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Magomad Ankalaev KOs Johnny Walker in rematch to potentially set up UFC light heavyweight title shot

In Sports
January 14, 2024
Feb 23, 2019; Prague, Czech Republic; Magomed Ankalaev (red gloves) defeats Klidson Abreu (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at 02 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Magomad Ankalaev has a path to a title shot after dispatching Johnny Walker. (Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time since July 2022, a Magomed Ankalaev fight ended with a winner. It might be enough to set up another title shot for the Russian.

Ankalaev put away Johnny Walker in brutal fashion in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night, seemingly breaking the Brazilian’s nose with a hard right for a second-round KO.

The win continues Ankalaev’s unbeaten streak to 12 fights (with 10 wins) and makes him a prime candidate to take on new UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira. Pereira took the chronically vacant belt against Jiří Procházka with a second-round TKO.

Saturday’s fight was essentially a resumption of Ankalaev and Walker’s controversial finish at UFC 294 in October, in which the fight was ruled a no-contest in the first round after an accidental knee kick officially left Walker unable to continue. That was apparently news to Walker.

An apparent miscommunication with the ringside physician caused referee Rich Mitchell to call the fight. Walker vigorously protested, shoving Mitchell and attempting to re-engage Ankalaev to continue the fight. Ankalaev seemed pretty game, but the decision was made.

The confrontation got physical enough that Dana White entered the Octagon.

The UFC wasted little time booking the rematch.

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