Due to the unfortunate injury of Jiri Prochazka, a former light heavyweight champion, less than two weeks before his scheduled rematch against Glover Teixeira, the UFC needed to react urgently in order to find a new main event for UFC 282 next Thursday.
Fortunately, they put the co-title fight as the title fight, which is between Blachowicz and Ankalaev. Ankalaev and Blachowicz were supposed to co-headline next week's UFC 282 event, but because Prochazka's injury and the vacating of the light heavyweight title, the duo will now headline the event and will fight for the title against each other.
Former champion Blachowicz is fighting one of the undisputed best fighters in the division.
Michael Bisping gave his take on the matchup:
“I feel like Jan Blachowicz, if he can stop the takedown, the fight is going to be in his favor – but it’s going to be hard,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel.
“Magomed, he’s a Dagestani. He’s a master of the sport in sambo. Regardless, the takedowns are going to be absolutely key. Not to say Magomed can’t strike, but Blachowicz is very good on the feet. He’s got the bigger power.
“It all comes down to whether or not Blachowicz can keep it on the feet. If he can, I can see a knockout victory for Jan Blachowicz – or Magomed is going to take him down, try and outwrestle him”. Originally, Blachowicz's bout with Ankalaev was a non-title co-main event.
The promotion opted to make their fight for the vacant belt after light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka vacated his belt due to a severe shoulder injury before his rematch against Teixeira. Jan is a former champion of the light heavyweight category, whose belt was taken by Glover Teixeira just by knocking him down and ending up on the ground floor. We will find out whether he will use the same recipe in Ankalaev next week at the UFC 282 event.