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Top 5 Questions in 2012: Heavyweight

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As we close out an exciting and thrilling 2011 we await an exciting and thrilling 2012 as well. The year was highlighted by UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones' running through the UFC light heavyweight division like a hot knife through butter.

Between now and Jan. 31st i will breakdown the top questions for the heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight and welterweight divisions in the new year.

The biggest news coming up for the UFC's 2012 will be answered as a number on contender will be crowned when Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem headlines UFC 141 (Dec.30th). The winner will face recently crowned UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos at an event to be announced.

So, join me after the jump for questions 5 to 1

5. Will Fedor Emelianenko join the UFC?

One-time undisputed heavyweight king pin Fedor Emelianenko is 2-3 in his past five bouts after going 30+ fights without a single blemish.

2-3 isn't terrible by any means when fighting the world's best but when your biggest wins are against Jeff Monson and Brett Rogers an eyebrow must be raised. His defeats come at the hands of Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson.

Emelianenko is to face judo player Satoshi Ishii at DREAM New Years event in which is a 'gimmie' fight for someone the likes of Fedor and his resume. Ishii has even stated he is looking to win a decision. Fedor needs to win this one badly as this is a step down when you compare what Jeff Monson has down in comparison to Ishii.

Should do as expected and beat Ishii there isn't much left out there in the regionals. Jeff Monson is highly regarded as the best regional heavyweight and i don't expect M-1 sacrificing it's M-1 heavyweight champion Guram Gugenishvili or Fedor should he lose.

Fedor is most likely too expensive and unwanted by Bellator for the fact of his publicized asking price for his services and his notable struggles of late. The UFC looks like the place for redemption but will UFC president Dana White allow him into the Zuffa fold again?

4. Who will win the Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix?

The finals are expected for March 2012 and as we all know the finals is former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett vs. former Olympian Daniel Cormier.

In a tournament which featured heavy favorites Fedor Emeilanenko and Alistair Overeem we are down to one of the most controversial figures in the sport (Josh Barnett) and a semi-final alternate (Daniel Cormier. Cormier has earned his spot by bullying Jeff Monson and smashing a giant in Antonio Silva. Barnett subbed Bret Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov en route.

The fight will now hold major water as Dana White has announced this bout will conclude the Strikeforce heavyweight division as it will be assimilated into the UFC heavyweight class. The move is the most logical and will only benefit the Strikeforce fighters and the UFC heavyweight class.

Who will the anticipated bout and what ramifications may they face once they win?

3. Can Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez bounce back?

A one time these two men were the most feared heavyweights in the world. Both were literally smashing the competition and then just as soon as they rose above they crashed.

Shane Carwin was a few clean punches from winning a heavyweight title against Brock Lesnar at UFC 116 then gassed and fell victim to an unlikely arm triangle choke in the second stanza. He would have surgery and bounced back into a number one contenders bout at UFC 131 against Junior Dos Santos. Carwin got the bout after Brock Lesnar feel ill once again to diverticulitis while taping 'The Ultimate Fighter 14'. Carwin was smashed for all three rounds and even though he showed a ton of heart, he was beaten badly.

Is 2012 the year of the 'Engineer'?

Cain Velasquez was hot coming off a drubbing of Brock Lersnar and finished what Shane Carwin left off as he won the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 121 last October. A nagging shoulder injury led to surgery and a 13 month layoff as he returned in November of 2011. He was knocked out on the biggest of stages at the hands of Brazilian bomber Junior Dos Santos and lost his heavyweight title on the debut UFC event on Fox.

Can either one be back as championship material?

2.Can Junior Dos Santos run the gauntlet in 2012?

JDS has smashed everyone put before him and left no question that he is the best heavyweight in the world today. 2012 will be the year where he can cement himself as the best heavyweight everwith the plethora of possible contenders coming at him.

The craziest thing about Dos Santos' run is that he is doing it by using only his boxing skills. He hasn't had to shown a whole lot more as he has not yet stumbled. Hell, he hasn't even looked in a bad spot once. The one time he could've have fell into peril was due to throwing so many bombs at Roy Nelson and not stopping 'Big Country'.

His first title defense will be against either Brock Lesnar or Alistair Overem, no small task at all. He could face an angry Cain Velasquez, a Grand Prix winner in either Daniel Cormier or Josh Barnett or even a wild card like a revitalized Frank Mir.

It will be a hard task especially when thebig men can knockout anyone with that much force and power.

1. Who will reign as the number one heavyweight?

The UFC's current champion is Junior Dos Santos but the heavyweight title has switched quite a bit of times and defending it wtice has only been done afew times. The talent pool just got deeper with the assimilation of the Strikeforce heavyweight class.

Brock Lesnar, Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormer and Josh Barnett cannot be that far off from getting a title shot with a key win or two in the new year. All have been on top at one time or another in competition.

the real question is: Who will be the UFC heavyweight champion on December 31st, 2012?

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