This week Robbie Lawler was forced to withdraw from his fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 282, removing another fight originally scheduled for the UFC 282 Main Card. Though Alex Morono has stepped up to face Ponzinibbio in a Catchweight match, Lawler is a massive loss for the card that had already lost its main event.
Many fans were drawn in by the rematch of the all-time fight that occurred back in June between Glover and Jiri and by some bigger legacy names such as Lawler and Darren Till. However, with the shake-up to the card, UFC 282 is now a showcase of the newer stars in the UFC prime to leave a lasting impression in the early stages of their career.
What can one say about Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett that someone hasn’t already said? The 27-year-old from Huyton, England, has taken over the hearts of MMA fans around the world with his charismatic smile, insatiable postfight appetite, and iconic blonde hairstyle. Paddy has also amassed three performance of the night bonuses, earning one in all of his UFC fights to date. Paddy is set to face Jared Gordon in what has been promoted to the Co-main event after the rearrangement to the card, and it’s totally deserved. The UFC and MMA fans alike would like nothing more than for Paddy just to come out and have another dominating performance to close out his year.
Dricus Du Plessis
Dricus Du Plessis has only three UFC fights under his belt so far but has shown up and shown out in each and every one. With 17 wins and 16 finishes to his name, the South African is putting his country on the map, and though his first fight in the promotion was back in 2020, many will get to know him as Darren Till’s opponent for UFC 282. If Du Plessis has a good performance, he should end the night with many more fans than he will have as he starts his walk to the octagon.
Ankalaev isn’t a new face to the UFC by any means. His first UFC fight took place all the way back in 2018, and he has slowly been building a name for himself in the promotion since. Currently, on a 9-fight win streak, Ankalaev has been fast-tracked for a championship opportunity as the UFC, by all accounts, had Ankalaev as a non-negotiable of the new main event at UFC 282 when Prochazka had to pull out. The UFC obviously believes that Ankalaev has the ability to be a huge star in their Light Heavyweight division, and if he can win the belt in dominating fashion, it’s hard to picture MMA fans not embracing yet another champion from Dagestan further cementing their reign over the MMA world.
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