At UFC 282, Magomed Ankalaev is sure that he won't falter under Jan Blachowicz's "Polish power" and that nothing would prevent him from winning the unoccupied light heavyweight championship.
Ankalaev and Blachowicz will square off in Saturday's main event at T-Mobile Arena. Jiri Procházka had a severe shoulder injury that may prevent him from competing for more than a year, therefore the title is currently vacant, and a new king of the light heavyweight division will be named.
Ankalaev, who now leads the 205-pound weight division with a remarkable 9-fight winning streak in the UFC, has been climbing the rankings for some time. Now that his chance has come, he vows to seize it.
“The day has finally arrived, the day we waited for for so long,” he said via a translator. “We will show what we are worth this Saturday. We will come and take what’s rightfully ours.”
After sitting for so long, it would be understandable if Ankalaev lacked motivation, but the 30-year-old fighter claims he persisted.
“I basically did step by step, I always fought whoever they put in front of me, I didn’t pick my opponents, and I pretty much knew that at some point, they would not have a choice but to give me a title fight,” he said.
Initially, his UFC 282 matchup with former champion Blachowicz was the kind of contest that served as an informal championship decider, with a victory securing a crack. Due to an injury that prompted Jiri Procházka to relinquish the championship, the victor will now be regarded as the finest light heavyweight in the UFC.
“Of course, the stakes are much higher now, and I’m more motivated,” Ankalaev said. “I have a goal that I’m going to. I’ve trained really hard for this.”
After dropping the strap to Teixeira, Blachowicz takes the stage with a campaign to win it back. With "famous Polish power," which he intends to employ against Ankalaev on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, he most recently defeated Aleksandr Rakic when Rakic received a leg injury.
But Ankalaev is resolute and not scared of the Polish Power. He plans to take over the fight from the beginning and leave the octagon with the gold around his waist.
“I can’t say anything bad about Blachowicz as an opponent,” Ankalaev said. “He’s a great fighter, a great guy, but this fight is my dream. This is my opportunity. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure I come out of that octagon with a title.