UFC 282 was building toward something memorable. With the first 10 fights ending via stoppage it seemed as if the stage was set for the two bouts at the top of the card to deliver an event that could have remembered as one of the better pay-per-view cards of the year. That didn’t happen.
Instead of talking about a spectacular night of fights from top to bottom, many of us who watched UFC 282 as it played out – and that includes the UFC commentary team – as well as UFC president Dana White — were left to wonder just what the hell happened to have the event fall apart the way it did with the final two fights.
On the bright side, all the fighters who earned stoppages took home $50,000 in bonus money.
And while UFC 282 ended on a bit of a downer, it was not all doom and gloom. Read on for the winners and losers from the fight card, which took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The UFC 282 main card streamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN2 and early prelims on ESPN+.
Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill: UFC president Dana White has often said he doesn’t do matchmaking on fight night, so I assume we should all take what White said at the stat of the UFC 282 post-fight press conference with a grain of salt.
White was unhappy with the main event between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev and with that when asked what he and the UFC will do after UFC 282 in the light heavyweight division, White replied, “You do Glover (Teixeira) vs. Jamahal Hill in Brazil for the vacant title. Done.”
Santiago Ponzinibbio: Things were not looking good for Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 282 against Alex Morono, but that all changed with two big right hands. The third-round knockout win ended a two-fight losing skid for Ponzinibbio, who went 7-0 between December 2015 and November 2018.
Alex Morono: Alex Morono accepted his UFC 282 fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio five days before the event. Morono was ahead on two of the scorecards and tied on the third when things went south for him in the third round.
The loss ended a four-fight winning streak for Morono.
Dricus du Plessis: Dricus du Plessis moved to 4-0 in the UFC with a submission win over Darren Till at UFC 282. The victory should move Du Plessis up the official middleweight rankings as he began the fight at No. 14 to Till’s No. 10.
The jury is still out on the upside of Du Plessis. While he has had some impressive moments in his UFC fights, he has also had moments where his cardio has failed him. With the move into top-10 competition, Du Plessis needs to shore up that cardio as he can expect his next foe to try to push the pace on him early.
Ilia Topuria: Ilia Topuria is a bad man. The 25-year-old dominated the previously unbeaten Bryce Mitchell in the striking department and then, as if to prove a point, he fought to Mitchell’s strength on the mat and got the submission finish.
Topuria overwhelmed Mitchell on the feet and controlled the pace and location of the fight and when Mitchell did take his opponent to the mat, Topuria’s defense prevented Mitchell from mounting any offense.
The one thing that gave me some pause about Topuria was that, at times during this fight, he seemed to let his success get to his head at points. When that happened, he fought with too much aggression. I can’t say I blame him for this, but against elite competition, that cocksure attitude could come back to bite him. Outside of that, Topuria looked excellent in moving to 13-0 and earning his fourth straight UFC finish.
Raul Rosas Jr.: Raul Rosas Jr. looked excellent in dispatching Jay Perrin inside the first round at UFC 282. At 18, Rosas has skills and a lot of hype behind him. The key for Rosas, his management and the UFC is not to rush the young man. At 18, Rosas has a lot of time to develop and live up to the praise the UFC is lavishing on him — and man, were the UFC commentary team of Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan all in on Rosas during the broadcast.
It seemed fitting that Rosas made his debut on a fight card where a young fighter who was not handled properly — Edmen Shahbazyan — ended a three-fight losing skid.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik: Jairzinho Rozenstruik came out incredibly fast in his fight opposite Chris Daukaus. Daukaus landed one strike in the early moments of the contest, but after that, it was all Rozenstruik who hurt Daukaus with a jab and then swarmed with a flurry of blows that ended the fight 23 seconds into the first round.
The knockout win ended a two-fight losing skid for the 34-year-old Rozenstruik.
If this fast-start model of Rozenstruik is the version of him that we will see going forward, he will be a problem for his heavyweight opponents — at least early in the first round.
Edmen Shahbazyan: UFC 282 marked the first fight for the 25-year-old Edmen Shahbazyan since a November 2021 knockout loss to Nassourdine Imavov put him on a three-fight losing skid.
Shahbazyan was a little laid back in the early going of his UFC 282 bout opposite Dalcha Lungiambula, but he was a better technical striker than his opponent in this contest. He also smartly used his footwork and movement to avoid the power of Lungiambula while effectively employing body kicks throughout the fight.
That laid-back approach dropped away when Shahbazyan hurt Lungiambula with a knee in the second round. Sensing he had his opponent hurt, Shahbazyan unleashed a flurry of strikes to finish the fight. This win, his first since he knocked out Brad Tavares in 2019, should be a huge confidence booster for the still young middleweight.
Chris Curtis: Chris Curtis bounced back from a July 2022 loss to Jack Hermansson with a nasty knockout win over Joaquin Buckley. Curtis was not very active during this bout, but his power proved to be the equalizer.
Billy Quarantillo: Lesson to future opponents of Billy Quarantillo, unless you are 100 percent sure your cardio can last 15 minutes, or you can get the finish inside the first round, don’t test his cardio. Quarantillo’s fight against Alex Hernandez exemplifies why that approach is a fool’s errand.
Hernandez put a fast pace on Quarantillo in the first round and had a lot of success doing that. However, Hernandez did not sustain his pace. As soon as Quarantillo sensed that Hernandez was running on fumes, he took over the fight and pieced up his opponent to get the second-round finish.
Quarantillo had not fought since he lost a decision to Shane Burgos in November 2021.
Cameron Saaiman and Steven Koslow: This fight was an outstanding prospect matchup until Cameron Saaiman landed an illegal knee to the head of Steven Koslow.
The 25-year-old Koslow displayed impressive ground skills from top position and off his back. As for Saaiman, the 21-year-old has good positional awareness, but his skills still need to catch up to that knowledge.
The promotion has two developing 135-pounders in Saaiman and Koslow and it would do well to bring them along slowly, especially the younger Saaiman, who picked up the TKO win.
Steven Koslow: For this exchange with referee Chris Tognoni after getting kneed in the head:
Ref: “I couldn’t tell exactly where it landed, so that’s why we’re doing the replay.”
Koslow: “It landed on my f–king face.
Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev: UFC president Dana White said of the main event, which ended in a split draw and left the UFC light heavyweight title vacant, “I started to zone out, like f–king three rounds. I heard that Ankalaev is upset and whatever, what do you want me to do? You know? You got beat up the first two rounds and, you know, you took him to the ground you started… What are you gonna do?”
Not long after that, White announced that Teixeira and Hill would get the next shot at the vacant UFC light heavyweight title.
Judging from how Ankalaev handled the outcome of the fight during his post-fight interview, he and his team will not be happy with the UFC’s decision not to run back the UFC 282 main event.
Judges: I don’t score the fights as I watch them live and here’s why: If I can’t give a fight my undivided attention, I don’t offer a score on it. Sometimes I’ll go back and pick apart a fight with the scoring criteria beside me and with the ability to watch things frame-by-frame and in slow motion and with the sound off, but my job on fight night is not to deliver my scoring opinion. With that being said, there are a few media members I trust in scoring these fights and each of those members had Jared Gordon winning the co-main event and Magomed Ankalaev winning the main event.
With the UFC under the microscope for betting irregularities around UFC Vegas 64, the outcome of the headlining fights at UFC 282 won’t reduce the spotlight shining on the promotion.
Fans: Oh boy, the UFC 282 fight card started out so well, with 10 straight finishes, but then a controversial win in the co-main event and a split draw in the headliner, which left the UFC light heavyweight vacant, brought things to a screeching halt. I can’t expect the fans nor the UFC brass are happy that the final pay-per-view card of 2022 played out in this manner.
Jared Gordon: I didn’t watch the Paddy Pimblett vs. Jared Gordon fight with an eye on scoring it, but judging from the outrage, including from some media members who are usually not outspoken about such things, Gordon has to be wondering how he ended up on the wrong end of the decision at UFC 282.
Darren Till: During this first round of his fight against Dricus du Plessis, Darren Till spent a lot of time getting punched in the head and far too much time telling referee Mark Smith that he was still in the fight. Till had a much better second round, but Till’s most significant weaknesses, his takedown defense and lack of a ground game came back to bite him.
With the loss, Till, who has still yet to turn 30, fell to 1-5 in his past six outings. His only win since September 2018 was a November 2019 split decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum.
Bryce Mitchell: Bryce Mitchell has a solid grappling game. What he didn’t have against Ilia Topuria was the ability to take his opponent to the mat and keep him there. Mitchell’s deficiency in the striking department was also glaring at UFC 282.
I wouldn’t say that Mitchell was exposed in his first career loss, but I will note that he and his team should walk away from his defeat to Ilia Topuria with a list of items they need to work on if they want the 28-year-old to reach elite status.
Mitchell will be able to beat most fighters thanks to his ground skills, but without a complete game, Mitchell might have hit his ceiling.
Chris Daukaus: Chris Daukaus has fought three times under the UFC banner in the past year. All three of those fights have ended with him on the wrong side of a knockout.
Daukaus began his UFC run with four knockout wins and three consecutive “Performance of the Night” bonuses. However, he has not had his hand raised in victory since he stopped Shamil Abdurakhimov in September 2021.
Dalcha Lungiambula: With four straight losses and an overall UFC record of 2-5 since he signed with the promotion in 2019, don’t be surprised if UFC 282 marks the end of Lungiambula run with the UFC.
Four of Lungiambula’s losses have come via stoppage, including his TKO defeat to Edmen Shahbazyan on Saturday.
Joaquin Buckley: Joaquin Buckley looked to be in control of his fight against Chris Curtis right up to the point where he wasn’t.
Buckley did a good job in controlling the location and pace of the fight, he mixed up his striking techniques and targets, but all that became moot when Curtis caught Buckley’s leg and then landed a massive left-hand counter that dropped Buckley to the mat.
Alexander Hernandez: Alexander Hernandez looked good out of the gate during his UFC featherweight debut (he opened his career at 145 pounds, but moved to 155 in 2014). He showed good energy and nice power, but he was too aggressive in trying to show he could out cardio an opponent known for his cardio in Billy Quarantillo. Hernandez paid the price when Quarantillo finished him in the second round.
Hernandez is on the first losing skid of his UFC career with the loss to Quarantillo. His previous bout was a second-round submission defeat to Renato Moicano in February.
Jon Anik: During T.J. Brown’s walkout, UFC commentator Jon Anik said that Brown’s coach, James Krause was available for this event.
“James Krause was going to be in his corner here tonight, but for obvious reasons, he is not,” said Anik.
I understand the UFC doesn’t want to advertise a coach is under investigation for betting irregularities, but to say Krause was absent “for obvious reasons” assumes everyone who tuned into the UFC 282 prelims knows what’s going on outside of fight night. That’s a huge assumption and one that a broadcaster with Anik’s resume should know he should not make.
UFC commentary team: This is something that happens a lot in MMA. When a fighter lands an illegal blow, in this case, Cameron Saaiman’s knee to the downed Steven Koslow, the commentators are quick to stress how the impact was “inadvertent” or “accidental.” Sorry, but the only person who knows if this is true is the fighter. Folks, you’re not mind readers; report what you see. At UFC 282 we saw an illegal knee to a downed opponent.
Misc: Anyone who offered the opinion that Steven Koslow didn’t want to continue after Cameron Saaiman blasted him in the head with an illegal knee.
Paddy Pimblett: Pimblett has charisma, confidence and star power. He also has admirable offensive striking skills and a nasty ground game. What he doesn’t have is striking defense or the ability to fight a grinding fight against the fence. One day that will bite him. Should that day have been Saturday? Perhaps, but the judges didn’t see it that way.
That said, even though Pimblett got the win at UFC 282, that was not the type of win that should give the UFC confidence that Pimblett’s star will continue to rise once he begins to face top-15 opposition.