciting year in the Middleweight division. With plenty of contenders and a wide open division, many fighters could end 2016 as champion.

Stay tuned for the Light-Heavyweight preview which comes your way tomorrow.

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