Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker will meet again when the two light heavyweights face each other for a rematch at UFC Apex on Saturday. When these two met initially at UFC 294, their fight was declared no contest due to Ankalaev throwing an illegal knee while Walker was kneeling down; Walker is not happy about this decision and hopes to rectify it in their five-round main event bout at Apex.
Since joining the UFC in 2018, Ankalaev has been an outstanding performer. The Russian quickly rose through the ranks before suffering his first loss against Paul Craig. Following that setback, however, Ankalaev won a rematch over Ion Cutelaba before getting another good finish against Anthony Smith that got him into title contention.
While Ankalaev may not be the most entertaining fighter to watch, he is an efficient and patient warrior. A gifted boxer (particularly with his hooks), Ankalaev possesses an intuitive understanding of when and how best to strike.
Walker also offers an effective ground game. His double-collar choke allows him to land powerful strikes from top position, and he excels at giving top control. Walker is an adept grappler; however, his defense needs improvement if he wants to avoid giving up the back.
Walker remains confident despite a rough finish against Ankalaev and remains optimistic of winning this fight. With potential top-10 contender status and impressive topside attacks from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, this fight could go the distance as Walker displays some devastating knees and elbows from topside as a capable finisher; he must improve on defense while keeping an eye on gas usage as the fight moves forward into later rounds.
Walker’s game has improved significantly, but Ankalaev is too versatile. For the brief duration of their first encounter, Ankalaev appeared at ease with Walker’s frenetic style. Walker’s height and reach are fantastic at range, but they also make it easier for rivals to get to his legs.
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Magomed Ankalaev vs Johnny Walker 2 Fight Information
- Date: 12/09/2023
- Time: 08:00 PM ET
- Location: UFC APEX.
- How to Watch Ankalaev vs Walker 2: ESPN+
- Live Stream: BT Sport.com