UFC 282 Main Event First Look: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev Preview, Odds, and Picks

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On December 10, 2022, the vacated UFC light heavyweight championship will be up for grabs in front of a packed-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jiri Prochazka sustained a severe injury, which resulted in him relinquishing the belt, thus leading to the creation of Jan Blachowicz versus Magomed Ankalaev for the newly instated main event of UFC 282 with the coveted 205lb strap on the line.

Read on for our complete first-look betting preview of the UFC 282 pay-per-view main event between Blachowicz and Ankalaev, including the most up-to-date UFC odds and our free expert betting picks, predictions, and analysis.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev

UFC 282 Light Heavyweight Championship Main Event Bout

Saturday, December 10, 2022 – 09:05 PM EST at T-Mobile Arena

Jan Blachowicz

  • Pro MMA Record: 29-9-0 (9 KOs, 9 submissions, 11 decisions)
  • UFC Record: 12-6 (4 KOs, 6 submissions, 6 decisions)

Before Alex Pereira, there was Jan Blachowicz and his “Polish Power”. The former UFC light heavyweight champion couldn’t retain his championship against the veteran Glover Teixeira, but he notably became the fighter to hand Israel Adesanya his first professional MMA loss.

Blachowicz was never touted as a future champion. Still, since 2017 he’s amassed a 10-2 record, with six of those bouts being stopped inside the distance against household names such as Rakic, Rockhold, Adesanya, Anderson, Reyes, Cannonier, and Krylov.

However, these skills weren’t obtained overnight. Born and raised in Cieszyn, Poland, Blackowicz obtained a diverse skillset through European Muay Thai and BJJ competitions. His venture in MMA started with an unstoppable run as he boasted a 17-3 record before signing with the UFC. A less-than-desirable start under Dana White and the UFC saw him begin with a 2-4 record, but the aforementioned run starting in 2017 has taken him to the pinnacle of the sport.

Another Shot at Gold

When Blachowicz surrendered the light heavyweight title to a Glover Teixeira rear-naked choke at UFC 267, we wouldn’t see the Polish native for another eight months.

Upon his return, success over Aleksandar Rakic shot him straight back into the title picture. So, with the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the original UFC 282 main event between Jiri Prochazka and Teixeira, “Polish Power” has his opportunity to become a two-time champion.

Jan Blachowicz Combat Sports Accomplishments

  • UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (One time, one defense)
  • UFC Fight of the Night (One time)
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Five times)
  • KSW Light Heavyweight Champion (One time, two defenses)
  • Former European Muay Thai Champion
  • Former Polish BJJ Champion

Jan Blachowicz Available Odds: (+215) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Magomed Ankalaev

  • Pro MMA Record: 17-1-0 (9 KOs, 1 submission, 8 decisions)

It was argued that Dagestani native Magomed Ankalaev should have been the rightful title contender over Teixeira or even Prochazka when he won the belt. And there isn’t much room to argue this stance because the Russian brute now owns the longest active win streak in light heavyweight history (9) without receiving the opportunity to compete for the belt.

Ankalaev is a decorated mixed martial artist behind International Master of Sport and Master of Sport in Combat Sambo achievements. As a practitioner of Greco-Roman wrestling, his transition to full-time MMA in 2013 was effortless with such a solid grappling base.

Ignore the Paul Craig Loss

To completely understand the elite skillset of Ankalaev, you should simply load up a highlight reel or watch his past fights on UFC Fight Pass. Words cannot describe the fluidity, fight IQ, and all-around elite toolbox of MMA skills that he owns, and for some time, many believe he’s destined to lift the 205lb gold.

The Russian standout has one loss on his MMA record, which was unfortunate, to say the least. With seconds remaining and after dominating all three rounds, a decision victory was stolen from Ankalaev as Paul Craig submitted him in his UFC debut.

However, Ankalaev has since stormed through the competition with a nine-fight win streak, as he’s already broken records before receiving a title opportunity. This will change on Saturday, and the bookmakers’ odds reflect his chance of becoming the new light heavyweight champion.

Magomed Ankalaev Combat Sports Accomplishments

  • UFC Performance of the Night (Three times)
  • Second longest win streak in UFC Light Heavyweight history (9)
  • WFCA Light Heavyweight Champion (One time)
  • World Amateur MMA Champion

Magomed Ankalaev Available Odds: (-250) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev Breakdown & Analysis

Blachowicz Fight Style: How Can Blachowicz Defeat Ankalaev?

The styles of Blachowicz and Ankalaev aren’t too dissimilar, but we must recognize the speed disadvantage that Blachowicz will likely give up. “Polish Power” will undoubtedly favor the former champ, but connecting a clean knockout-worthy punch could prove difficult against a defensively sound fighter like Ankalaev.

Blachowicz has found much success in his grappling offense, but there are levels he can’t reach, and we believe that Ankalaev won’t surrender to any grappling or clinch work the Polish fighter may attempt.

Chopping Muay Thai kicks to the leg could be a potential game plan for Blachowicz; this could slow down and restrict the movement of Ankalaev. But as previously mentioned, he’ll enter the cage with a grappling and speed disadvantage which doesn’t bode well for his chance of success.

Ankalaev Fight Style: How Can Ankalaev Defeat Blachowicz?

The offensive striking and grappling of Ankalaev are championship-worthy. He’s rarely faltered in the UFC octagon, with three consecutive wins over former title contenders Volkan Oezdemir, Thiago Santos, and Anthony Smith.

While he has the option to test his striking against Blachowicz and potentially match the Pole, having said this, his awareness of when the takedowns are available could be an easy path to victory. His overall technical approach in the cage is flawless, with the ability to strike from both stances behind notable defensive head movement and footwork. Still, we should expect him to utilize the elite grappling he owns.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev Prediction and Betting Pick

The available UFC odds favor Ankalaev in becoming the newly crowned light heavyweight champion.

Priced at -250, the Ankalaev moneyline isn’t the most desirable set of odds, but I believe they’re justified. 2.5 units is right around the limit I’d be willing to place on a fight if the fighter deserves such a price. And in this instance, I expect Ankalaev to have a significant advantage, so we will take the best-priced odds available at Bovada.

UFC Pick: Ankalaev to Win (-250) at Bovada

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Ankalaev to Win (-250)
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UFC 282 Main Card and Odds

UFC 282 Preliminary Card and Odds

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.