The main event of UFC 282 sees a battle for the newly-vacated UFC light heavyweight title, as a former champion faces off against a dangerous new contender for the crown.
Poland’s Jan Blachowicz captured the vacant title with victory over Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 in September 2020, then defended it by becoming the first man to defeat then-middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who had moved up a division to challenge for the belt.
Blachowicz then lost out to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 in October 2021 as his title reign came to a close. Now, following an injury TKO win over fellow European contender Aleksandar Rakic, Blachowicz is back, and gunning for the belt once again.
Following champion Jiri Prochazka’s reign-ending shoulder injury, the belt was vacated, and after slated challenger Teixeira turned down a December date with Russian contender Magomed Ankalaev, Blachowicz was handed a golden opportunity. Now he’ll look to showcase his “Legendary Polish Power” against Ankalaev in the main event of UFC 282, with the 205-pound title up for grabs once more.
For Ankalaev, it’s a first shot at championship gold in the UFC after the Russian built an impressive run of wins to propel himself into title contention.
Since a last-second submission defeat to Paul Craig on his Octagon debut back in 2018, Ankalaev has been perfect inside the Octagon, reeling off nine straight victories, with his most recent three – against Volkan Oezdemir, Thiago Santos, and Anthony Smith – all coming against former title challengers.
With his credentials proved, Ankalaev now has his chance to challenge for the title, and will face former champ Blachowicz for the vacant strap on December 10 in Las Vegas.
Ahead of the bout, the UFC’s Countdown cameras caught up with both fighters, and their teams, as they made their final preparations for their Las Vegas showdown. Check it out via the video player below.