UFC 282: Hard-hitters try to replace Jiri

Misfortune has robbed all UFC fans of rematch to the exciting Light Heavyweight championship fight between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira from last June. Prochazka won the belt by submitted Teixeira on a rear-naked choke with 28 seconds left in the fifth round of a fight he may have been losing.

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Prochazka had to pull out of UFC 282 after suffering a major shoulder injury while wrestling in training. Losing a main event so close to the Dec. 10 fight card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas left the UFC scrambling. Former Light Heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz will fight Magomed Ankalaev for an interim championship.

Here’s a look at some of the best fights on the guard to bet on.

Rozenstruik needs to right the ship

Rozenstruik, a striker out of Suriname, came to the UFC with a reputation for being a viscous knockout artist. While Rozenstruik, who is the No. 8 ranked heavyweight, has shown the power in his hands, he has also suffered a lot of professional disappointment. He is only 6-4 in the UFC, which dropped his career record to 12-4.

At UFC 282, Rozenstruik will be looking to prove he deserves that ranking against another struggling heavyweight, Chris Daukaus. Daukaus, who is the No. 11 heavyweight in the rankings, quit the police force to focus on fight full time.

Daukaus, who is 12-5 on his career, had a five-fight knockout streak snapped by Derrick Lewis last November. He was knocked out again by Curtis Blaydes in March of this year. Keep a close eye for the knockout prop on this game.

Daukaus has struggled since he stepped up in competition. This will be another ugly ending.

Prediction: Rozenstruik (-195), Rozenstruik by KO

High pedigree heavyweights ready for meeting

Arkansas-native Bryce Mitchell has a world-class wrestling game. Spanish native Ilia Topuria has immaculate striking. Pairing the two together will provide the UFC with a featherweight scrap that could showcase a future champion.

Mitchell is a colorful grappler, who is 15-0 on his career with nine submissions. By beating Edson Barboza by decision last March, Mitchell showed he could handle a step up in competition. Topuria, who is from the Republic of Georgia, doesn’t usually let fights go to the scorecards.

He has finished 11 of his 12 opponents, including seven by submission and four by knockout. Topuria has recorded three straight KOs in the UFC, including a second-round knockout of Jai Herbert last March.

Mitchell showed in his last fight agianst Barboza that he can strike. What Mitchell must prove now is he can bet another legit contender. Topuria will grab a win here.

Prediction: Topuria (-165), Topuria to win by decision

Action Man ready to rebound

PFL veteran Chris Curtis had an eight-fight winning streak, including three in a row in the UFC, stopped in a decision loss to Jack Hermansson last July in England. During Curtis’ last fight, he chased Hermansson around the octagon for three rounds, hardly getting any strikes in. Curtis was frustrated Hermansson didn’t want to engaged and shot him the middle finger to end the fight.

When Curtis fights Joaquin Buckley at UFC 282, he won’t have to worry about his opponent avoiding engaging. Buckley has made a career of finishing fights with highlight reel KOs. He is 15-5 in his career and seen 14 of those end inside the distance.

Buckley is 11-3 in fights that end by knockout. Curtis is a more deliberate striker who hasn’t put his opponents away at such a high clip. Over his career, Curtis is 29-9 overall with 16 wins by stoppage.

Prediction: Curtis +115, Over 2.5 rounds