The UFC has had an eventful year filled with bangers and some massive fight cards. Some of the best pay-per-views include the likes of UFC 280, UFC 281, and UFC 274. Needless to say, UFC fans have been graced with another stellar year of combat.
As UFC closes its season, fans receive a makeshift substitute — UFC 282. This card doesn’t match the star power of the previous events in 2022. UFC 282 is headlined by former 205-pound champion, Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev, each looking to gain the currently vacant UFC light heavyweight title.
Importantly, the Błachowicz versus Ankalaev match was originally booked as the co-main, while Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira were set to run it back for their rematch in the main event. Prochazka defeated Teixiera in a thrilling clash for the light heavyweight title earlier this year at UFC 275.
Unfortunately for Prochazka, he sustained a shoulder injury while training for his first title defense and rematch against Texiera, causing him to forfeit the rematch, originally booked for UFC 282. In true Jiri fashion, he honorably vacated the title as to not pause the division while rehabbing his shoulder injury.
The future of this division will depend on who emerges victorious between Ankalaev and Błachowicz. These two heavy sluggers have the potential to put on a show and the ability to put each other to sleep.
If Błachowicz can use his “legendary Polish power” and crack Ankalaev, this fight can get interesting. If not, expect the well-rounded Dagestani fighter in Ankalaev to win the fight. Ankalaev is on a nine-fight win streak, so it’s no surprise the rising talent will finally get his deserved title shot.
Outside of the main event, this card features a lousy co-main with Paddy “the baddy” Pimblett taking on Jared Gordon. Pimblet is poised to be the next big star out of Europe, as he’s erupted with three straight finishes in the lightweight division. The Liverpool local calls himself the “Fifth Beatle” and just like the legendary rock band, Paddy brings the show with him anywhere he goes.
Jared Gordon isn’t the most exciting prospect in the UFC, but his story and journey to the professional promotion holds a greater significance than just UFC fighting. After battling drug addiction and facing 25 years to life, Gordon finds himself on the co-main for UFC 282. If Gordon can manage to knock off Pimblett, he’ll skyrocket to become among the division’s best. The odds are stacked against Gordon, but this is the fight game, baby — and that means anything is possible.
This card features another Liverpool-born fighter, Darren “the Gorilla,” once sharing the same hype as Paddy Pimblett. Till takes on Dricus Du Plessis in a middleweight clash.
Till has struggled to find his groove and live up to the hype he once coveted, losing four out his last five bouts. It’s crazy to think this man was once fighting for UFC welterweight gold at UFC 228. It’s been a steady downhill slope for Till ever since. Still at 29 years old, Till has enough time to shift the gears and bounce back atop the UFC ranks.
Du Plessis, on the other hand, is a rising prospect in the middleweight division, winning his only three fights in the UFC, adding two of those victories by finish. Most recently, Du Plessis defeated a formidable veteran fighter in Brad Tavares.
Du Plessis and Till might end up becoming the fight of the night, so don’t sleep on this matchup. Both fighters are in a position to elevate themselves within a crumbling 185-pound division.
This card might just feature a grip of potential title-challengers in the near future. Other fights in this card include Bryce ‘Thug Nasty” Mitchell taking on Ilia Topuria in a featherweight matchup.
Mitchell is on a five-fight win streak since entering the UFC, having recently defeated kickboxing legend, Edson Barboza. Mitchell is only a few fights away from a potential title shot and a win over an undefeated Topuria wouldn’t hurt his cause.
Topuria is one of the more promising fighters in the UFC, winning all five of his fights in the promotion so far. The matchup with Mitchell is a step up in competition for Topuria, and it’ll prove his high-level skill as a prospect.
Ultimately, UFC 282 doesn’t possess the star power to knock your socks off, but there are some intriguing prospects and veterans that have a lot to prove. For that reason alone, I’d tune in and relish the last UFC card of 2022 because it might just feature some future stars.