Magomed Ankalaev might have an understated demeanor outside of the cage, but the surging light heavyweight contender promises to steal the show Saturday when he meets former champion Jan Blachowicz for the vacant interim title in the main event of UFC 282. Their five-round showdown anchors the main UFC 282 fight card (10 p.m. ET) from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The No. 4-ranked Ankalaev has won nine straight UFC fights amid minimal fanfare because his sometimes-cautious style has failed to win favor among MMA fans. But he plans to change that by defeating the No. 3-ranked Blachowicz, who is looking to become the champion for a second time. The opportunity became available when sitting champion Jiri Prochazka was shelved indefinitely with a severe shoulder injury.

Caesars Sportsbook lists Ankalaev as the -260 favorite (risk $260 to win $100), while Blachowicz comes back at +220 in the latest UFC 282 odds. In the co-main event, lightweight prospects take the spotlight when Paddy Pimblett (-245) squares off against Jared Gordon (+205). Before locking in any UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev picks, make sure you see the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine analyst Kyle Marley.  

Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every professional MMA card and does extensive research before each event. 

Over the past three-plus years, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $12,000. The accomplished MMA analyst launched the 2022 UFC season in January by advising SportsLine members to support Calvin Kattar (+200) against Giga Chikadze (-240) in the featherweight main event. Kattar's lopsided unanimous-decision victory gave Marley's followers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed him is way up. 

Now, with UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev in sight, Marley has studied the card from top to bottom and revealed his best bets. You can only see his MMA picks at SportsLine.

UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev preview 

The UFC brass decided to go the interim-title route when it became clear that the original main event would be in limbo indefinitely. The opportunity fell to Blachowicz and Ankalaev, both of whom were top candidates for the next title fight at light heavyweight and were already set to face each other on the card. 

Blachowicz (29-9) memorably went on a late-career surge that saw him win nine of 10 fights and capture the belt in the process. His first successful defense came against former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who was undefeated at the time and aiming to become a two-division champion. 

But the 39-year-old Polish slugger, who is best known for his massive power and underrated athleticism, came out flat against Teixeira and was submitted in the second round at UFC 267. However, he rebounded with a stoppage win over No. 5-ranked Aleksandar Rakic in May to rejoin the title picture. 

Ankalaev (18-1) joined the UFC as an undefeated and coveted prospect known for his length and knockout power, but his rise was briefly derailed by a last-second submission loss to journeyman Paul Craig in his UFC debut.

The 30-year-old Russian fighter has since won nine straight, but his stock dipped a bit because he faced mostly modest competition during that span. Moreover, a relatively cautious style led to three consecutive lackluster decision victories. But the prospect recaptured some of his momentum and fan support behind a second-round stoppage of former title challenger Anthony Smith at UFC 277 in May. You can see who to back here.

UFC 282 predictions

We'll share one of Marley's UFC 282 selections here: He is going with Ilia Topuria (-140) to get the better of Bryce Mitchell (+120) in a battle of rising featherweight contenders on the main card. This fight has become one of the most anticipated on the card in part because both prospects are undefeated and they created additional intrigue by engaging in a war of words throughout this week at various media outings.

Mitchell (15-0) is a wrestler and grappler who is known for wearing down his opponents with a nonstop pace that has led to nine submissions. The 28-year-old Arkansas native is coming off a decision win against veteran contender Edson Barboza in March.

Topuria (12-0) is regarded for his lethal combination of explosive striking and a world-class ground game. The 35-year-old Georgian fighter has gone 4-0 in the UFC while finishing his last three opponents inside of two rounds. He stopped fellow prospect Jai Herbert in the second round of their March battle.

"At this level, Mitchell really needs to wrestle and grapple only. That is where his edge will be in every fight. Topuria is solid on the mat as well and he is a skilled striker with one-shot power. Topuria has more ways to win, so I will side with him," Marley told SportsLine. See who else to pick here.

How to make UFC 282 picks 

Marley has strong picks for Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev and every other bout on the UFC 282 fight card. He's also backing a fighter who "is the more dangerous fighter everywhere" to emerge with a dominant victory. Marley's picks and predictions are only available at SportsLine.

Who wins Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 282, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $12,000 on MMA in the past three years, and find out.

UFC 282 odds, fight card

See full UFC 282 picks, predictions, and best bets here

Magomed Ankalaev (-260) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+220)
Paddy Pimblett (-245) vs. Jared Gordon (+205)
Santiago Ponzinibbio (-170) vs Alex Morono (+150):
Dricus du Plessis (-180) vs. Darren Till (+160)
Ilia Topuria (-140) vs. Bryce Mitchell (+120)
Joaquin Buckley (-155) vs. Chris Curtis (+135)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-165) vs. Chris Daukaus (+145)
Raul Rosas (-240) vs. Jay Perrin (+200)
Edmen Shahbazyan (-310) vs. Dalcha Lungiambula (+255)
Billy Quarantillo (-170) vs. Alexander Hernandez (+150)
Erik Silva (-115) vs. TJ Brown (-105)
Vinicius Salvador (-210) vs. Daniel Da Silva (+180)
Cameron Saaiman (-310) vs. Steven Koslow (+255)