Magomed Ankalaev fully expected to hear, “AND NEW!” after his main event for the vacant 205-pound crown opposite Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282 this past weekend (Dec. 10, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada, concluded.
Unfortunately for both Light Heavyweight competitors, both had their hands not raised as the fight was scored a depressing split draw (see scorecards here). With many feeling Ankalaev should have won the bout — Blachowicz initially included — Russia’s finest was very upset and confused in the event’s closing moments.
Ankalaev took to the microphone through a translator, noting that he was unsure if he would keep fighting in UFC. This came as a surprising comment directly after an obviously frustrating result, but Ankalaev has since clarified what he meant.
“It was mistranslated, I said I didn’t want to fight in this city anymore,” Ankalaev told MMA Fighting. “Because the judges were horrible. I won this fight. Not one person online said I lost this fight. Even Jan Blachowicz said I won this fight. I get it. After the second round, my knee was gone but I still fought. I bit down on my mouthguard and I did the best I can. This fight can only help me grow and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Matters only got worse for Ankalaev and Blachowicz after their decision was read. Directly after the fight in the post-fight press conference (watch it here), UFC President, Dana White, revealed the promotion had already put together Glover Teixeira versus Jamahal Hill for the still-vacant Light Heavyweight title next month at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Jan. 21, 2023.
Despite Ankalaev now having to wait, there could always be the possibility he faces the winner next if a rematch with Blachowicz isn’t made. Anthony Smith — who pulled the shortest straw of them all — is also an option now that he’s lost his original pairing against Hill for a “Fight Night”-themed main event in early 2023.
“The judges made their decision, but anybody who saw the fight today in the arena or anywhere else in the world, they know who won the fight,” Ankalaev told UFC backstage after UFC 282 (h/t MMA Fighting). “They know who won the title. So, the judges made the decision they made, but I’m going to keep working, I’m going to keep moving forward.”
“I’d like to take my title in 2023,” he concluded. “I’m an uncrowned champion. The title belongs to me, so I’m going to come back in 2023 and take the title that’s rightfully mine.”
Today (Tues., Dec. 13, 2022), Ankalaev further expressed his feelings on the matter after having had a few days to digest everything.
Magomed Ankalaev’s response to UFC 282, via his Inastagram (translated through IG) pic.twitter.com/DcHR0GJAr7— MMA mania (@mmamania) December 13, 2022
For complete UFC 282 results and coverage click here.