The last UFC card of the year takes place this weekend, and a last-minute main event shuffle could lead to an unexpected Christmas gift for the winner. UFC 282 features a tough fight between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev now for the light heavyweight title and Paddy Pimblet taking a huge step towards title contention at lightweight. The final major card of the year is right around the corner, and the Fighting Report is ready to tell you everything you need to know before UFC 282.
Where it is happening
UFC 282 is scheduled for action on Saturday, December 10, 10:00 PM EST. The event will be taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The main card will air as an ESPN+ pay-per-view, with preliminary bouts available to existing ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass subscribers.
Who is on the main card
|Light Heavyweight||Jan Błachowicz||vs.||Magomed Ankalaev|
|Lightweight||Paddy Pimblett||vs.||Jared Gordon|
|Welterweight||Alex Morono||vs.||Santiago Ponzinibbio|
|Middleweight||Darren Till||vs.||Dricus du Plessis|
|Featherweight||Bryce Mitchell||vs.||Ilia Topuria|
|Preliminary card (ESPN2 / ESPN+)|
|Heavyweight||Jairzinho Rozenstruik||vs.||Chris Daukaus|
|Bantamweight||Raul Rosas Jr.||vs.||Jay Perrin|
|Middleweight||Edmen Shahbazyan||vs.||Dalcha Lungiambula|
|Middleweight||Chris Curtis||vs.||Joaquin Buckley|
|Early preliminary card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)|
|Featherweight||Billy Quarantillo||vs.||Alexander Hernandez|
|Featherweight||T.J. Brown||vs.||Erik Silva|
|Flyweight||Vinicius Salvador||vs.||Daniel da Silva|
|Bantamweight||Cameron Saaiman||vs.||Steven Koslow|
What to expect on fight night
UFC 282 is headlined by a vacant light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. Irish sensation Paddy Pimblett is expected to be tested against Jared Gordon in a lightweight fight. Bryce Mitchell and Ilia Topura face off in a clash of unbeaten featherweights.
Jan Blachowicz, Magomed Ankalaev, and the Not Quite Paper Championship
UFC 282 was supposed to be headlined with the Jiri Prochazka vs. Glover Teixeira rematch, but Prochazka suffered a serious shoulder injury and Teixeira is adamant to get his rematch with the man who dethroned him. This elevated Blachowicz and Ankalaev to the main event and the vacant title to boot. It might have been sooner than later that the winner of this fight got a title shot anyway, and these two are so good that even the circumstances surrounding this title fight won’t diminish the eventual champion. Though Ankalaev is the odds-on favorite to win, Blachowicz spent the majority of his championship reign as an underdog to ironically lose his title in the lone fight he was favored to win (against Teixeira at UFC 267). This should be a good fight, but the winner will have the unfortunate duty of defending it against Prochazka when he returns.
Paddy Pimblett Heading For The Big Time
Liverpool’s Pimblett is a hot item for the UFC, serving as a fighter who can do huge business should the promotion seek to cross the Atlantic. Pimblett is doing his part to market himself as a premier fighter, even doing what most smart fighters in the UFC do to get clout and called out Jake Paul, and he keeps winning in the octagon. He’ll have the biggest test of his career at UFC 282 against Jared Gordon, a fighter who is just as well-rounded and dangerous as he is. “Paddy the Baddy” remains ranked outside the top 15 at lightweight, but like Sean O’Malley at featherweight, the demand for Pimblett could bypass some steps to get him in a major fight. Of course, it’s all for naught if he can’t get past Gordon. With a victory here, Pimblett will get a big fight in 2023.
Till, Ponzinibbio Looking To Get Back On Track
Once upon a time, Darren Till and Santiago Ponzinibbio looked like sure things. Time hasn’t been kind to either man, and they are on the verge of entering journeyman status should they take another decisive loss at UFC 282. Till moved up to middleweight to much fanfare, but has floundered with a split-decision win against Kelvin Gastelum followed by two conclusive defeats to Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. He’s gone 1-4 in his last five and is a considerable underdog against Dricus du Plessis. Ponzinibbio was on the verge of title contention before a staph injury kept him out of competition for almost three years, and he’s failed to recapture his winning form going 1-3 since coming back. Unlike Till, Ponzinibbio should have an easier time picking up a win against late substitute Alex Morono.
Mitchell and Topuria Risk Undefeated Records
One great thing about MMA, in general, is that a loss does not compromise a fighter, and that can produce great matches between prime performers. That is what we are expecting with Bryce Mitchell and Ilia Topuria facing off to kick off the UFC 282 main card as the unbeaten featherweights jockey for position to face the division’s elite. Both are coming off impressive wins and have a lot going for them, and while close to call, Topuria might be too strong up top for Mitchell to handle. Either way, both men should be commended for taking a risky fight.
New Look Shahbazyan Needs Consistency
Edmen Shahbazyan is one of the most disappointing prospects in recent memory, and he’s hoping to rewrite the narrative and break a three-fight skid in the process. Shahbazyan was rushed into a bout with prospect-killer Derek Brunson in 2020, took a lopsided loss, and followed that up with equally comprehensible losses to Jack Hermansson and Nassourdine Imavov. Now training out of the Xtreme Couture gym, Shahbazyan hopes to demonstrate a refined skill set and a strong performance against a stylistically perfect opponent for him in Dalcha Lungiambula. This could be a new beginning for the once-hot prospect, but a loss almost certainly results in the UFC letting him go.