Ankalaev Puts Walker to Sleep and Puts Controversy Over First Fight to Bed

January 15, 2024
2 months

Magomed Ankalaev couldn’t help but think another disappointment was coming. During the first round of his fight night card Saturday night in Las Vegas, Ankalaev accidentally kicked Johnny Walker below the belt. The fight between the two men last year ended following a doctor’s stoppage following an illegal knee.

But this time, there was no miscommunication between Walker and the doctor to force a stoppage. Once things resumed, Analaev was able to continue to stalk his prey. Ankalaev caught Walker with a stiff punch, sending him butt-down along the cage.

Ankalaev followed with another ferocious punch to force a stoppage to the bout. It was an impressive win for Ankalaev, who may be a victim of being in a log-jammed light heavyweight division. Ankalaev had his opportunity to fight for the title against former champion Jan Błachowicz, but the fight was an ugly, slow affair that ended in a split draw.

Ankalaev is No. 3 in the rankings, but his impressive win over Walker may not result in an immediate title shot against Alex Pereira. Ankalaev said after the fight that he would be willing to turn around quickly to fight Pereira for the championship in April. But there are several other strong challengers who may get their opportunity first.

Former champion Jamahal Hill is the No. 1 contender and is next in line. However, Hill still hasn’t recovered from a previous injury and needs time to heal. If the UFC needs someone to make a quick turnaround, Ankalaev may fit the bill, according to the best MMA news site.

40 and Thriving 

Jim Miller, 40, repeatedly said he would like a spot on the UFC 300 card. The New Jersey native fighter appeared on the UFC 89 card but also fought in the UFC 100 and 200 events. While many fighters slow down later in their careers, Miller has been giving opponents much younger than him fits.

Saturday night, Miller improved his UFC record by grabbing his 26th career victory in the promotion. He was able to force Gabriel Benítez to the mat in the third round and forced a tap out. Miller is now 37-17 in his career with one no contest.

Twenty of Miller’s victories have come by decision. While Miller hasn’t been announced for UFC 300 yet, putting on another solid performance should earn him an opportunity, according to MMAfighting latest news.

Bautista Continues to Impress

Mario Bautista was a significant underdog to Ricky Simon in his bantamweight fight. After his performance, Bautista won’t suffer that much disrespect again anytime soon. Bautista used his efficient striking and strong striking defense to grind out a unanimous decision.

Bautista has now won six straight fights.

Hawes Ends Up on Another Highlight Reel

Phil Hawes provides plenty of highlight-reel material for the UFC to cut into packages. Unfortunately for Hawes, his appearances are typically for show-stopping finishes for his opponents. Saturday night proved to be the same for Hawes.

He was competitive for much of the first round. Hawes was able to create some offense of his own. However, late in the round, Bruno Ferreira caught Hawes with a stiff punch that sent Hawes to the canvas. Ferreira followed up with an uncomfortable number of strikes while Hawes was out before the fight was waived off with 5 seconds left in the first round.

Hawes has now been knocked out in four of his previous fights. It is likely that Hawes will soon be cut from the organization.

Arlovski is Still a Tough Old Man

Andrei Arlovski, 44, was the UFC’s heavyweight champion nearly two decades ago. For whatever reason, Arlovski still feels the desire to compete. Waldo Cortes-Acosta is a young heavyweight from Dana White Contender’s Series who was hoping to bring him down.

Cortes-Acosta picked up a decision, but he had to work for it. Arlovski has now lost three straight fights and is likely nearing the end of his time in the UFC. Cortes-Acosta not getting a knockout has to be a great disappointment to the prospect.

When Cortes-Acosta came on the Contender Series, he was lauded for his stopping power. But Cortes-Acosta’s time on the main roster hasn’t borne that out. Five of his six fights have gone the distance.

Cortes-Acosta’s only knockout in the UFC came against Łukasz Brzeski, according to MMA news sites.

McGhee Makes Case for Bigger Spots

Marcus McGhee has found life in the UFC to be a comfortable living. McGhee has now made three appearances in the UFC, and all three fights have ended with McGhee winning by finish. His most recent victory came in spectacular fashion.

McGhee’s most recent win over Gaston Bolaños will be hard for fight fans to forget. In the second round, McGhee stung Bolaños with a right hook that sent Bolaños down to the octagon floor face first. While McGhee raised his hands to celebrate a win, the referee didn’t stop the fight.

When Bolaños fought back to his feet, McGhee stung him with a spinning kick and another punch before the referee stepped in. McGhee is now 8-1 in his career and likely earned an opportunity to make a step up in competition.

Parsons Upsets Semelsberger

Preston Parsons didn’t leave much doubt about who was the better fighter in the featured preliminary fight. Parsons controlled the fight from the opening bell, leaning on his power and precision to beat Matthew Semelsberger. According to the judges, the decision wasn’t a tough one to make.

Parsons won all three rounds, as indicated by all three judges. Here’s a look at the other fights on the card not mentioned above:

  • Bantamweight: Farida Basharat defeat Taylor Lapilus by decision, 30-27×3
  • Featherweight: Jean Silva TKO (punches) Westin Wilson, Round 1 4:12
  • Lightweight: Nikolas Motta TKO (punches) Tom Nolan, Round 1 1:03
  • Flyweight: Joshua Van TKO (punches) Felipe Bunes, Round 2 4:31

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