Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev battle to split draw at UFC 282
LAS VEGAS — The UFC lost light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka to injury in November. UFC 282 was supposed to crown its successor. Unfortunately, it is not the case.
Former champ Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) and Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) battled to a five-round draw in Saturday’s UFC main event inside the T-Mobile Arena. Judge Mike Bell scored the fight 48-47 for Blachowicz, while judge Derek Cleary made it 48-46 for Ankalaev. A third judge, Sal D’Amato, scored 47-47, resulting in a draw.
Immediately after the fight, Blachowicz appeared to raise Ankalaev’s hand as if conceding defeat. In fact, Ankalaev would have lost the fight if not for a dominant fifth round. Cleary and D’Amato scored the final round 10-8 for Ankalaev. If they hadn’t, Ankalaev would have lost a split decision.
“I have to watch the fight, but for sure I didn’t win,” Blachowicz said. “I don’t know if I lost the fight, but I’m not the winner.”
Ankalaev of Dagestan, who was heavily favored, said emphatically that he felt he had won.
“I know what to say,” Ankalaev said through an interpreter. “I won this fight. Why didn’t I get my belt? I do not know what to say.
With the light heavyweight title still vacant after the draw, UFC President Dana White announced at the post-fight press conference that former champion Glover Teixeira will face Jamahal Hill for the title. belt at UFC 283 next month. Teixeira watched the title fight from the front row on Saturday.
Prochazka (29-3-1), 30, is out indefinitely with a serious shoulder injury, which he suffered last month. He voluntarily gave up the belt in order to allow the division to move forward. He is expected to be out at least until mid-2023.
The title fight was defined by a major momentum around the fourth round. Blachowicz had badly injured Ankalaev’s right leg with kicks in the second round, forcing Ankalaev to abandon his natural southpaw stance and fight mostly orthodox. Blachowicz continued to successfully spice up Ankalaev’s legs.
In the fourth round, however, Ankalaev turned almost exclusively to a wrestling-based strategy. He shot Blachowicz in the hips and held him against the fence. Eventually, Blachowicz looked tired of the grappling and spent much of the last two rounds on his back. Again, the fifth round was particularly dominant for Ankalaev.
According to UFC stats, Ankalaev edged Blachowicz 182-79 in total strikes. He also racked up more than 11 minutes of control time, compared to zero for Blachowicz. Ankalaev only managed two of 10 takedown attempts; Blachowicz didn’t attempt a single takedown.
The draw snapped a nine-game winning streak for Ankalaev. Blachowicz surrendered the title to Teixeira in a submission loss in 2021 but bounced back with a TKO win over Aleksandar Rakic in May.