UFC 282: Błachowicz vs. Ankalaev Odds, Predictions, and Free Picks
Updated Record: 61% (+25.33 Units)
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Early Prelims: 5:30 PM EST - ESPN+
Prelims: 8:00 PM EST - ESPN 2/ESPN+
Main Card: 10:00 PM EST - ESPN+ PPV
As I sit here on Monday, I still don’t know how the bloodiest fight I have seen in 20 years of watching combat sports was not stopped, but that’s Florida for you I suppose. The Pearce/Elkins fight cost us a winning card, but we still got basically back to even finishing -.25u on the night.
The results brought our Substack record to 61% (+25.33 units), with a $100 bettor now up over $2,500 since we got this thing started.
Our attention now turns to the last PPV card of the year, as UFC 282 brings us a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Analaev at the top. We’ll also see the return of fan-favorite Paddy Pimblett, who arguably faces his toughest test in the UFC to date.
Let’s get into it.
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Vinicius Salvador vs. Daniel da Silva
For the second week in a row, I like a guy making his UFC debut, as we got there last week with Francis Marshall and I think we do it again here with Salvador. Of his 18 professional fights, only one has gone the distance, as Salvador isn’t a guy who will let da Silva settle in.
Joining the UFC via this most recent season of DWCS with a TKO win over Shannon Ross, it was his fourth straight victory, all of which ended via KO/TKO inside two rounds.
As for da Silva, his first three fights in the UFC have produced three straight losses, all inside of two rounds as his time is quickly running out. He’s been given no favors with this matchup, and I think we see Salvador get him out of there in rather short order as well.
Pick: Vinicius Salvador (-200 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4 units
Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Jay Perrin
This fight involved a recent DWCS graduate as well, but we’re going in the opposite direction in this one. Prior to Rosa Jr.’s September 2022 win over Mando Gutierrez which put him in the UFC as the youngest fighter in the promotion’s history (17 at the time), Raul had five professional wins against guys with a combined professional record of 0-5.
In his first fight in the UFC, he draws a guy in Perrin very much due for his first UFC win. 0-2 since joining the promotion, Perrin has lost two decisions, his most recent being an egregious one vs. Aoriquileng in which he dominated the stats sheet.
I expect the lack of experience of “El Nino Problemo” to be a largo problemo in this spot and for Perrin to be too much. While I could see this going to decision, I think the wrong guy is favored.
Pick: Jay Perrin (+200 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1 unit
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Chris Daukaus
The deeper I dig at this fight, the more I find myself believing the wrong guy is favored as well. Following a May 2020 loss to Francis Ngannou, Rosenstruik has lost three of his five fights with the UFC, including his last two coming into this one. His June loss was the most alarming, a first-round KO at the hands of Alexander Volkov; just the second via KO of his career.
For Daukaus, four straight wins to start his UFC career have been overshadowed by two straight losses of his own, both at the hands of killers in Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes. The metrics disparity here is what tilts it for me, however.
Coming into Saturday, Daukaus holds big edges in knockdown average (4x), significant striking volume (2.5x), and maybe most importantly, striking defense. While I put less stock into the metrics at this division, I do make Daukaus a slight favorite and have to take the number here the market is giving us.
Pick: Chris Daukaus Inside the Distance (+195 BetOnline.ag) to risk 1 unit
Bryce Mitchell vs. Ilia Topuria
Since joining the UFC in 2019 via The Ultimate Fighter, Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell has won five straight, all but one via unanimous decision. That likely ends Saturday night in Las Vegas.
A Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the undefeated Topuria started his professional MMA career with seven straight submissions (six in the first round) victories. Since then, Topuria would win four of his next five via KO/TKO, including his most recent four in the UFC.
While Mitchell’s run has been impressive, he has little to no striking pedigree to speak of, something that could be a real problem against a guy Topuria who has steadily improved his. Topuria also comes into this fight with a 100% takedown defense, and an overall ground game that Mitchell has yet to see the likes of.
With more paths to victory than his opponent, I think Topuria rolls in this one, and the fan-favorite Mitchell is getting too much respect in the markets.
Pick: Ilia Topuria (-145 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 2.9 units
Darren Till vs. Driscus du Plessis
Starting with a September 2018 loss to Tyron Woodley for the middleweight belt, Darren Till has now lost four of his past five fights with the sole win coming via a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum. He’ll now try and overcome a 460+ day layoff and he’s been dealt a killer for such an attempt in the quickly rising Driscus Du Plessis.
Three fights in the UFC have produced three decisive wins for “Stilknocks”, as he comes into this matchup with sizeable edges in knockdown average (2x), significant strikes landed per minute (3x), and takedown average per 15 minutes (2x). While Till wouldn’t be wise to take this to the ground, du Plessis also has a 100% takedown defense.
With edges across the board in addition to the recent history on his side, I’m riding with du Plessis as one of my favorite plays of this card.
Pick: Driscus du Plessis (-165 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 3.3 units
BMP of the Week (Beer Money Parlay)
Erik Silva + Dalcha Lungiambula + Jay Perrin + Magomed Ankalaev (+2498 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Vinicius Salvador (-200 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4 units
Jay Perrin (+200 at FanDuel Sportsbook) to risk 1 unit
Chris Daukaus Inside the Distance (+195 BetOnline.ag) to risk 1 unit
Ilia Topuria (-145 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 2.9 units
Driscus du Plessis (-165 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 3.3 units
*All odds as of the day of posting.