Magomed Ankalaev will attempt to become the third Dagestani fighter to win a UFC championship when he takes on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. The fight is the main event of the UFC 282, which will be held on December 10, 2022, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Ankalaev (17-1) could be the next in line of championship Dagestani fighters joining retired former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and current lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. Ankalaev is currently riding a nine-fight win streak and earned his title shot with a knockout win over Anthony Smith at 277 on July 30, 2022.
Smith came into the fight with three consecutive first-round finishes and wanted to test Ankalaev early. Ankalaev showed great defensive skills, checking many of Smith’s leg strikes, one of which eventually broke Smith’s ankle.
Ankalaev checking and blocking Anthony Smith's kicks pic.twitter.com/IUn5SVQ9bC— Miguel Class (@MigClass) August 1, 2022
After taking Smith’s best shots, Ankalaev quickly broke him down and won the fight after a series of ground strikes with the stoppage coming at 3:09 of the second round.
Ankalaev showed Smith and the rest of the UFC light heavyweight division that he had the all-around skills to be a champion. That is a big reason why Ankalaev is a -280 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.