It isn’t quite the event that was scheduled, but UFC 282 will have the necessary pop to satisfy fight fans this Saturday in Las Vegas. Two weeks ago, Jiří Procházka had to make the tough decision to vacate the light heavyweight title after suffering an injury late in camp. What was supposed to be his first defense of the belt now becomes a battle for the vacant belt between No.2 Jan Blacowicz and No.3 Magomed Ankalaev. Scheduled to face Procházka, top challenger Glover Teixeira will have the night off and have to wait for a chance to reclaim the title he lost over the summer.
Watch UFC 282
When: Saturday, December 10, 2022
Early Prelims Start Time: 5:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. PT
With the move of Blachowicz and Ankalaev to the main event, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett and Jared Gordon become the co-headliner in a lightweight contest between unranked fighters. Pimblett (19-3-0) has become a sensation just three fights into his UFC career, finishing all of them early and twice by first-round knockout. The loaded event also includes No.9 Bryce Mitchell as he looks to stay perfect in The Octagon, as well as the great Robbie Lawler, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Darren Till.
UFC 282 Main Event Preview
Blachowicz (29-9-0) knows what it takes to be a champion in the UFC, claiming the vacant light heavyweight title in 2020 against Dominick Reyes. He successfully defended it once, halting Israel Adesanya’s campaign to be a two-division champion, but lost the belt his next time out against Glover Teixeira before the end of 2021. Now, the title is vacant and once again within his grasp.
Standing in Blachowicz’s way is none other than Ankalaev (18-1-0) who is riding a nine-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since his UFC debut in 2018. A technical fighter who can earn a decision, Ankalaev is another Dagestani with knockout power as Anthony Smith learned in July. With that in mind, he will likely attempt to keep the fight with Blachowicz on the feet to leverage his advantage.
Head-to-head, Blachowicz and Ankalaev measure up similarly with just an inch in height difference between them. Stylistically, they both have the full arsenal allotted to them in MMA, though history leans toward Blachowicz displaying more grappling. The betting window favors this notion, giving Ankalaev +110 odds to win by knockout compared to Blachowicz at +550, while the latter has the submission advantage +1100 to +1400. Favored to win outright at -240, Ankalaev has the best two odds for victory, +110 for the knockout and +240 to win by decision.