Only three events remain in the year for our MMASucka staff picks.
UFC 282 is set to take place later tonight, December 10th from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Early prelims will begin live at 6:30pm ET (3:30pm PT) on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ with the regular preliminary card at 8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT) on ESPN 2 and ESPN+. The final pay-per-view of 2022, available to purchase through ESPN+, will see the main card begin at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT).
Live results from UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev will be available here at MMASucka.
Be sure to recap our staff picks from Friday night’s Bellator 289 event. Also, stay tuned to MMASucka next Saturday, December 17th for our UFC Vegas 66 picks and Saturday, December 31st for our Bellator MMA vs. Rizin picks.
Tonight’s card has seen its fair share of changes.
Jiri Prochazka was to defend his light heavyweight championship against former title holder Glover Teixeira until a shoulder injury forced Prochazka out of the title fight. In turn, he would vacate his belt as now the 205-pound vacant championship will be settled between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev. The fight was shifted from the co-main event to the main event with Teixeira removed from the card entirely.
Blachowicz will look to capture his second UFC championship after holding the title for one defense over Israel Adesanya before suffering a second-round submission defeat in October of last year to the aforementioned Teixeira. The long-time veteran and former KSW light heavyweight king targets his second victory of 2022 after his opponent, Aleksandar Rakic, suffered a knee injury in the third round of their May bout. Blachowicz’s opponent, Ankalaev, gets the biggest opportunity of his career in what will be his second promotional main event. A world-class Sambo talent, the Russian rides a nine-fight win streak since his only professional loss in 19 fights to Paul Craig in his 2018 octagon debut.
In the co-main event, Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon will meet for a potential three rounds at 155 pounds. Former Cage Warriors featherweight champion Pimblett looks to continue his momentum as he targets six wins in-a-row including two already this year over Rodrigo Vargas and Jordan Leavitt. Former Cage Fury FC champion Gordon aims for two straight after his unanimous decision win in August over Leonardo Santos.
16-fight UFC veteran Alex Morono has stepped in on short-notice after former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler was forced out of his bout with Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio. Morono and Ponzinibbio will meet at a catchweight of 180 pounds.
Two additional fights compose the night’s pay-per-view as former welterweight title challenger Darren Till faces off against former EFC and KSW champion Dricus du Plessis while rising stars Bryce Mitchell and Ilia Topuria put their undefeated careers on the line at featherweight.
Who are the MMASucka staff picking to win at UFC 282? Find out further below.
— MMASucka (@MMASucka) December 10, 2022
Staff picks in 2022 will follow the same set of rules from the 2021 season. Throughout the calendar year, staff picks will be composed of main card fights from both UFC and Bellator events. Main card fights and selected preliminary fights will be included for PFL MMA. Dana White’s Contender Series are composed of bouts from the entire card.
The WINNER of staff picks in 2022 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a chain from Championship Chains. A winner is determined simply by the individual correctly picking the most victorious fighters at the year’s end. Nate Freeman secured his first victory with MMASucka in 2021 with a compiled record 243-136.
See below for our UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev staff picks.
Staff Records after UFC on ESPN 42:
1. Wesley Riddle: 248-132
2. Michael DeSantis: 245-135
3. Frazer Krohn: 240-140
4. Nate Freeman: 236-130
5. Jeremy Brand: 229-144
6. Andrew Benjamin: 204-159
7. Tim Wheaton: 188-117
8. Julio Monteros Jr.: 177-102
9. William Dong: 173-106
10. Chris Presnell: 170-120
11. Brian Knight: 150-110
12. Jack Goodwillie: 138-72
13. Mike Lynch: 123-74
14. Brandon Joint: 115-74
15. Ash Camyab: 105-77
16. Coby Weinsier: 87-47
17. Roemello Reyes: 75-45
18. Chinyere Okafor: 72-38
19. Jacek Okninski: 70-58
20. Ben Jamieson: 61-30
21. Matt Bricker: 24-22
22. Joe Porter: 11-5
*Note – not all staff pick for every event*
*Note – Bellator 289 picks will be added to the above records NEXT weekend*
Bryce Mitchell (15-1), +125
Ilia Topuria (12-0), -145
– 145 lbs. –
Jeremy Brand: Topuria via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Topuria via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Topuria via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Topuria via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Topuria via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Topuria via Round 2 TKO
Julio Monteros Jr.: Topuria via Round 2 TKO
Brian Knight: Mitchell via Round 2 SUB
Ben Jamieson: Topuria via Round 2 TKO
Staff picking Mitchell: 1
Staff picking Topuria: 8
Darren Till (18-4-1), +150
Dricus du Plessis (17-2), -175
– 185 lbs. –
Jeremy Brand: du Plessis via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: du Plessis via Unanimous Decision
Michael DeSantis: du Plessis via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: du Plessis via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Till via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: du Plessis via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Till via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Till via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: du Plessis via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Till: 3
Staff picking du Plessis: 6
Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-6), -175
Alex Morono (22-7, 1 NC), +150
– 180 lbs. –
Jeremy Brand: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Ponzinibbio via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Ponzinibbio via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Brian Knight: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Ben Jamieson: Ponzinibbio via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Ponzinibbio: 9
Staff picking Morono: 0
Paddy Pimblett (19-3), -250
Jared Gordon (19-5), +210
– 155 lbs. –
Jeremy Brand: Gordon via Round 2 SUB
Wesley Riddle: Pimblett via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Pimblett via Unanimous Decision
Andrew Benjamin: Gordon via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Pimblett via Round 2 SUB
Nate Freeman: Gordon via Unanimous Decision
Julio Monteros Jr.: Pimblett via Round 2 TKO
Brian Knight: Pimblett via Round 2 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Pimblett via Round 1 SUB
Staff picking Pimblett: 6
Staff picking Gordon: 3
Jan Blachowicz (29-9), +280
Magomed Ankalaev (18-1), -340
Vacant Light Heavyweight Championship
– 205 lbs. –
Jeremy Brand: Ankalaev via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Ankalaev via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Ankalaev via Round 4 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Blachowicz via Round 3 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Ankalaev via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Ankalaev via Round 2 SUB
Julio Monteros Jr.: Ankalaev via Round 3 SUB
Brian Knight: Ankalaev via Round 3 TKO
Ben Jamieson: Ankalaev via Unanimous Decision
Staff picking Blachowicz: 1
Staff picking Ankalaev: 8