Jan Blachowicz, Magomed Ankalaev fight to split draw at UFC 282

LAS VEGAS — The UFC lost its light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka to injury in November. UFC 282 should crown its successor. Unfortunately not.

Former champion Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) and Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1) battled it out for a five-round split tie in the UFC’s main event at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday. Judge Mike Bell scored the fight 48-47 for Blachowicz while Judge Derek Cleary had it 48-46 for Ankalaev. A third judge, Sal D’Amato, scored 47-47, resulting in a tied tie.

Immediately after the fight, Blachowicz actually seemed to raise Ankalaev’s hand as if admitting defeat. In fact, Ankalaev would have lost the fight had it not been for a dominant fifth round. Judges Cleary and D’Amato scored 10-8 for Ankalaev in the final round. Had they not done so, Ankalaev would have lost a split decision.

“I have to watch the fight but I certainly didn’t win,” said Blachowicz. “I don’t know if I lost the fight, but I’m not the winner.”

Strongly favoured, Ankalaev of Dagestan was adamant that he felt he had won.

“I know what to say,” Ankalaev said through a translator. “I won this fight. Why didn’t I get my belt? I don’t know what to say.”

With the light heavyweight title still vacant after Blachowicz-Ankalaev ended in a split tie, UFC President Dana White announced in the post-fight press conference that former champion Glover Teixeira will be up for the belt next month at UFC 283 against Jamahal Hill will compete. Teixeira watched Saturday’s title fight from the front row.

Prochazka (29-3-1), 30, is sidelined indefinitely with a serious shoulder injury he sustained just last month. He willingly gave up the belt to allow the division to move on. He is expected to be out at least until mid-2023.

The championship fight was defined by a big swing around the fourth round. Blachowicz severely injured Ankalaev’s leading right leg with kicks in the second round, forcing Ankalaev to abandon his natural left-handed stance and fight mostly orthodox. Blachowicz successfully kicked off Ankalaev.

In the fourth round, however, Ankalaev turned almost exclusively to a wrestling-based strategy. He shot Blachowicz in the hip, pinning him against the fence. Eventually, it appeared Blachowicz was tiring of grappling and spending much of the last two rounds on his back. Here, too, the fifth round was particularly dominant for Ankalaev.

According to UFC stats, Ankalaev overtook Blachowicz 182-79 in total strikes. He also accumulated more than 11 minutes of control time compared to zero for Blachowicz. Ankalaev was only successful on two out of 10 takedown attempts; Blachowicz didn’t attempt a single takedown.

The tie broke a nine-fight win streak for Ankalaev. Blachowicz ceded the title to Teixeira in a submission loss in 2021, but bounced back with a TKO win over Aleksandar Rakic ​​in May.

https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/35229905/jan-blachowicz-magomed-ankalaev-fight-split-draw-ufc-282 Jan Blachowicz, Magomed Ankalaev fight to split draw at UFC 282

Emma Bowman

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