UFC 2016: Heavyweight division preview and predictions

By Niall Clarke

  • UFC Heavyweight division preview and predictions
  • Current champion: Fabricio Werdum
  • Will Fedor Emelianenko sign for the UFC?

The 2016 previews conclude with the biggest weight class in the UFC, the Heavyweight division.

2015 saw a change at the top of the division. The ever improving Fabricio Werdum submitted Cain Velasquez to claim the UFC Heavyweight championship.

A rematch is scheduled to take place on the 6th of February at UFC 196, and it should be a cracker. Many feel that Velasquez was unprepared for the altitude of Mexico City in the first fight and that may be correct. But that should take nothing away from an excellent Werdum performance.

The former champion will not want anything to do with the Brazilian’s ground game so will like to keep it on the feet, however Werdum has shown improved stand up over the years. The rematch will be a tight affair but will ultimately reveal the same result. We will see a better Velasquez this time around but Werdum can catch you at any time with a submission and that’s what i predict for UFC 196.

The next contender will likely be Alistair Overeem if the UFC can agree a contract with the Dutchman. ‘The Reem’ is currently a free agent and the UFC would be stupid to not resign their new number one contender. Overeem impressively knocked out Junior Dos Santos in his previous fight.

Werdum vs Overeem 2 is booked for late in the year. The former Strikeforce champion won their only previous match by decision in that now defunct promotion, but like mentioned before Werdum has improved his striking leaps and bounds.

The new ‘cautious’ Overeem is a much smarter fighter and that may prove to be the difference. The Dutchman is a former K1 kickboxing champion and arguably the best striker in the division but his chin is questionable. Werdum will likely try bring it to the ground which is easier said than done against a fighter the size of Overeem. The fight will likely be decided on whether the Brazilian can bring it to the mat or if Overeem can keep it on the feet.

On the January 2nd UFC 195 card, the next contender may be decided in the Andrei Arlovski vs Stipe Miocic co main event. The Croatian was impressive in his victory over Mark Hunt last year whilst Arlovski is in the middle of a career resurgence and is riding a six fight win streak. Miocic is an improving fighter whilst Arlovski is looking at one more shot at glory. The Croatian will put forth a safe game-plan and use a mix of striking and takedowns to earn a decision victory.

Former champion Velasquez will earn another victory before the end of the year against a ranked fighter to bring himself back into contention. Dos Santos on the other hand will decline in 2016 and lose his next fight before making his return to the win column to finish out the year.

Once again, Feder Emelianenko will fail to agree terms with the UFC as it becomes increasingly clear that the former PRIDE champion will never join the UFC. Fedor will announce a second retirement late in the year.

That concludes our UFC 2016 previews and predictions. It promises to be an exciting year for the world’s leading MMA promotion as it continues to grow. If you have any comments or predictions you would like to send, feel free to comment below or contact us via our Facebook or Twitter page.

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