UFC 282: 5 fights to make next in the Light Heavyweight division

UFC 282: 5 fights to make next in the Light Heavyweight division

By Jordan Lopez
Monday, December 12, 2022, a month ago

After UFC 282, fans would have thought there would be more clarity on the Light Heavyweight division with the conclusion of the main event between Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. With the results ending in a bizarre split draw, it raises more questions and uncertainty for the division. Jiří Procházka is out for at least a year due to the shoulder injury he suffered in preparation for UFC 282 and Glover Teixeira is still the number one contender. Fans have nothing to look forward to after UFC 282 and the belt is still vacated after all that transpired.

Thankfully, Dana White clarified and answered some important questions surrounding the Light Heavyweight division in the post-fight conference. The division is in a unique spot right now, and it'll be interesting to see how the UFC navigates the situation. Having a couple of fights finalized and ready to roll, we can play the role of the matchmakers and solve the Light Heavyweight division puzzle. Here are the five fights to make next.

Glover Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill

Glover Teixeira winning the Light Heavyweight belt at UFC 276. Credits to: Chris Unger-Zuffa LLC.
Glover Teixeira winning the Light Heavyweight belt at UFC 276. Credits to: Chris Unger-Zuffa LLC.

Following the aftermath of UFC 282, Dana White announced that number one contender Glover Teixeira would fight Jamahal Hill for the vacant Light Heavyweight belt at UFC 283. This comes at the post-fight press conference as the breaking news surprised everyone. In the midst of the title being vacated, it'll be a quick turnaround for the division. This was the best-case scenario as it keeps the division moving and afloat. Teixeira will have his homecoming at UFC 283 in front of his home country in Brazil and will have a golden opportunity to become champion once again. For Hill, he sits outside the top five and will have the chance to become the undisputed Light Heavyweight champion. No one was expecting this after UFC 282 but it gives fight fans around the world something to look forward to. Stylistically, it's a great matchup and has all the makings for an exciting fight. UFC 283 will be headlined by these two gentlemen in hopes of someone being crowned as the next Light Heavyweight champion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jan Błachowicz vs. Anthony Smith

Jan Błachowicz after his fight at UFC 282. Credits to: Chris Unger-Zuffa LLC.
Jan Błachowicz after his fight at UFC 282. Credits to: Chris Unger-Zuffa LLC.

This is where the Light Heavyweight division gets a bit tricky. Jan Błachowicz comes out of UFC 282 not a winner or loser, placing him in a peculiar spot. However, Anthony Smith, who was initially scheduled to fight Jamahal Hill in March of 2023, is left without an opponent due to Hill fighting at UFC 283 for the Light Heavyweight belt. While their schedules are not aligning correctly, it only makes sense to have Błachowicz and Smith as a title eliminator fight. While it's unfortunate that Smith was the odd man left out after UFC 282, this should be more enticing for him as Błachowicz just fought for the title and is a former champion. For Błachowicz, this fight can immediately get him back into title contention and is most likely to be served as the main event on a UFC Fight Night. It'll be a great fight for the division and both fighters will have everything to fight for to be next to challenge for the belt.

Glover Teixeira/Jamahal Hill Winner vs. Magomed Ankalaev

Magomed Ankalaev after the fifth and final round against Jan Blachowicz. Credits to: Cooper Neil-Zuffa LLC.
Magomed Ankalaev after the fifth and final round against Jan Blachowicz. Credits to: Cooper Neil-Zuffa LLC.

The Verdict community and many media members worldwide believed that Magomed Ankalaev won at UFC 282. Since there was no winner, Ankalaev is also in an unusual spot but has more of a clear path than the other fighters in the division. Jiří Procházka will likely come back in 2024 to fight for the belt that he had to vacate, so this presents the opportunity for Ankalaev to get his title shot before 2023 ends. Ankalaev questioned fighting for the UFC in his post-fight interview but clarified what he meant on his Twitter. He meant that he questions if he will fight in Las Vegas because he doesn't want these judges scoring his fights. So since the UFC has more clarification about those comments, they can move forward and have him fight the winner of the UFC 283 main event between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT

Paul Craig vs. Johnny Walker

Paul Craig walking into the octagon at UFC London. Credits to: Chris Unger-Zuffa LLC.
Paul Craig walking into the octagon at UFC London. Credits to: Chris Unger-Zuffa LLC.

A fight fans could look forward to and that has been finalized is Paul Craig and Johnny Walker at UFC 283. Not only is this an important fight for both gentlemen, but it is essential for the division too. The results from this fight will be crucial because it gives the division more of a clear picture of who is a contender and threat to the title. This fight is the main card opener for UFC 283 and it should be a fun one. Craig's grappling and submission game is extremely dangerous and threatens the explosive style that Walker utilizes. The winner of this fight will be one step closer to the title picture in a division that needs more clarity.

Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann

Ryan Spann after knocking out Dominick Reyes at UFC 281. Credits to: Jamie Squire-Zuffa LLC.
Ryan Spann after knocking out Dominick Reyes at UFC 281. Credits to: Jamie Squire-Zuffa LLC.

Another fight that has been finalized in the Light Heavyweight division is two top-ten contenders between Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann. This fight is scheduled to occur in February of 2023 at the UFC Apex. Just like the Paul Craig and Johnny Walker fight, this conclusion of this fight will open up more avenues for the division. With two of the top five fighters in the division injured for an extended period, it presents an opportunity for the fighters sitting just outside the top ten to make some noise in the division. A win for either Spann or Krylov will make it three consecutive wins and be in a prime position for a top-five fight.

HOME OF COMBAT
Submit picks and score rounds with the Verdict MMA app.
Write a Comment
Community Guidelines
Please Log In or Sign Up
Comments
There seems to be no comments, be the first!
Read More
See all
Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo Being Worked on For UFC 287
Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo Being Worked on For UFC 287
5 Fights to Make Next in The UFC Flyweight Division
5 Fights to Make Next in The UFC Flyweight Division
Alexander Volkov vs. Alexandr Romanov Confirmed For March 11
Alexander Volkov vs. Alexandr Romanov Confirmed For March 11
Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker Set Confirmed for UFC 285
Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker Set Confirmed for UFC 285
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Chris Curtis Set For UFC 287
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Chris Curtis Set For UFC 287
OverUnder
All of your weekly MMA updates in one place.
Keeping up to date with combat sports news can take up a lot of time, so we’re simplifying the process by bringing the most important stories directly to you. We read the internet all week and then summarize what you need to know in 3-4 minutes.
Enter your email to sign up for the OverUnder newsletter. The first email newsletter in MMA.
By subscribing, you will receive a weekly MMA newsletter from Verdict MMA. You can unsubscribe at any time.