The main event of UFC 282 will feature a light heavyweight fight between Jan Blachowicz (29-9 MMA, 12-6 UFC) and Magomed Ankalaev (18-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC).
UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev airs live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday, December 10th. The main card will start with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 a.m. PT, with the ESPN2/ESPN+ prelims beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and the early prelims kicking off at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Blachowicz: 39 years old | 6’2” | 78” reach
Ankalaev: 30 years old | 6’3” | 75” reach
What have these two done recently?
Blachowicz: W - Aleksandar Rakić (TKO) | L - Glover Teixeira (SUB) | W - Israel Adesanya (DEC)
Ankalaev: W - Anthony Smith (TKO) | W - Thiago Santos (DEC) | W - Volkan Oezdemir (DEC)
How did these two get here?
The UFC light heavyweight division was flipped on its head after ex-champion Jiří Procházka suffered a serious shoulder injury recently. ‘Denisa’ required surgery, and since it would sideline him for six months to a year, he opted to relinquish the title before his first defense against Glover Teixeira. The UFC offered Teixeira a replacement, but he turned it down, so the promotion moved forward with the next option.
Enter Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. When Procházka vs. Teixeira II was canceled, Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev was promoted from co-headliner to headliner — and the now-vacant UFC light heavyweight championship was on the line.
This is the second championship opportunity for Blachowicz, who reigned for a brief period between 2020 and 2021. The Polish fighter successfully defended against Israel Adesanya at UFC 259, but lost the title to the aforementioned Teixeira at UFC 267. He returned to the win column with a third-round TKO over Aleksandar Rakić.
Since losing his UFC debut to Paul Craig, Ankalaev has rattled off nine consecutive wins. The Dagestani fighter emerged as a potential contender after he added former title challenges such as Volkan Oezdemir, Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith to his resume. And now, he has a former champion in front of him at UFC 282 on Saturday.
Why should you care?
A champion gets crowned! Is Blachowicz going to reign again? Or is Ankalaev the beginning of something new?