UFC 282 odds, betting: How to bet Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev main event

The final UFC-pay-per-view card of 2022 goes off this Saturday night with the light heavyweight championship on the line. UFC 282 features Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev in a main event that no one imagined a month ago, but it's still a fun fight to unpack as a bettor. Former champion Jiri Prochazka's severe shoulder injury set off a chain of events that led to the No. 3- and No.4-ranked light heavyweights getting an unexpected title shot.

Ankalaev, the 30-year-old Dagestani, was already on the trajectory to get his first crack at UFC gold. His nine-fight win streak dates back to 2018, positioning him to face the winner of Prochazka vs. Glover Texeira before the injury. Prochazka vacating the belt may have sped up the process, but Ankalaev competing for the title was inevitable.

Blachowicz's situation is entirely different. The former light heavyweight champion lost his belt to Texeira last year. At 39 years old, this could be his last shot to become champion in this division. Does the urgency to take advantage of this golden opportunity lead to a more aggressive strategy? Or will Blachowicz take a more tactical approach realizing the stakes are so high? Let's break this down and find a solid bet for the main event.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 30: (R-L) Magomed Ankalaev battles Anthony Smith in their Light Heavyweight bout during the UFC 277 event at American Airlines Center on July 30, 2022, in Dallas, Texas, United States. (Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Magomed Ankalaev is a solid UFC favorite on Saturday night. (Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Magomed Ankalaev (-275) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+210)

You don't become a world champion by accident. Blachowicz gets overlooked because his skill set is so well-rounded, and he doesn't have that one elite weapon. He has good power for the division, mixes in kicks well, has 66% takedown defense and can hold his own as an offensive wrestler. It allows him to be adaptable in the cage, adjusting mid-fight and pushing forward with what works. He can carve up slower opponents in the pocket or apply pressure when he has a size advantage and inflict damage with dirty boxing.

The problem with backing Blachowicz, and why he is a sizable underdog, is that Ankalaev has substantial advantages in certain areas that will be very difficult to avoid for five rounds. Ankalaev, nine years younger, is the faster fighter, with solid kicks that should allow him to win the striking exchanges at range. In addition, I don't expect either fighter to be overly aggressive early, especially considering the high stakes and five-round duration. That will allow Ankalaev to dictate the pace, find his range and capitalize on openings to implement his wrestling. Blachowicz has to find a way to score points in close range without ending up on his back. That doesn't leave much room for error against a fighter with Ankalaev's background in combat sambo.

I see this as an uphill battle for the former champ, who will have to face the decision to turn up the aggression after digging a hole in the scorecards early. He will likely only get a few shots to connect before getting countered hard or taken down. Ankalaev will rinse and repeat until he gets his hand raised. The odds at -275 are steep, but it's a fair price for Ankalaev at 73% implied odds.

The bet: Magomed Ankalaev (-275)

Prop options

  • Over 2.5 rounds (-150)

  • Fight to go the distance (+150)

  • Ankalaev by decision (+225)

Here are three ways to attack the prop market if the Ankalaev moneyline is too much chalk for your taste. As my previous analysis indicates, I like the chances of this one going to the later rounds. You can currently bet the fight over 2.5 rounds at -150 at BetMGM. If you're looking for a bet that yields a plus-money return, I recommend the fight to go the distance (+150) or Ankalaev to win by decision (+225). The odds indicate Ankalaev is the more likely finisher, but he only has one stoppage in his last four fights.

Moreover, once he started rising through the ranks and the competition increased, the finishes were few and far between. Ankalaev putting away Blachowicz here is less probable than the odds imply, creating value on decision props. Ankalaev's wrestling will become more impactful later in the fight as he chips away at Jan's takedown defense. The over 2.5 rounds is the strongest bet of the three, but that's also why it has the most expensive price tag.

Stats provided by ufcstats.com.