UFC 282 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Błachowicz vs. Ankalaev
Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev headline UFC 282 with a career-altering opportunity to grab the now-vacant light heavyweight championship in the main event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
For Błachowicz, it's an opportunity to become a two-time champion. The Polish power puncher lost his belt to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 but, through a series of events, gets the chance to make things right and take back the belt.
Ankalaev has yet to fight on a stage this big, but all indications are that he's ready for the challenge.
Jiří Procházka was the light heavyweight champion, but a serious shoulder injury forced him to vacate the title. It also scrapped a rematch between Procházka and Teixeira.
Now, we'll get to see a grizzled veteran in Błachowicz and a rising star in Ankalaev vie for the open belt.
The card also features a big opportunity for Paddy Pimblett and a battle of unbeaten featherweights. Here's a look at the complete offering with the latest odds and the biggest questions that will dictate the biggest bouts.
UFC 282 Fight Card, Schedule and Odds
Main Card (ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ET)
- Jan Błachowicz (+280; bet $100 to win $280) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (-340; bet $340 to win $100) for vacant light heavyweight title
- Jared Gordon (+210) vs. Paddy Pimblett (-250)
- Alex Morono (+145) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (-170)
- Dricus Du Plessis (-175) vs. Darren Till (+150)
- Bryce Mitchell (+120) vs. Ilia Topuria (-140)
Prelims (ESPN2/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)
- Jay Perrin (+200) vs. Raul Rosas Jr. (-240)
- Chris Daukaus (+150) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-175)
- Dalcha Lungiambula (+245) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (-295)
- Joaquin Buckley (-170) vs. Chris Curtis (+145)
Early Prelims (ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET)
- Alexander Hernandez (+145) vs. Billy Quarantillo (-170)
- TJ Brown (-110) vs. Erik Silva (-110)
- Steven Koslow (+280) vs. Cameron Saaiman (-340)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Can Błachowicz Spring Another Upset?
Jan Błachowicz seems to be at his best when the odds are perceived to be against him.
The last time the 39-year-old had an opportunity to fight for a vacated belt, he was an underdog against a younger, more-hyped Dominick Reyes. The same could be said when he defended his belt against middleweight superstar Israel Adesanya.
Both times, Błachowicz's raw power and strength were undervalued tools that helped him pull off the upset.
He's once again considered an underdog against Magomed Ankalaev. This title shot might be coming a little sooner than anticipated, but Ankalaev's shot at UFC gold has felt inevitable.
Ankalaev is a good striker with the wrestling chops to take the fight there if he needs to. That's where he's different than Reyes. His pressure wrestling is an element that he didn't have and he's a much bigger and stronger fighter than Adesanya.
That being said, Błachowicz is still a wily veteran with one-punch power that can change any fight.
If Ankalaev affords him any breathing room, we could be in for a surprise. That being said, we haven't seen Ankalaev get tagged enough to believe that's what's going to happen.
Prediction: Ankalaev via fourth-round TKO
Can Pimblett Continue to Build the Hype?
On a card that lacks the star power of some of the bigger pay-per-view cards, Paddy Pimblett has an opportunity to make a statement.
As the co-headliner on a PPV, the stage has never been bigger for the Brit. He has yet to even fight on a pay-per-view to this point, but his three finishes in three UFC fights along with a bold personality have set him up with the opportunity.
The opponent gives him a chance to show off his skills too. Jared Gordon is a solid veteran, but he isn't one who's going to give Pimblett problems in a firefight.
Gordon is 7-4 in the UFC. All four of those losses have come by either submission or knockout, yet six of his seven wins have come by way of decision.
In other words, if Pimblett comes out aggressively and looks for the early finish, there's a good chance he's going to get it. Gordon is much better in a slower-paced fight when his grit and tenacity can play into his favor.
That's not the kind of bout Pimblett is going to get into, though. As long as he is ready for the spotlight, he should be able to get after Gordon early and either finish him with strikes or a choke en route to a profile-building win.
Prediction: Pimblett via first-round TKO
Is Bryce Mitchell or Ilia Topuria Ready for Top Five?
The UFC's featherweight division is among the deepest weight classes in the organization. It's tough for anyone to break out when you have fighters like Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway at the top.
However, a new generation of contenders will inevitably rise to the top. Arnold Allen is already proving to be one of them.
Both Bryce Mitchell and Ilia Topuria appear to have the tools to put themselves in that conversation. Both are undefeated and both are really good at what they do.
For Mitchell, that means a relentless pressure wrestling game with the added dimension of submissions. For Topuria, it's a strong boxing game with the punching power to stop opponents in their track.
Both are on the outside of the Top Five looking in at the UFC rankings. However, the winner of their main card bout at UFC 282 is going to have a good case to get a Top Five opponent next time out.
It's a tight matchup as the odds would indicate, but Mitchell's grappling has the chance to leave Topuria with few opportunities to let his fists fly.
Prediction: Mitchell via decision
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