Tag Archives: UFC 282

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs Ankalaev – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 282 as they will crown a brand new undisputed light heavyweight champion when Jan Blachowicz takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

Originally a three-round co-main, former champion Jiri Prochazka was forced to withdraw from his rematch with Glover Teixeira and vacate his title after suffering a shoulder injury in training, which saw this fight bumped up to a title fight.

We’ll also see the UK’s own compete as Paddy Pimblett and Darren Till compete on the main card, while there is some deep prelim fights on the card too.

Last time out at UFC Orlando we had a shocking night, going 5/14 with just one perfect pick to move to 789/1227 (64.3%) with 325 perfect picks (41.19%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims and then moving on to the rest of the prelims here, we finish up with our main card picks now.


Bryce Mitchell (15-0) vs Ilia Topuria (12-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Arguably the fight of the night opens up the main card. Mitchell is a wrestling and submission specialist, undefeated professionally with decision wins over Charles Rosa, Andre Fili (UFC Vegas 12) and Edson Barboza in his last three. Topuria is a sensation too, also undefeated, with three consecutive KO wins against Damon Jackson (UFC Vegas 16), Ryan Hall (UFC 264) and a huge comeback against Jai Herbert last time out in London.

There may not be a more relentless and suffocating wrestler in the UFC than Mitchell, who grabs on to whatever he can get hold of and finds a away to take you to the mat. Once there he dominates the position and works for submissions, completely in control throughout. Topuria on the other hand is a stunning striker with great power and technique, but he is also a brilliant grappler himself with seven submission wins on his record. This is an incredible fight.

They are so well matched, both riding huge waves of momentum and both have pretty exciting styles. Both are supremely talented wherever this fight ends up, but Mitchell has fought the higher calibre of fighter. His win over Barboza is crazy good because he dominated on the feet and the mat and I’m not convinced Topuria is a better striker than Barboza is. With that said I’m leaning towards “Thug Nasty” to get the decision win, but don’t be surprised however this ends up.
PICK – Bryce Mitchell via Decision

Darren Till (18-4-1) vs Dricus Du Plessis (17-2) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A huge fight in the middleweight division once more on this card. Till has lost four of his last five, starting with a title fight loss to Tyron Woodley. He also lost to Jorge Masvidal, Robert Whittaker (UFC Fight Island 3) and Derek Brunson, but claimed a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in the middle of that run. Du Plessis is 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Markus Perez (UFC Fight Island 5), Trevin Giles (UFC 264) and most recently Brad Tavares.

Till is a pure striker, with an unorthodox karate stance to go with his Muay-Thai striking skills and great power and speed. He’s also a black belt in jiu-jitsu, although we’ve never seen why, and he’s been working his grappling with the incredible Khamzat Chimaev in recent months too so it’s likely improved. Du Plessis is also a brilliant striker, with fantastic power in his punches and kicks and a wildly aggressive style. He pushes a hard pace and looks to take his opponent’s head off with every strike. Till is without a doubt the best striker he has ever faced though.

There’s no doubting that Till’s back is against the wall here and he needs a win, and there is a great opportunity for him. Du Plessis’ aggression leaves him open to be hit a lot and if Till lands flush he has the power to put you out. His movement is good too and countering is his best weapon. So long as he’s as sharp as we know he can be, Till counters Du Plessis with that bomb of a left hand and gets a career-saving win.
PICK – Darren Till via Knockout, Round 3

Alex Morono (22-7) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-6) – (Catchweight/180lbs)

A short-notice catchweight bout up next. Morono is stepping in on a few days’ notice for Robbie Lawler while on a four-fight win streak, beating Matthew Semelsberger most recently at UFC 277. Ponzinibbio on the other hand has lost his last two, dropping razor thin decisions against Geoff Neal (UFC 269) and Michel Pereira most recently.

Morono is a power striker, who uses decent boxing combinations and a good mix of wrestling too to overwhelm his opponents with his cardio. Ponzinibbio is a sensational striker with excellent power in his hands and his kicks, as well as an iron chin and great combinations. The time away from the octagon saw Ponzinibbio lose his status as one of the guys, he’s still good enough to beat Morono for me.

Both of these guys will be amped, but the short-notice nature of it tells me Ponzinibbio will be able to push the pace more and try to overwhelm him with his pressure. If he can force Morono backwards against the cage and start throwing he should land enough and have enough moments to claim a win on the cards.
PICK – Santiago Ponzinibbio via Decision



Paddy Pimblett (19-3) vs Jared Gordon (19-5) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A banger in the co-main event in the lightweight division. Pimblett has taken the UFC by storm since arriving, going 3-0 with three finishes against Luigi Vendramini, Kazula Vargas and Jordan Leavitt most recently. Gordon on the other hand has won four of his last five, losing to Grant Dawson via submission before bouncing back last time out with a decision win over Leonardo Santos.

Pimblett is a wild man, with fantastic ground skills when it comes to his jiu-jitsu and his submission skills, but his striking is decent too and he possesses good power. Gordon is a well-rounded fighter too with an excellent ground game himself, but he prefers to stand and strike and string combinations together. This is Pimblett’s biggest test to date in the UFC and this is not a gimme fight by any means.

On the feet I would say that Gordon has the edge. Pimblett is wild and leaves himself open to being clipped regularly sometimes, but when it comes to the ground Pimblett is the man with the advantage. He’s aggressive on the mat for submissions, his sweeps are excellent if he ends up on the bottom and he’s relentless when it comes to pressure. I don’t think Pimblett can secure the finish here, but he should be able to get enough control time on the mat and land enough on the feet to get another win.
PICK – Paddy Pimblett via Decision

Jan Blachowicz (29-9) vs Magomed Ankalaev (18-1) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

Big time light heavyweight title fight up next in the main event. Blachowicz bounced back from losing the title to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 with a win over Aleksandar Rakic in May, while Ankalaev extended his winning streak to nine in a row when he beat Anthony Smith via TKO back at UFC 277.

Blachowicz is a well-rounded fighter with fantastic power in his hands, but it’s his grappling where he really excels as he looks to use his size to wrestle opponents and control them on the mat. Ankalaev is a stunning striker with brilliant kickboxing skills, and his Dagestani background also means that he is a superb wrester and a master of Sambo fighting. Neither of these guys are particularly quick and their knockout power is prevalent but not their only route to victory.

It’s an interesting bout to analyse, but it would be very surprising if Ankalaev doesn’t claim the belt at this point in his career. He’s the better striker on the feet, his grappling is as good and he matches up well for size too, so it’s hard to see where Blachowicz can get the win. With that said, I’ve been wrong on Blachowicz before, but I expect a bit of a masterclass here from Ankalaev on the feet to claim a lopsided decision win.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Decision

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs Ankalaev – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 282 as they will crown a brand new undisputed light heavyweight champion when Jan Blachowicz takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

Originally a three-round co-main, former champion Jiri Prochazka was forced to withdraw from his rematch with Glover Teixeira and vacate his title after suffering a shoulder injury in training, which saw this fight bumped up to a title fight.

We’ll also see the UK’s own compete as Paddy Pimblett and Darren Till compete on the main card, while there is some deep prelim fights on the card too.

Last time out at UFC Orlando we had a shocking night, going 5/14 with just one perfect pick to move to 789/1227 (64.3%) with 325 perfect picks (41.19%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.


Chris Curtis (29-9) vs Joaquin Buckley (15-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A super fun fight in the middleweight division between two guys with real knockout power and a fan friendly style. Curtis saw his eight-fight win streak snapped in a relatively boring fight against Jack Hermansson at UFC London last time out. Buckley was on a three-fight win streak ahead of his last fight against Nassourdine Imavov, but lost a decision at UFC Paris.

Curtis’ nickname is Action Man and it suits his fight style. He likes to walk forward and use his excellent boxing skills to land strikes inside a close distance, while also using good wrestling to keep fights standing. Buckley is a powerhouse who has got great cardio, and explosive power that makes him capable of putting anyone’s lights out if necessary.

These two fighters are really well matched up. Curtis will likely go to the body more and use a variety of attacks, but Buckley is the man with more power and the more eye-catching moments without a doubt. Both should be able to hold up for the full 15 minutes, so I do expect it to go the distance. With that said, Buckley is the more active guy and I think he’ll edge it on the cards.
PICK – Joaquin Buckley via Decision

Edmen Shahbazyan (11-3) vs Dalcha Lungiambula (11-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

More middleweight action up next. Shahbazyan was the next big thing before he ran into Derek Brunson to suffer his first professional loss (UFC Vegas 5), and has since lost two more against Hermansson and Imavov (UFC 268) to make it three in a row. Lungiambula has lost four of his last five, including his last three in a row too, dropping a decision to Marc-Andre Barriault, getting submitted by Cody Brundage and knocked out by Punahele Soriano most recently.

Shahbazyan is a world-class kickboxer with great movement, excellent footwork and solid power, but his chin has absolutely been tested recently and his takedown defence is a massive glaring hole in his game. Lungiambula is a decent wrestler with great power striking, but some weird techniques that leave him open to counter striking from his opponent.

There are still plenty of tools and lots of time in the favour of Shahbazyan and this is the perfect fight for him to get back on track. He’s excellent on the feet and will have a big edge there, and while Lungiambula could take him down his top game isn’t the best and “Golden Boy” should feel as though he can get back up. Shahbazyan could put on a striking clinic, and I think a big head kick lands in the first half of the fight for a win.
PICK – Edmen Shahbazyan via Knockout, Round 1



Raul Rosas Jr (6-0) vs Jay Perrin (10-6) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The youngest fighter on the UFC roster makes his debut in this one. Rosas Jr earned a contract on the Contender Series as a 17-year-old back in September to move to 6-0, while Perrin has lost his last two against Mario Bautista and most recently Aoriqileng (UFC 278).

Rosas Jr is a spectacular grappler with som excellent wrestling and really good top control, able to pass guard and transition to new positions quickly and accurately to go with his ground and pound skills. Perrin is a well-rounded fighter with good boxing and power, plus a solid bit of wrestling in his back pocket to go with it. He’s also far more experienced than Rosas, which could have a huge say.

With that said though, Rosas looked at home on the Contender Series and had some serious skills. If he can stay composed, he has the size and length to cause problems. Perrin will surely look to overwhelm him early on, but Rosas looks special and I think this is the beginning of his journey.
PICK – Raul Rosas Jr via Submission, Round 3

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-4) vs Chris Daukaus (12-5) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Ranked heavyweights go at it in the featured prelim bout of this card. Rozenstruik has lost his last two in a row, dropping a decision against Curtis Blaydes at UFC 266 before getting knocked out by Alexander Volkov most recently back in June. Daukaus on the other hand saw his great start to the company shattered by the first of Derrick Lewis at UFC Vegas 45, before Curtis Blaydes KO’d him in March too.

Rozenstruik is a power puncher, straight like that, but he has also got good kicks and a decent kickboxing game too. Daukaus is a jiu-jitsu wizard on the mat, but he’s also got good boxing and terrific hand speed for a man of his size. It’s quite clear how this fight plays out in my mind. Daukaus will hang around on the outside looking to pop his jab and use combinations, then quickly close the distance to look to use his big advantage on the ground.

“Bigi Boy” is going to have to find a way to avoid that, and his best bet for that is to walk forward and set the pace of the fight. He has the type of power that ends the fight in an instant, just ask Alistair Overeem, but he was getting handily beaten in that fight. Daukaus is capable of putting together a performance like Volkov did last time out and just using sheer volume to overwhelm him before getting a finish on the mat.
PICK – Chris Daukaus via Submission, Round 2

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs Ankalaev – Early prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 282 as they will crown a brand new undisputed light heavyweight champion when Jan Blachowicz takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the main event.

Originally a three-round co-main, former champion Jiri Prochazka was forced to withdraw from his rematch with Glover Teixeira and vacate his title after suffering a shoulder injury in training, which saw this fight bumped up to a title fight.

We’ll also see the UK’s own compete as Paddy Pimblett and Darren Till compete on the main card, while there is some deep prelim fights on the card too.

Last time out at UFC Orlando we had a shocking night, going 5/14 with just one perfect pick to move to 789/1227 (64.3%) with 325 perfect picks (41.19%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here, starting with the early prelims.


Cameron Saaiman (6-0) vs Steven Koslow (6-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A banger at bantamweight opens up the card between two UFC debutants. Both guys come into this with undefeated records, with Saaiman earning a UFC contract on the Contender Series most recently, while Koslow has won all six of his professional fights via first-round submission.

Saaiman is a talented striker with great power, technique and a really deep gas tank too. His takedown defence isn’t the best though, and that’s a big problem against someone like Koslow who is an absolute wizard on the ground in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu game.

With that said, Saaiman is a decent grappler on the mat and a good wrestler too. If he can get out of the first-round without being dragged down and dominated, then he has a great chance of landing his power strikes on the feet and earn a big knockout win as the fight progresses. It’s a tough fight to pick early on in the card but Saaiman is the more well-rounded guy so I’m going with him to get the win.
PICK – Cameron Saaiman via Knockout, Round 2

Vinicius Salvador (14-4) vs Daniel Da Silva (11-4) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

Flyweight fun up next. Salvador makes his UFC debut on a four-fight win streak, with a knockout win on the Contender Series back in August securing his contract with the company. Da Silva on the other hand has lost all three of his UFC bouts, getting stopped by Jeff Molina, Francisco Figueiredo and Victor Altamirano.

Salvador is a powerhouse of a striker in the flyweight division, with excellent hooks and 13 of his 14 career wins coming via knockout. Da Silva is a really well rounded fighter, but he’s struggled to bring it all together in the UFC and has been losing fights he is supposed to win. This is another fight that he is supposed to win realistically.

He’s the better fighter when it comes to skillsets, but with his recent performances it’s hard to expect him to do what he’s supposed to do. But it’s also hard to back Vinicius when I know he isn’t the better fighter. I expect a knockout to occur, and I’m going to go with Da Silva to get it done despite by gut warning me against it.
PICK – Daniel Da Silva via Knockout, Round 2



TJ Brown (16-9) vs Erik Silva (9-1) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

More fun at featherweight up next. Brown beat Kai Kamaka III and Charles Rosa (UFC Vegas 46) via decision, but was beaten by Nuerdanbieke in June last time out. Silva makes his UFC debut on an eight-fight win streak, winning on the Contender Series last time out after a KO win in just 92 seconds.

Brown is a well-rounded fighter with some really good striking and solid grappling too, but his recent performances have seen him struggle to put it all together. Silva on the other hand is a grapple heavy fighter who likes to wrestle, control and land damage on the ground, while also having slick jiu-jitsu skills too.

Silva’s style is similar to the way that Nuerdanbieke was able to nullify and defeat Brown last time out, but he’s largely untested against the better fighters in the world. Whether he has the quality to execute his style is yet to be seen, but if he can he should be able to claim a career-defining win for himself.
PICK – Erik Silva via Decision

Billy Quarantillo (16-4) vs Alexander Hernandez (13-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A banger at featherweight as Hernandez makes his debut in the division. Quarantillo is 2-2 in his last four with wins over Kyle Nelson (UFC Vegas 10) and Gabriel Benitez, while he lost to Gavin Tucker (UFC 256) and most recently Shane Burgos at UFC 268. Hernandez is 4-4 in his last eight, alternating results in each. His last two saw him beat Mike Breeden with ease (UFC Vegas 38) before getting smashed by Renato Moicano at UFC 271.

Quarantillo is a brilliantly entertaining fighter, whose best attribute is his heart and grit to go with his striking and grappling skills. Hernandez alternatively is a strong boxer with really powerful hands and a good gas tank, but this weight cut could have a big effect on how he usually fights.

Early on I expect Hernandez to use his wrestling and boxing to keep Quarantillo at bay, but without getting a finish his cardio could begin to fail him and Billy Q will almost certainly be able to take advantage and push the pace for the full fight. I expect a brilliant fight between them, and a late surge from Quarantillo could be enough to sway the judges in a really tight call on the cards.
PICK – Billy Quarantillo via Decision