When you’re looking to crown a new champion in a division with a vacant title, a draw is the worst possible outcome. Unfortunately, we saw just that at UFC 282 where Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev fought to a split draw, leaving the already vacant title without an owner.
Let’s take a look back at the event:
Rounds 1 and 3 were as close as it gets, with both fighters having their moments. The story of the fight for Jan was the leg kicks he used in the early part, effectively taking away Ankalaev’s ability to properly move and put weight on his legs. Ankalaev came on strong with the wrestling late, dominating the championship rounds. The judges’ scorecards were in the air as to who won the fight, and we ended with a draw.
This was the story of the night, in a very bad way. Jared Gordon dominated the 1st round and the 3rd, and could have easily won the 2nd save for a late flurry from ‘The Baddy.’ The judges did not see the fight this way. Despite being frequently pressured, stunned, and taken down, they awarded Pimblett the unanimous decision win, sparking uproar across the MMA World.
The feel-good story of the night was seeing the once Welterweight title hopeful Santiago Ponzinibbio battle adversity in rounds 1 and 2 to come back for the finish in the 3rd. After illness took years away from his career, Ponzinibbio went 1-3 in his next 4 fights, his last 2 losses coming by close split decisions many thought could have gone his way. He caught a break against the short-notice Alex Morono and finally returned to the winner’s column.
Dricus du Plessis entered the top 10 in the Middleweight division with his biggest win yet. He and Till went back and forth in the Fight of The Night at UFC 282. Dricus dominated round 1 with his grappling and heavy strikes along the fence, while Till came back in round 2 with his fast hands. Both fighters seemed nearly done near the end of the fight but a last-effort push from the South African saw him get the takedown and find the submission.
Topuria left no question as to who the better fighter was in all facets of mixed martial arts. He put on a striking clinic after finding his range in a competitive first round. He came out guns blazing in round 2, dropping Mitchell and eventually finishing him with an arm triangle.
The youngest fighter in UFC history proved he’s legit with a 1st-round rear-naked-choke over Jay Perrin. Rosas wasted no time in securing the takedown and bringing the fight into his world where he quickly found the finish.
‘Bigi Boi’ found the target early as he countered Daukaus with a massive left hand that had him hurt. Once he smelled blood there was no stopping him. He chased his opponent down and eventually found the kill shot just over 20 seconds into the bout. He has firmly reinserted himself into the mix among the top Heavyweights.
‘Vegas Edmen’ made his debut to the crowd and snapped a 3-fight losing streak against Dalcha Lungiambula, showing everyone he’s here to stay. His approach was patient and stalking in round 1, looking for the right moment to strike. That moment came in the form of a huge knee near the end of the 2nd, and once he sensed his opponent was hurt, he swarmed for the finish.
Chris Curtis brought the action to Joaquin Buckley after a shaky first round. Curtis was mostly on the defensive all night, looking for any opening to capitalize on. He found that chance after catching a kick and launching a huge left hand to Buckley’s face. Curtis’ punches brought Joaquin in and out of consciousness a few times before the referee stepped in.
Our pick here at Verdict for The Sleeper Fight of The Week delivered in full. Alexander Hernandez made his 145 lb debut against ‘Billy Q’ and looked good for a while. He bloodied and battered Quarantillo throughout round 1, but began to fade in round 2. The seemingly unlimited output from Billy was just too much and he eventually withered under the storm.
After the fight, TJ Brown was left wondering when his opponents would figure out that he likes to arm-triangle people. He cruised to a win over Venezuela’s Erik Silva. He outstruck him and found the arm-triangle choke in round 3, sealing the deal.
After losing the 1st round and being deducted a point in the 2nd, Cameron Saaiman knew he needed a finish if he was going to stay undefeated at UFC 282. With less than a minute left in the fight, he secured the win and started a 2-0 night for South Africa.