Former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz had an opportunity to recapture the 205-pound title at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. Standing in his way was 18-1 light heavyweight contender Magomed Ankalaev. Originally scheduled to be the co-main event feature, a twist of fate provided Blachowicz and Ankalaev the opportunity to capture gold in the UFC 282 main event.
Both fighters came out hesitant in the opening round, sizing up one another and gauging interest. Blachowicz effectively landed a series of calf kicks while Ankalaev targeted the body with front kicks. Both fighters came out for the second round slinging heavy leather and trading kicks. 90 seconds left in the second, Blachowicz lands a heavy leg kick that knocks Ankalaev off balance, forcing him to switch stances. Blachowicz continues working the calf as Ankalaev clinches up to avoid further damage.
Halfway through the third, Jan Blachowicz lands back-to-back calf kicks that clearly compromise Ankalaev further. From that point, the Russian began putting on pressure and landed a takedown as the third came to a close. With his legs severely damaged, Ankalaev came out desperate for a takedown and scored one less than two minutes into the fourth. Ankalaev holds the position through the end of the round.
Ankalaev comes out quickly in the fifth round causing Blachowicz to overreact and fall to his back giving Ankalaev an easy takedown. In clear control, Ankalaev began to rain down heavy ground and pound on the former champion. With 90 seconds to go, Blachowicz made no attempt to get off his back. The fifth round ended with Ankalaev dropping bombs, putting an exclamation point on a fantastic performance despite some early adversity.
Official Result: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Jan Blachowicz is declared a split draw (47-48, 48-46, 47-47)