Saturday’s main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas features a title fight that wasn’t even supposed to happen.
In mid-November, light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka suffered a significant shoulder injury and was forced to pull out of his UFC 282 headliner versus Glover Teixeira. Then, facing a long recovery, Prochazka vacated his belt in order to not hold up the division. Teixeira declined an opportunity to fight someone else for the title, so the UFC elevated the fight between former champion Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev to the main event and put the vacated belt on the line.
Blachowicz is ranked No. 2 and Ankalaev No. 3 in the UFC’s current light heavyweight rankings. Ankalaev is 18-1 overall and has won nine in a row in the UFC since his only career defeat, a triangle choke submission loss to Paul Craig on March 17, 2018, in London in his UFC debut.
Blachowicz is the former UFC champion who lost his belt to Teixeira on Oct. 30, 2021. He returned to win one fight, defeating Aleksandar Rakic via TKO on May 14 in Las Vegas. Rakic suffered a knee injury which forced the end of that bout.
The new co-main event at UFC 282 is a lightweight scrap between rising prospect Paddy Pimblett (19-3) and Jared Gordon (19-5). Both are elite finishers, and in 27 combined fights, they have 20 finishes. Mitchell is 15-0 with nine of his wins coming by submission, though only one of his six UFC wins was by submission. That, though, was a memorable one, a victory via twister over Matt Sayles in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7, 2019.
Topuria is 12-0 with 11 finishes, including three wins by KO in his four UFC bouts. Topuria is a slight favorite at BetMGM, coming in at -140 with Mitchell at +115 on the buyback.
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole will be cageside for the event so follow our live tracker below for all the news and results from the card.
UFC 282 live results, highlights, analysis
UFC 282 main card, odds (Start time 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+ PPV)
Light heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz (+260) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (-350)
Lightweight: Paddy Pimblett (-275) vs. Jared Gordon (+210)
Catchweight (180 lbs): Alex Morono (+150) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (-185)
Middleweight: Dricus du Plessis (-190) vs. Darren Till (+155)
Featherweight: Bryce Mitchell (+120) vs. Ilia Topuria (-145)
UFC 282 prelim card, odds (Start time 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN+)
Bantamweight: Raul Rosas Jr. (-250) vs. Jay Perrin (+195)
Heavyweight: Chris Daukaus (+145) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-175)
Middleweight: Dalcha Lungiambula (+240) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (-300)
Middleweight: Joaquin Buckley (-165) vs. Chris Curtis (+135)
UFC 282 early prelim card, odds (Start time 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
Featherweight: Alexander Hernandez (+140) vs. Billy Quarantillo (-165)
Featherweight: T.J. Brown (-105) vs. Erik Silva (-115)
Bantamweight: Steven Koslow (+260) vs. Cameron Saaiman (-350)