UFC 282 is in the books, but unfortunately, things came to a fairly anticlimactic close to the main event.
Under the bright lights of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev fought through five hard rounds, and ultimately ended their affair in a controversial split draw.
Throughout the first of five rounds, Blachowicz strategically used his leg kicks during the feeling out process, while Ankalaev answered back with probing straight punches and front kicks to the body. It was clear in the opening round that Ankalaev had the speed advantage, but Blachowicz was doing an excellent job at utilizing his timing.
During the second, Blachowicz really doubled down on his low kicks, systematically hammering away at the lead leg of his opponent and tremendously slowing down Ankalaev. This forced Ankalaev to switch stances and then shoot for desperation takedowns when he realized the low kicks were continuing to land. Blachowicz did a great job at defending these takedowns and the onslaught continued.
Big bad Jan has laid a BEATING down on the legs of Ankalaev.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 11, 2022
Into the third, Blachowicz opened up with even more leg kicks, resulting in both of Ankalaev’s legs being compromised. Ankalaev responded by throwing large looping punches, in a desperate attempt to earn the respect back from his opponent in the striking game. With these punches missing, a limping Ankalaev was able to secure his first successful takedown in seven attempts just as the round was coming to a close.
Ankalaev needed to take a different approach as they moved into the championship rounds. Right at the start of the fourth, he rushed in and pressed his opponent against the cage, then followed by securing a clean double leg takedown. He would hold Blachowicz on the ground with excellent control and passing attempts, while utilizing his ground and pound, for the duration of the round.
The newly established strategy of Ankalaev continued as the competitors moved into the final round. He secured another takedown and showcased superior grappling, while unloading bombs from half guard in an attempt to finish the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) December 11, 2022
Despite his legs being extremely compromised, Ankalaev was able to battle back with a sound strategy in the later parts of the fight. It was a surprise to the commentary team, as well as the competitors, that this fight ended in a draw.
In the post fight interview, Ankalaev described his extreme displeasure in not being awarded the victory, and even went as far to say that he may not continue to compete in the UFC following this decision.
“Give the belt to [Magomed]
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 11, 2022
Both Blachowicz and Joe Rogan agreed with the fact that Ankalaev should have been awarded the victory, and the light heavyweight belt.
Official Result: Jan Błachowicz versus Magomed Ankalaev ends in a Draw (Split) – 48-47, 48-46, 47-47