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A new light heavyweight champion will be crowned and a superstar could emerge in the UFC's final pay-per-view event of the year. UFC 282 lands inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night with a card that has plenty of opportunity for thrills despite its shortage of star power.

Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev tip the bill with the vacant light heavyweight title on the line. The title was left open after Jiri Prochazka was forced to let it go because of a serious shoulder injury that will sideline him for more than a year. 

Blachowicz, 39, earned the title in 2020 with a thunderous knockout of Dominick Reyes. He then scored a surprising decision over middleweight champion Israel Adesanya before being submitted by Glover Teixeira in October 2021 to cede the title. Now, after earning a win over Aleksandr Rakic because of a knee injury, Blachowicz looks to become golden again.

The expectation, according to UFC president Dana White, is that the winner of the main event will take on Glover Teixeira next in 2023. Then, whoever wins that matchup will take on Prochazka once he is healthy and cleared to return as was discussed with the former champ when he gave up his title before undergoing shoulder surgery. It should provide some clarity in a division that has developed tons of parity with the absence for long reigning titleholder Jon Jones.

Paddy Pimblett has quickly emerged as a fan favorite on the strength of his wacky, brash persona and ability to deliver finishes in fun fights. The dissolution of Prochazka vs. Teixeira 2 has redirected even more focus toward Pimblett. An impressive showing against the experienced Jared Gordon in the co-main event will fuel the rocket strapped to his back.

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"This is just normal to me," Pimblett told CBS Sports this week. "Another step forward in my career and legacy. It's nothing new. I knew all of the attention was going to be on me anyways, even when Glover was facing Jiri on the card.

"I was born to do this, lad. This is what I was meant to do... I've always envisioned this and saw this in my future."

With so much happening on Saturday night, let's take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to our staff predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.

UFC 282 fight card, odds

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

  • Magomed Ankalaev -340 vs. Jan Blachowicz +270, light heavyweights
  • Paddy Pimblett -260 vs. Jared Gordon +210, lightweights
  • Santiago Ponzinibbio -170 vs. Alex Morono +145, 180-pound catchweight
  • Dricus Du Plessis -180 vs. Darren Till +155, middleweights
  • Ilia Topuria -160 vs. Bryce Mitchell +135, featherweights
  • Raul Rosas Jr. -240 vs. Jay Perrin +200, bantamweights
  • Jairzinho Rozenstruik -175 vs. Chris Daukaus +150, heavyweights
  • Edmen Shahbazyan -330 vs. Dalcha Lungiambula +260, middleweights
  • Joaquin Buckley -170 vs. Chris Curtis +145, middleweights
  • Billy Quarantillo -165 vs. Alexander Hernandez +140, featherweights
  • Erik Silva -110 vs. TJ Brown -110, featherweights
  • Cameron Saaiman -360 vs. Steven Koslow +280, bantamweights

With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer, co-host of "Morning Kombat"), Shakiel Mahjouri (writer), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (senior editor).

UFC 282 picks, predictions

Blachowicz vs. AnkalaevAnkalaevAnakalevAnkalaevAnkalaevAnkalaev
Pimblett vs. GordonPimblettGordonPimblettPimblettPimblett
Ponzinibbio vs. MoronoPonzinibbio
du Plessis vs. TillTilldu Plessisdu Plessisdu Plessisdu Plessis
Topuria vs. MitchellTopuriaTopuriaTopuriaTopuriaTopuria
Records to date (2022)29-2429-2427-2626-2732-21

Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev

Campbell: A nine-fight win streak only begins to describe the level of threat Ankalaev has been putting on the 205-pound title picture. The native of Dagestan, Russia, appears as if he belongs among the recent influx of dominant fighters from that region as a true dual threat. Ankalaev is a bit more patient than some of his countryman but just as technically skilled as he is powerful. As a former champion, Blachowicz is no slouch and should provide some resistance. But Ankalaev's light heavyweight takeover has felt inevitable.

Brookhouse: Ankalaev is a scary man. He has a serious blend of technique and power. But it's how he waits for the right moment to explode that makes him so dangerous. Ankalaev does not go all-out from the jump. Instead, he finds the appropriate moment to let go when his attacks will be most effective. Blachowicz has always been something of a hit or miss fighter. At times, he looks like the best fighter in the world, in others he looks overwhelmed. It's usually against technically sound fighters where Blachowicz struggles. This is a recipe for a very bad night for the former champion.

Pimblett vs. Gordon

Campbell: The brash product of Liverpool, England, might not be fighting someone on his level from the standpoint of star power entering Pimblett's pay-per-view debut -- in a co-main event, no less. But the real question is whether Gordon is talented enough to outwork and outsmart "The Baddy" over the long haul. Pimblett, despite his often daring style, has consistently been able to raise his game to another level when the moment demands it. That level of poise and belief can rarely be weaponized, but Pimblett seems to do just that, which makes the idea of him imploding in any disastrous form unlikely. Eventually, Pimblett will be due to have his day, when his momentum runs out and he finds out the ceiling of his capabilities. It just doesn't feel as if this is that fight. 

Mahjouri: Gordon will present a disciplined approach that Pimblett's first two UFC opponents lacked. Jordan Leavitt stuck to the game plan but was overwhelmed by Pimblett's creative attacks and commitment to offense. Gordon is an appropriate step up in competition but has thus far lacked the finishing ability to capitalize on Pimblett's defense gaps. UFC sees big money in Pimblett and they're going to match him with increasingly difficult but manageable challenges until he tops out. Pimblett via stoppage.

Topuria vs. Mitchell

Brookhouse: Topuria is too good of a wrestler and hits too hard for Mitchell to handle. Mitchell's grappling is top-notch but it's unlikely to work well against someone with Topuria's top game. And, while Mitchell is scrappy on the feet, there's just no way he wants the fight to hang out there, with Topuria able to turn out his lights at any moment. There's just no clear path to victory for Mitchell while it's very easy to see Topuria winning this fight in any number of ways.

Mahjouri: Topuria has future world title challenger written all over him. Many view this fight as undefeated striker vs. undefeated grappler with Topuria labeled as the former. Three consecutive knockouts in the UFC bury Topuria's early success. The Georgian-Spanish fighter started his career with seven straight submission wins. Make no mistake he is the total package. Topuria packs dynamite in his fists, suffocates on the ground, oozes confidence and possesses a mean streak. He showed durability and toughness in his last fight against Jai Herbert. Mitchell is a wizard on the ground, fights calmly under pressure and can mix it up on the feet. This won't be easy for Topuria but I'm confident he has everything it takes to overcome Mitchell and make a run at the division's elite.

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.