MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC 282, a five-round vacant UFC light heavyweight title bout between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. The event takes place on Saturday, December 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Magomed Ankalaev (-285)
Ankalaev (18-1) is the No. 3 ranked UFC light heavyweight contender. The 30-year-old Russian is 9-1 overall in the UFC with notable wins over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Nikita Krylov, and with his lone loss coming against Paul Craig. Ankalev is one of the best strikers in the division and he’s proven that over his four years in the Octagon. On top of that, he is also a solid wrestler, making him a very dangerous and well-rounded opponent for anyone in the 205lbs weight class.
Jan Blachowicz (+240)
Blachowicz (29-9) is the No. 2 ranked UFC light heavyweight contender. The 39-year-old Pole has been in the UFC since 2014 and he’s gone 12-6 since then. He has notable wins over Israel Adesanya, Dominick Reyes, and Aleksandar Rakic, with notable losses against Glover Teixeira, Thiago Santos, and Alexander Gustafsson. Blachowicz has been one of the best light heavyweights in the UFC for several years now. He has some of the best striking attacks in the division and he’s also an excellent wrestler as well. Overall, Blachowicz is one of the best light heavyweights in the UFC. He is a fantastic fighter and he has been for many years now. However, he is going up against an incredible opponent here in Ankalaev, so it’s no surprise to see Blachowicz as the underdog here.
Fight Breakdown: I must go with Ankalaev to win the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. I feel like it’s difficult to bet against him considering he has won his last nine fights in the UFC and could be unbeaten had he not tapped out at the last second against Paul Craig. Overall, he has just been on the warpath as of late and he’s only 30, so he should have many more years at the top of the light-heavyweight food chain. Blachowicz is a former champion and he has had some amazing fights in the UFC over the years. But at age 39, he’s past his prime now and is fighting one of the best opponents in the weight class. Blachowicz has a puncher’s chance, but otherwise, I expect Ankalaev to pick him apart on the feet from the outside and win either a decision or get a late TKO.
Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev