Magomed Ankalaev believes Johnny Walker wanted out of their first fight after illegal knee

By Cole Shelton - January 11, 2024

Magomed Ankalaev doesn’t think Johnny Walker wanted to fight him in October.

Magomed Ankalaev

Ankalaev and Walker first met at October’s UFC 294 event in Abu Dhabi in what was a critical fight for the light heavyweight division. Unfortunately, the fight ended in controversy as in the first round Ankalaev landed an illegal knee which prompted the doctor to step in and stop the fight. After the doctor claimed Walker couldn’t continue, the Brazilian was angry as he wanted the fight to resume, but Ankalaev thinks that was all just for show.

“After that shot, he was actually the one trying to tell me that was an illegal blow, so he was conscious enough and in his mind enough to say, hey dude, that was illegal. And then when they stopped the fight all of a sudden, he started playing this whole thing of like, oh, I can’t fight anymore or whatever. But I’m pretty sure that he was basically just trying to throw the fight because he seemed to be just fine,” Ankalaev said at UFC Vegas 84 media day.

Although Magomed Ankalaev believes Johnny Walker could have continued, the fight was stopped and the two will now headline UFC Vegas 84 on Saturday night. The winner could very well get the next title shot at light heavyweight, and this time around, Ankalaev is confident he will finish Walker before the final bell sounds.

“I’m not looking for just coming out there and having my hand raised at the end of the fight. What I want to do is I want to make sure that I get there, I make a statement and the fight is going to be over way before the final bell,” Ankalaev said.

Magomed Ankalaev enters the fight as a sizeable betting favorite so the oddsmakers do have faith in him beating Johnny Walker. But if he can finish Walker, it would be massive for his career as it likely would set him up to fight Alex Pereira for the light heavyweight title his next time out.

Ankalaev is 17-1-1 as a pro and coming off the No Contest against Walker. Before that, he had a draw against Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title. Before the last two fights, the Dagestani native was on a nine-fight win streak which included wins over Volkan Oezdemir, Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Nikita Krylov among others.


Magomed Ankalaev UFC