Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz might return to fight on the last PPV card of 2022.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto is reporting that UFC has finalized Blachowicz’s bout against #3 ranked Magomed Ankalev for UFC 282 PPV. Mayer Meni first reported about this bout last week. The winner is likely to be in line to challenge for the title next. Blachowicz is currently ranked at #2 in UFC ranking.
No. #1 ranked Glover Teixeira is currently rumored to challenge for the champion Jiri Prochazka at UFC 282 itself. UFC 282 is scheduled for December 10, 2022, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Blachowicz dropped the Light Heavyweight title to Teixeira in the main event of UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi. It was Blachowicz’s second title defense since winning it against Dominik Reyes at UFC 253. Blachowicz’s stocks were sky-high as he became the first person to defeat Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya in his first title defense.
The loss to Teixeira broke Blachowicz’s 5 fights winning streak. He has since defeated Alexander Rakić in May this year.
Magomed Ankalev is on a great run himself which has seen him win 9 fights in a row in UFC. Ankalev lost to Paul Craig in his UFC debut in March 2018, which remains his only career loss so far. The Russian Fighter has recently defeated former title challengers Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Volkan Oezdemir in his last three bouts.
Booking Blachowicz vs Ankalev on the same card as that of Prochazka vs Teixeira 2 might be a conscious decision on part of UFC. The promotion is keeping backup for the main events on almost every card in case any fighter backs out. UFC will expect either Blachowicz or Ankalev to step into the main event in case any fighter needs to be pulled for any reason.
UFC has earlier kept Beniel Dariush as the back for UFC 280 main event while he was already facing Mateusz Gamrot on the same card. Alexander Volkanovski has now replaced him as the backup.