The MMA leader will close out its pay-per-view account for 2022 on Saturday, and in the process, it’ll crown a new king at 205 pounds. While that was initially only a possibility, with Glover Teixeira planning to recapture the belt in a rematch against Jiri Procházka, both men now find themselves off the card.
After a severe shoulder injury forced “Denisa” out of the event and saw him vacate the title, Teixeira’s decision not to face Ankalaev, and the UFC’s insistence on having the Russian fight for the strap, left the Brazilian out in the cold for now.
With that, Blachowicz and Ankalaev’s clash has developed from a co-main event title eliminator to a headlining championship showdown.
As with most main events of this magnitude and that features two powerful fighters, predictions have been somewhat mixed heading into UFC 282. While some have favored the fight IQ and veteran status of the former champion to shine through, others expect the rising Dagestani to complete his journey to the top in Las Vegas.
The latest to give their take is former long-reigning 185-pound titleholder Adesanya, who’s putting his metaphorical money on a man he’s certainly familiar with.
Adesanya Backs Former Opponent Blachowicz For Two-Time Champ Status
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Adesanya provided his analysis and predictions for some of the more notable fights set to go down inside the T-Mobile Arena on December 10.
In regards to the main event, “The Last Stylebender” suggested that an edge in experience may prove to be crucial in Blachowicz securing a second reign on the light heavyweight throne.
“Jan Blachowicz versus Ankalaev. I’m gonna go Jan in this fight,” Adesanya said. “I think the experience from Jan might help carry over this one. But homeboy (Ankalaev) looks like a beast. These guys… you push them, there’s a limit. Everyone has a limit. If you push them far enough, they Break.”
While he’s well placed to provide a prediction given his fighting success anyway, Adesanya also has the benefit in this instance of having fought one of the UFC 282 headliners.
At UFC 259, the Nigerian-New Zealander challenged then-champion Blachowicz for the 205-pound title in pursuit of champ-champ status. Adesanya ultimately fell short, with the Pole utilizing his strength, size advantage, and wrestling game to outpoint “The Last Stylebender.”
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 282, Jan Blachowicz or Magomed Ankalaev?
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