Las Vegas, NV – At some point a promotion cannot continue to ignore a rising title contender’s claim to a title shot. For UFC light heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev an 8-fight win streak does just that.
Ankalaev (16-1) defeated former title challenger Thiago Santos via unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 50 on Saturday night. Ankalaev controlled nearly the entire fight as he backed Santos onto the fence denying the Brazilian space for his attacks and peppering him with body shots.
There was however a short moment of concern for the Russian 205er.
“Yeah he caught me late in the second round. He wobbled me to be honest, but I stayed calm and composed and worked on other punches,” Ankalaev said through a translator at his post-fight scrum.
Many expected Ankalaev to grapple a lot more than he did, only taking Santos down once in the entire fight and clinching with him just a couple times.
“We expected him to move forward for the whole fight and to caught him on his mistake, but he preferred to move backwards and that’s why I preferred to strike with him,” said Ankalaev.
A fight with Santos normally means a lot of striking and action with the possibility of someone being finished within the time limit. Ankalaev also expected to have a more exciting fight.
“To be honest I’m not glad with my performance totally because I expected him to make an entertaining fight. To strike more, but as I said, it is what it is.”
With an 8-fight win streak with names such as Santos, Ion Cutelaba, Volkan Oezdemir and Nikita Krylov, it is reasonable for Ankalaev to want a title shot soon.
“It’s completely up to the UFC and my manager, but in my opinion I deserve the title shot next because I am on an 8-fight winning streak and some of the fights I finished the guys. I feel I’m ready,” Ankalaev said.
As we’ve seen many times in the history of the UFC the deserving fighter doesn’t always get a title shot right away so a backup plan is always nice to have.
“Again its up to the UFC. If I’m not going to fight for the title next I will fight in a (#1) contender fight. So whoever the UFC will pick to fight with me for the shot at the title, I will fight him.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 50 post-fight media scrum with Magomed Ankalaev above.