UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev Preview & Best Bets

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December 8, 2022

A UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout headlines UFC 282 as No. 3 Jan Blachowicz faces No. 4 Magomed Ankalaev.

  • Date: Saturday, December 10, 2022 | Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
  • Venue: T-Mobile Arena – Paradise, Nevada | TV: PPV
The Gorilla Answers Stillknocks

Darren Till is far removed from his welterweight peak in 2018 when he lost to then-UFC Champion Tyron Woodley. The title fight loss began his current skid, dropping four of his previous five fights.

Till’s last three fights have been at middleweight, beating Kelvin Gastelum but losing to Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. Dricus du Plessis has only two losses in his 19-fight career, winning his last five. In the UFC, du Plessis has knocked out two of his past three opponents.

Traditionally, Till has enjoyed being the larger fighter, but he’ll give up an inch of height and 1.5 inches in reach. Stillknocks lands 4.29 more significant strikes per minute than Till and averages 1.2 knockdowns per 15 minutes to the Englishman’s 0.5.

Till has an impressive takedown defense rate of 78 percent, but du Plessis has a perfect 100 percent takedown defense rate and averages 0.7 more takedowns per 15 minutes. The South African is better statistically across the board and has momentum.

Du Plessis to win outright is the safest choice at -192, but if you’re feeling greedy, a bet to finish Till by KO or TKO is tempting at +190.

The Baddy Fast Enough For Flash?

Paddy Pimblett is one of a few fighters surrounded by hype who doesn’t shrink under the spotlight. However, he has also been relatively protected. Still, Pimblett has finished all three of his UFC opponents heading into this fight. Meanwhile, Jared Gordon has had a rollercoaster of a UFC career, winning seven and losing four.

The elephant in the room is not Pimblett. Instead, it’s the size advantage he’ll have in this lightweight bout. The Baddy is only an inch taller than Gordon but will have a five-inch reach advantage. Additionally, Pimblett is known for putting on a lot of weight between fights, while Gordon has fought at featherweight as recently as 2020.

Pimblett was a two-division champion in Cage Warriors but hasn’t fought at featherweight since 2017. The Flash has a few things playing in his favor. Gordon lands 5.53 significant strikes per minute to Pimblett’s 4.19 and only absorbs 0.11 more.

They average essentially the same amount of takedowns per 15 minutes, but Pimblett has a 4.69 submission average to Gordon’s zero. Pimblett will also enjoy a power advantage averaging 0.94 knockdowns per 15 minutes to Gordon’s zero. The American averages more fight time at 11:47 to Pimblett’s 5:20, developing a clear path to victory for both.

Gordon will want to keep the fight standing and take it to a decision but only maintains a slight statistical advantage on the feet. Pimblett should be comfortable for the long haul but has a much higher likelihood of finishing this fight. Pimblett has won two in a row by rear-naked choke, so let’s roll the dice on a third straight submission at +230.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Main Event
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev
  • Odds to Win: Blachowicz +250 | Ankalaev -340
  • How Will Fight End: KO/TKO -130 | Submission +650 | Decision +145
  • Will the fight go the distance? Yes +154 | No -205

Due to Jiri Prochazka being unable to defend his title against Glover Teixeira due to injury, Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev will now be for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Blachowicz has one of the more interesting UFC career trajectories. In Blachowicz’s first six bouts, he only had two wins. He followed that up by winning ten of twelve fights, including the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Blachowicz lost that championship two fights ago against Glover Teixeira but rebounded with a TKO win over Aleksandar Rakic.

On the other side of the cage, Ankalaev has run through nine straight UFC fighters after debuting with a submission loss to Paul Craig (the only blemish on his record). Ankalaev is a dangerous striker, knocking out five of his last nine opponents (three with kicks).

Blachowicz gives up an inch of height but has a three-inch reach advantage. Still, Ankalaev will have two inches of extra leg reach. Ankalaev lands slightly more significant strikes per minute at 3.64 to Blachowicz’s 3.55 and absorbs 0.63 fewer. The Russian should also have more power, averaging 0.81 knockdowns per 15 minutes to the Pole’s 0.41.

The grappling is pretty even, but Ankalaev has a much better takedown defense rate at 86 percent compared to 66. Ankalaev is a heavy favorite at -340 outright, but with Blachowicz being a tough out, a decision victory is more attractive at +240.

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev Betting Card
  • du Plessis to win (-192)
  • Pimblett by submission (+230)
  • Ankalaev by decision (+240)
Thumbnail photo via Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

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