Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jiri Prochazka surprised fans when he vacated the title due to a shoulder injury.
The UFC 282 main event was initially supposed to be Prochazka defending his championship against Glover Teixeira in their rematch. However, the severity of the injury forced the former champion to vacate the title so that he wouldn’t hold back the division.
The company also wanted to keep Teixeira in the main event to fight Ankalaev for the title. Teixeira declined the offer because he felt he needed more time to prepare for Ankalaev on short notice. The UFC decided to make Blachowicz and Ankalaev, who were already competing on the card, the main event for the title.
Blachowicz aims to become a two-time UFC Light Heavyweight Champion with a win this Saturday. He lost the title to Teixeira via submission at UFC 262 on Oct. 30, 2021. Since he lost the title, he bounced back with a win over Aleksandar Rakic by TKO at UFC Vegas 54 on May 14. A win over Ankalaev earns him the UFC Light Heavyweight title, but it could also help him get a second opportunity against Teixeira next year.
Ankalaev believes he will leave UFC 282 as the next light heavyweight champion. He is going into his fight against Blachowicz on a nine-fight win streak. Ankalaev also has wins over former light heavyweight title contenders Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Volkan Oezdemir. By defeating Blachowicz, Ankalaev will become the first fighter from Russia to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
The Rest of the Main Card of UFC 282
The co-main event will feature a matchup between international sensation Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon. Pimblett hopes to continue his rise in the UFC with an impressive win over Gordon. Although Pimblett is a slight betting favorite at -190, Gordon is not to be taken lightly.
Darren Till is set to make his long-awaited return to the UFC against Dricus Du Plessis. Ranked ninth in the middleweight rankings, Till hopes to keep his spot and get into the conversation as a possible title challenger. However, Plessis has momentum on his side with a five-fight winning streak.
UFC 282 will also have a featherweight showdown between undefeated fighters Ilia Topuria and Bryce Mitchell. Topuria and Mitchell are looking for a statement win this Saturday and make an argument to fight a top contender in their next fight.
Robbie Lawler vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio was scheduled to happen, but Lawler pulled out of the fight with an injury. Fight Bananas’ David Van Auken reported on Dec. 5 that Alex Morono would step in to fight Ponzinibbio in a catchweight bout at UFC 282. Other MMA outlets, including ourselves, later confirmed that the fight would happen on Saturday.
UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev Fight Card
(Final card & bout order subject to change)
- Main Card– Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: #2 Jan Blachowicz (29-9) vs. #3 Magomed Ankalaev (18-1)
- Co-Main Event– Lightweight Bout: Paddy Pimblett (19-3) vs. Jared Gordon (19-5)
- Catchweight Bout: Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-6) vs. Alex Morono (22-7)
- Middleweight Bout: #9 Darren Till (18-4-1) vs. #13 Dricus Du Plessis (17-2)
- Featherweight Bout: #9 Bryce Mitchell (15-0) vs. #14 Ilia Topuria (12-0)
- Heavyweight Bout: #9 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-4) vs. #11 Chris Daukaus (12-5)
- Bantamweight Bout: Raul Rosas Jr (6-0) vs. Jay Perrin (10-6)
- Middleweight Bout: Edmen Shahbazyan (11-3) vs. Dalcha Lungiambula (11-5)
- Middleweight Bout: #14 Chris Curtis (29-9) vs. Joaquin Buckley (15-5)
Early Preliminary Card
- Featherweight Bout: Billy Quarantillo (16-4) vs. Alexander Hernandez (13-5)
- Featherweight Bout: TJ Brown (16-9) vs. Erik Silva (9-1)
- Flyweight Bout: Vinicius Salvador (14-4) vs. Daniel Da Silva (11-4)
- Bantamweight Bout: Cameron Saaiman (6-0) vs. Steven Koslow (6-0)
When is UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev
UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev will take place on Dec. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main card will begin at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT. The main prelims will start at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, while the early prelims will begin at 5:30 PM ET/ 2:30 PM PT. While the UFC has advertised the time on their website, the bout order and time could still change.