Magomed Ankalaev is looking for big fights after ending his rivalry with Ion Cutelaba in emphatic fashion at UFC 254 this past weekend.
The light-heavyweight pair were booked to fight on several occasions after their first bout ended in controversial fashion. Ankalaev and Cutelaba first squared off at UFC Norfolk on February 29. In the fight, Ankalaev started well throwing a series of high kicks that appeared to be doing damage. Despite the fact Cutelaba was still standing referee Kevin MacDonald stepped in and stopped the fight just 38 seconds into the first round. The Moldavian fighter reacted angrily to the stoppage and one look at the replay tells you exactly why.
Ankalaev needed no help from the referee when he squared off against Cutelaba again in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. The Russian dropped his opponent with a beautiful two punch combo before swarming on the mat with nasty ground and pound which left Cutelaba out cold.
Speaking post-fight at UFC 254, Ankalaev turned his attention to the upper echelon fighters at 205lbs. The 28-year-old is hoping to face Maricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, Anthony Smith or anyone in the light-heavyweight top five next.
“I’d love to fight a top-five fighter. It would be interesting, and I would prefer to fight (Mauricio) ‘Shogun’ Rua or Anthony Smith,” Ankalaev explained. “But other than that, anyone in the top five. I’m just happy that I can sleep well right now. I’m going to probably rest about two, three weeks and hopefully get a top-five opponent.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)
Ankalaev is currently riding a five-fight win streak since losing in his UFC debut to Paul Craig. The Scot was dominated for much of the fight but managed to pull off a last-second triangle choke in Ankalaev’s first and only MMA defeat.
Who do you want to see Magomed Ankalaev fight next?