This past Saturday in the headliner of UFC 282, the vacant light heavyweight title was on the line. We were supposed to see either Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) or Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) walk out of the T-Mobile Arena with the title. However, that didn’t happen.
In the first three rounds, Jan Blachowicz had a brilliant game plan of working his powerful leg kicks. The kicks were doing so much damage that Ankalaev was having trouble putting weight on his leg and even nearly got taken off his feet multiple times.
The fight was originally scheduled for three rounds. If it went as scheduled, Blachowicz easily wins a decision. However, it got changed at the last minute to a title fight which made it five rounds. In those final two rounds, Ankalaev switched to his wrestling and dominated the fight.
It was a very close fight although not the most entertaining bout. When the cards were getting ready to be read, most assumed that Ankalaev was going to walk away with the UFC title. However, the fight ended in a split draw so neither man walked away with gold. The UFC pivoted to make Glover Teixeira – Jamahal Hill next month for the vacant title.
What’s next after UFC 282?
Immediately after the fight, there were calls for Ankalaev – Teixeira for the light heavyweight title. That’s honestly the direction I thought they’d go in. Just couldn’t see them running this fight back for the title. However, with Teixeira fighting Hill, these two are left without a direct path to the title.
I think the UFC should run this one back. Whether you make it a Fight Night main event or a three-round affair on a PPV card, this fight should happen again in the late spring/early summer. If Jiri Prochazka can come back by the end of the year, he will be next for the winner of Teixeira – Hill.
However, if Prochazka can’t come back until 2024, this would allow the winner of Blachowicz – Ankalaev 2 to slide into a title shot later in the year.