What on earth are we supposed to do with the light heavyweight division?
UFC 282 was supposed to inject a little clarity into the 205-pound ranks after Jiri Prochazka’s untimely shoulder injury thrust the weight class into chaos. Instead, it’s only left us more confused than ever, with the UFC having pivoted from one impromptu title fight to another following Magomed Ankalaev’s split draw with Jan Blachowicz this past Saturday. Now it’s suddenly Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill (sorry, Anthony Smith) who are slated to vie for the still-vacant belt on January 21 at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It’s a bizarre situation, and no one has more right to gripe than Anklaev.
I scored the bout as most people did — 48-47 for Magomed Ankalaev, giving him rounds one, four, and five. It may not have been the second coming of Prochazka vs. Teixeira, but Ankalaev has every reason to be upset. He persevered through certain defeat after Blachowicz’s early barrage of leg kicks, made the necessary adjustments, pivoted to his wrestling, and gutted out what should’ve been a defining moment of his career — a championship performance in the championship rounds.
But what did Ankalaev’s performance mean in the grand scheme of the division?
UFC 282’s main event may not have officially counted as a win for Anklaev, but it was enough for the 30-year-old to vault over Blachowicz and settle into a No. 4 spot on the global light heavyweight ranks. Notably, Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov also injected himself back into the conversation with his latest revenge win over Corey Anderson at Bellator 288, which propelled him back into a top-3 ranking.
Still, neither result was enough for either to eclipse Teixeira. The old warhorse continues to hold firm to his No. 2 ranking — and considering the UFC’s abrupt change of plans, it’s not crazy to think he could soon be riding off into the sunset after recapturing his belt in front of his countrymen with an advantageous matchup against the No. 10 ranked Hill.
Do you agree with the new light heavyweight rankings? Should Anklaev have gotten a bigger bump or is Teixeira still the right call at No. 2? Is Nemkov being criminally underrated?
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Who’s should be the No. 2 light heavyweight in the world?
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