UFC 282: Błachowicz vs. Ankalaev
Around the corner, at UFC 282 we will witness a title bout of epic proportions between light-heavyweights, Jan Błachowicz Vs. Magomed Ankalaev. The event will also feature superstar Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett Vs. Veteran Jared “Flash” Gordon. “The Gorilla”, Darren Till will also make a long-awaited comeback, facing Dricus “StillKnocks” Du Plessis for an extremely competitive middleweight MMA bout. Up-and-coming star, Joaquin Buckley, will also make an appearance against Chris Curtis for a sleeper fight in the Preliminaries.
Jan Błachowicz Vs. Magomed Ankalaev
The Samurai Sets Down The Belt
To fully understand the story of this fight, one must understand the circumstances in which it became a title fight. The Light-Heavyweight Division of the UFC had determined Jiří Procházka as their undisputed Champion.
The battle that took place at UFC 275 between Jiri and Glover Teixeira is considered one of the best fights of the year. But Procházka stood tall at the end of that 5-round war, for the title.
Despite the win, the match-up between Glover and Jiri was not conclusive. Hence a rematch was set for UFC 282 with top contenders Jan Błachowicz Vs. Magomed Ankalaev as the co-main event.
A little over 2 weeks ago Jiří Procházka released a video on his Twitter account.
With this tweet, Jiří Procházka respectfully returned his belt to the UFC and apologized for stalling the division, stating he would return and fight for his belt when he does.
Jan’s Christmas Surprise
Meanwhile, Jan Błachowicz set out from Poland and flew to Las Vegas. His phone was off the entire time he was on the flight. But when he arrived in Vegas and turned his phone on. He found himself in a title fight for the second time, and this time against Magomed Ankalaev.
Jan originally won the belt from Dominick Reyes and has successfully defended it against Israel Adesanya in 2021. The last time Jan fought with the belt was against Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 in 2021. Jan lost the belt to Glover Teixeira, who lost it to Jiří Procházka. Jiri now has what is being called the worst shoulder injury in UFC History. Dana Whites words not mine.
“I never use Wi-Fi when I’m on the plane. It’s like therapy for me: I forget about everything that’s happening on the ground. I just enjoy the flight, play some games and stop thinking about the world.”
“I knew something big had happened when I turned it on because this is very unusual, but I didn’t know what it was. After 10 hours in the air, I was tired, sleepy, just not totally into it…”
“And she said to me, ‘Congratulations, you have a title shot,'” Jan said, chuckling. “I’m like, ‘What?’ She explained it to me and I was very excited. That was like the best news to wake up to.”
Ankalaev, The Favorite
On the other hand, Magomed Ankalaev has long awaited this opportunity to fight for the title. Coming off of a nine-fight win streak, Ankalaev is the betting favorite for Błachowicz vs. Ankalaev. With the legendary combat sambo star status from Dagestan, Magomed will prove to be a serious challenge for ex-light-heavyweight champion Jan Błachowicz.
“I can’t say anything bad about Błachowicz as an opponent,” Ankalaev said. “He’s a great fighter. He’s a great guy. But the thing is, this fight is my dream. This is my opportunity. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure I come out of that octagon with the title.”
“I’m here – I’m not trying to go anywhere,” Ankalaev said. “So once I get this title, I’m not trying to escape. I’m going to stand here and wait for anybody who is ready to fight. Anybody who wants to take that title off of my belt, I will make sure to fight as many times as I can.”
Paddy “The Baddy” Vs. “Flash” Gordon
Star UK prospect Paddy Pimblett has been extremely excited and confident for the lightweight co-main fight of UFC 282. Pimblett has shown himself to be an awkward, yet quirky fighter. Pimblett can handle himself on the mat, on his feet, with amazing striking, and has dance move celebrations, to back it up all up for the crowd.
His opponent Jared Gordan from Queens, New York is a very experienced fighter with 5 years in the UFC. At the age of 34, his professional record stands at 19 wins – 5 losses.
Joining back in 2017, Flash has losses to a few high-level UFC fighters like Charles Oliveira and Carlos Diego Ferreira. But that doesn’t discount his ability to persevere through such struggles as he has done for much of his life.
“The Gorilla” Darren Till Vs. Dricus Du Plessis
Darren “The Gorilla” Till went unbeaten in his first six UFC fights. Which led to a title shot against then-champion Tyron Woodley. He fell short in his pursuit of gold and went on to lose his next fight to Jorge Masvidal by knockout.
However with the weight cut to 170 being significantly taxing on the Scouser, Till moved up to middleweight, but he’s yet to find the same success in his new weight class.
Du Plessis Rising
His opponent Dricus Du Plessis is a rising name in the UFC with back-to-back wins. A very powerful kickboxer, Du Plessis resembles many of the fighters Till has had problems with in the past.
“I think he’s in his own head,” Du Plessis told reporters at a pre-fight news conference. “When he started out, he was extremely motivated, he was a force at 170, he was a big 170, he was imposing his style on people. Once you get to the big boys at middleweight, it’s a completely different story.”
Till has struggled since moving up to middleweight. The former title challenger at welterweight won his divisional debut against Kelvin Gastelum but then lost two straight to former champ Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson.
Based on his own experience of moving up from 170 pounds to 185, Du Plessis doesn’t think Till made the necessary changes to properly transition to the weight class above.
“I think he took the move up as almost an easier route and that’s not the case at all,” Du Plessis said. “We hit a little harder, everybody’s a little stronger at 185, and I believe that was where the big mistake came. Then, of course, Darren Till losing the big fight against Masvidal, getting back against Gastelum it was not an amazing performance but he got the W, and then getting those losses – definitely the mental aspect, that’s where his biggest downfall came and I don’t think he recovered from that. I think that’s where he’s his own worst enemy.”
Till, He Returns
Du Plessis had strong (yet polite) words for Darren during the media scrums, concerned that Till might drop out with another injury even if he’s coming into their fight in perfect health.
It’s a threat that Till is taking seriously, though he warns that if Du Plessis wants to escalate their war of words ahead of the fight, it won’t end well for the former KSW champion.
“That’s not trash talk,” Till said. “I’ve met these South Africans, they’ve never used profanity in their life, so they can’t trash talk me. He’s meant to say these things. I know he’s prepared and he’s a solid challenger, but we’ll see. We’ll see. If he wants to get into it though, I’ll ruin his life on social media. Don’t get that twisted.”
Chris Curtis Vs. Joaquin Buckley
Joaquin “New Mansa” Buckley will be fighting Chris “Action-Man” Curtis. Both are amazing strikers with a lot of knockout capacity and between the two, they have produced beautiful knockout reels. They are some of the most active fighters in the UFC with at least 5 fights each in two years. Buckley is considered to be the more athletic and explosive, while Curtis is considered to have more experience and durability.
This has all the makings of a superb sleeper fight. A variety of outcomes are possible here, Buckley could complete an early knockout or drain Curtis down in the first two rounds. On the other hand, Curtis has a steady pace and with his experience, he may last the three rounds more conclusively for the judges to make a decision.
RDX Sports is extremely excited about all the fights at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, United States on Saturday, the 10th of December, 2022. We are rooting for the best man to stand strong between our friend, Darren “The Gorilla” Till, and RDX Ex-Ambassador, Dricus “StillKnocks“ Du Plessis. UFC 282: Błachowicz vs. Ankalaev is set to be a stunning match up for the light-heavyweight Championship.