Check out UFC 282 tips and previews for all five main card fights in Las Vegas, including the main event between light heavyweight stars Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev.
UFC 282 Tips – Jan Blachowicz V Magomed Ankalaev
- Blachowicz – 29-9 (9 wins by KO/TKO)
- Ankalaev – 18-1 (10 wins by KO/TKO)
- Blachowicz def Aleksandar Rakic – Rd 3 TKO – UFC on ESPN, May 2022
- Ankalaev def Anthony Smith – Rd 2 TKO – UFC 277, July 2022
Analysis: This showdown was initially scheduled to determine the next challenger for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. But after Jiri Prochazka suffered and injury, pulled out of his title bout with Glover Teixeira and vacated the title – and then Teixeira refused a fight with Magomed Ankalaev – the clash between fourth-ranked Ankalaev and third-ranked Blachowicz will now be for the vacant title.
The 18-1 Ankalaev is a hot favourite $1.33 to have the belt wrapped around his waist at the end of UFC 282. His only loss came on UFC debut in 2018 and he’s carved out a division-high nine straight victories since (five by KO/TKO). After winning a unanimous decision over Thiago Santos in March, he stopped Anthony Smith TKO in the second round of their UFC 277 bout in July.
Polish 39-year-old Blachowicz is looking to reclaim the title he won after defeating Dominick Reyes TKO in 2020. He defended it once – against the previously undefeated Israel Adesanya, who was coming up in weight – before losing the belt to Texeira by submission in October last year. The veteran has fought once since, taking a third-round TKO win over Aleksandar Rakic, who suffered a knee injury.
Blachowicz may look to take the same strategy into this fight as he did against elite striker Adesanya – but powerhouse grappler Ankalaev presents just as big threat on the ground as he does throwing bombs. Ankalaev has proven himself against seasoned fighters and taking down Blachowicz for the title seems a natural progression for the 30-year-old, though it won’t be simple in what shapes as an absorbing duel.
Tip: Method of Victory – Ankalaev by KO/TKO @ $2.30
UFC 282 Tips – Paddy Pimblett V Jared Gordon
- Pimblett – 19-3 (6 wins by KO/TKO)
- Gordon – 19-5 (6 wins by KO/TKO)
- Pimblett def Jordan Leavitt – Rd 2 submission – UFC Fight Night, July 2022
- Gordon def Leonardo Santos – Unanimous decision – UFC 278, August 2022
Analysis: British sensation Paddy Pimblett is a $1.40 favourite to notch his sixth straight MMA win – and his fourth in just 15 months since coming into the UFC fold. Next in the firing line is experienced New Yorker Jared Gordon, who has been toiling in the UFC’s lightweight and featherweight divisions since 2017.
The flamboyant Pimblett has picked up three straight Fight of the Night nods for his victories over Luigi Vendramini (Rd 1 KO), Rodrigo Vargas (Rd 1 submission) and Jordan Leavitt (Rd 2 submission). But Gordon shapes as his toughest test yet. The 34-year-old has won four of his last five, bouncing back from a submission loss to Grant Dawson in April with a unanimous decision against Leonardo Santos in April.
Gordon is a tough, well-rounded fighter with staying power – and well-equipped to combat the wrecking ball of energy that is ‘The Baddy’.
Pimblett needs this win over a quality opponent to back up the hype. His superior jiu-jitsu ability and submission threat give him an edge…but this is going to be a tougher ask than the market may indicate.
Tip: Method of Victory – Pimblett by Submission or on Points @ $1.81
UFC 282 Tips – Alex Morono V Santiago Ponzinibbio
- Morono – 22-7 (1) (6 wins by KO/TKO)
- Ponzinibbio – 28-6 (15 wins by KO/TKO)
- Morono def Matthew Semelsberger – Unanimous decision – UFC 277, July 2022
- Ponzinibbio def by Michel Pereira – Split decision – UFC Fight Night, May 2022
Analysis: Originally scheduled to fight former UFC champ Robbie Lawler, Santiago Ponzinibbio will get a chance to impress against late replacement Alex Morono at a catchweight of 180lbs.
Ponzinibbio is searching for a change of fortune after a pair of tight split decision defeats, to Geoff Neal last December and to Michel Pereira in a Fight of the Night barnburner in May. It’s been a series of bitter pills to swallow for ‘The Argentine Dagger’ who once seemed on the cusp of welterweight title shot.
He may have unwittingly ended up with a tougher fight after Lawler’s withdrawal. Morono has been under the UFC banner since early-2016. The 32-year-old’s current four-fight winning streak was achieved in just 14 months, stopping Donald Cerrone by first-round TKO before collecting unanimous decisions over David Zawada, Mickey Gall and Matthew Semelsberger – the latter in July at UFC 277.
This is a tough one to pick, given Ponzinibbio has had a full training camp and Morono comes in at short notice, negating the catchweight advantage. Both are desperate for the W – for different reasons – but if he can keep his questionable chin out of harm’s way, Ponzibbio looks to be in a good position to prevail.
Tip: Will the fight go the distance? – Yes @ $1.73
UFC 282 Tips – Darren Till V Dricus du Plessis
- Till – 18-4 (10 wins by KO/TKO)
- du Plessis – 17-2 (7 wins by KO/TKO)
- Till def by Derek Bunson – Rd 3 submission – UFC Fight Night, September 2021
- du Plessis def Brad Tavares – Unanimous decision – UFC 276, July 2022
Analysis: Darren Till looks to get back on track after losing four of his last five fights. The 29-year-old’s run of outs has included bouts with high-profile opposition, losing a UFC Welterweight Championship challenge against Tyron Woodley in 2018 before getting knocked out by Jorge Masvidal. After beating Kelvin Gastelum in his middleweight return, Till went down to Robert Whittaker (decision) in 2020 and Derek Brunson (submission) 15 months ago. He’s ranked 10th in the middleweight division.
South African Dricus du Plessis, ranked 14th, only landed in the UFC two years ago but has made an impression in three fights under the banner. The 28-year-old chalked up early knockouts against Markus Perez and Trevin Giles, before July’s unanimous decision over Brad Tavares.
A warm favourite to continue on his upward trajectory, du Plessis is an aggressive wild man in the octagon with greater striking ability than Till. Till’s lightning left hand is still a dangerous weapon, but the Englishman is at the last-chance saloon as far as working towards another title shot goes. Ring rust also shapes as factor for Till up against an absolute brute who has made regular, super-impressive appearances over the past couple of years.
Tip: Method of Victory – du Plessis by KO/TKO @ $2.90
UFC 282 Tips – Bryce Mitchell V Ilia Topuria
- Mitchell – 15-0 (0 wins by KO/TKO)
- Topuria – 12-0 (4 wins by KO/TKO)
- Mitchell def Edson Barboza – Unanimous Decision – UFC 272, March 2022
- Topuria def Jai Herbert – Rd 1 KO – UFC Fight Night, March 2022
Analysis: The main card gets underway with a mouth-watering featherweight showdown between two undefeated tyros.
Bryce Mitchell is 15-0, winning all five fights since joining the UFC in 2019. ‘Thug Nasty’ returned from a 16-month hiatus from the octagon in March and accounted for Edson Barboza by unanimous decision. Yet to finish a fight by KO/TKO, Mitchell has chalked up nine submission wins in his career.
The 12-0 Topuria is something of a submission specialist, too, forcing seven opponents to tap out. But since landing in the UFC in late-2020 he has been KO’ing his way through the ranks. The 25-year-old, Germany-born Georgian punched out Damon Jackson and Ryan Hall in the first round, before knocking out Jai Herbert with second-round barrage of punches on lightweight debut in March.
There’s plenty on the line here with Topuria looking to snatch Mitchell’s No.9 ranking in the UFC Featherweight division. Mitchell will look to suffocate his younger opponent and engage him in chain wrestling against the fence.
Topuria has proven himself a multi-faceted fighter – a tremendous grappler capable of battering adversaries into oblivion. He’s edged into favouritism despite Mitchell’s reputation and looks the goods to come up with a stepping-stone win.