Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report from ESPN.
The matchup between Blachowicz and Ankalaev came together after the UFC opted to move forward with an immediate rematch between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira, which is still targeted for the same card but that matchup could also potentially get pushed to January at UFC 283.
Either way, Blachowicz and Ankalaev are set to clash in a battle between two of the top 205-pound fighters in the world.
After losing the UFC light heavyweight title to Teixeira in 2021, Blachowicz bounced back with a win over Aleksandar Rakic and he hoped that would earn him an immediate shot at gold again. Instead, he’ll draw a fight against Ankalaev, who has been making a slow and steady climb up the UFC ranks since first arriving in the promotion.
With an 18-1 record, Ankalaev has long been considered a threat to win 205-pound gold and he’s now riding an impressive nine-fight win streak capped off by back-to-back wins over a pair of former title challengers in Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos.
A win over Blachowicz would almost certainly secure a title shot for Ankalaev, which raises the stakes for the fight that will take place at the UFC’s final pay-per-view in 2022.