UFC Norfolk: Magomed Ankalaev Believes Stoppage Against Cutelaba was “Fair”

Norfolk, VA — Magomed Ankalaev was the beneficiary of one the worst calls in recent memory at UFC Norfolk. His main card light heavyweight scrap with Ion Cutelaba was explosive early, with the fighters getting into something of a confrontation during the introductions.

Then, there was nothing but heavy leather being swung from the opening bell. Right up until referee Kevin MacDonald mysteriously waved off the fight. Ankalaev was awarded the knockout victory, without Cutelaba ever having gone down.

The argument, from the ref’s perspective, seemed to be that Cutelaba had been rocked. But those following the action knew all along that Cutelaba was playing possum, trying to lure his opponent into striking distance. In fact, as MacDonald was waving the fight off, Cutelaba was in the process of unleashing a haymaker.

Ankalaev’s take on the finish, mind you, was a bit different from those watching in-house. “I threw the left hook, I connect, I hurt him. That’s all I know,” he said initially, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. Before adding “and I saw he was wobbling, and the referee stopped the fight. So I believe everything was fair. He was complaining about something, I don’t know why.”

Ankalaev also agreed with the suggestion that had the fight continued, he would have just kept hurting his opponent. Cutelaba clearly felt differently, immediately protesting the stoppage.

As to Cutelaba getting in his face before the fight, “that was the first time” something like that had happened to him, said Ankalaev. “And I believe it will be the last time. Nobody will try to do this again to me.”

The slobberknocker, for as long as it lasted, wasn’t what Ankalaev was originally anticipating. “My plan was to get the victory by decision maybe,” he revealed backstage. “To be calm, not to fight with him if he wanted to brawl. But I saw the opportunity to finish the fight, so I used it.”

Post-fight, amidst a chorus of boos, the Russian fighter flipped off the crowd. Asked if he thought they were booing him, or the result, he wasn’t sure. “I don’t know. I believe some was booing the judges, some was booing the UFC, some was maybe booing me. I’m not sure who exactly they were booing.”

“I took it personally though,” he admitted.

While Magomed Ankalaev believes he won the fight at UFC Norfolk, if the UFC were to require Ankalaev to go up against Cutelaba again, he’s open to it. Especially if it meant a chance to break into the rankings. He’s now 14-1, on a four fight win streak. Only Jon Jones has that sort of streak at 205lbs currently. “I will accept any fight the UFC will offer,” he finished.

Watch the full UFC Norfolk post-fight press scrum with Magomed Ankalaev above!