Las Vegas, NV — In their second meeting in roughly three months, light heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev made no mistake, putting away Johnny Walker with a vicious second-round knockout at UFC Vegas 84.
At UFC 294 last October, the pair saw a three-round fight end inside the opening frame when an illegal knee resulted in a controversial No Contest (controversial not because of the foul, but because Walker, who appeared ready to fight on, was not allowed to do so).
There were no such mishaps in the UFC Vegas 84 main event. And overall, Ankalaev didn’t feel much was different.
“Not that much different. I mean I also knew I was going to win back then, so I won now,” Ankalaev (19-1-1, 1NC) told media outlets including Cageside Press backstage at the UFC Apex. “This is my time, and I did my job, and I won the fight.”
The opening round saw Walker throwing any number of flashy spinning attacks, including several spinning back fists. “I also knew to expect some strange stuff from him. I gave him the first round so he’s able to work,” said Ankalaev. “I wanted to see if I could see his tactics, see the stuff he’s throwing out, if I was able to catch it. Nothing surprised me, so that’s why the second round, I did what I did.”
While the Dagestani has dominant wrestling in his back pocket, the method of victory on Saturday was intentional, Magomed Ankalaev later explained.
“I could have come out here today and wrestled against Johnny Walker, could have taken him down right away and won with my ground n’ pound on the ground,” the 31-year old stated. “But instead, I wanted to send a message, I wanted to stand up, I wanted to knock him out and that’s what I did.”
Ankalaev had another message to deliver after the fight, in fact. One for Glover Teixeira, who has been training current light heavyweight and former middleweight champion Alex Pereira.
“For Glover Texeira, I have a message. Don’t waste you time trying to teach your student to wrestle or grapple. He’s not going to need it. I’m going to come out there, I’m going to stand across from him. And I know he’s been knocked out before, as a middleweight. So imagine what’s going to happen if I meet him at light heavyweight. Trust me, he’s not going to feel comfortable there.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 84 post-fight press conference with Glover Teixeira above.