UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs. Walker 2 Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

min read
Magomed Ankalaev of Russia, right, battles Johnny Walker of Brazil in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC 294 event.
(AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Jan 09, 2024, 8:08 PM
  • The light heavyweight rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker will headline the first card of the UFC in 2024.
  • Ankalaev and Walker’s first meeting in October 2023 at UFC 294 ended with a no-contest result after an illegal strike.
  • Ankalaev is the betting -455 favorite, while Walker is the betting +340.

The UFC will open 2024 with an unfinished business between ranked light heavyweight contenders, as No. 3 Magomed Ankalaev squares off again against No. 7 Johnny Walker in the main event of the first fight night on Jan. 13, at the APEX Center in Las Vegas.

Like the first meeting, Ankalaev is still the heavy betting favorite in UFC odds at -455 to get the victory, and Walker will be the +340 betting underdog in BetMGM’s online sportsbook.

The two 205-pound athletes first crossed paths at UFC 294 in October 2023, where their fight ended in a no-contest result due to the illegal knee that Ankalaev landed on Walker as his knee was down on the mat when the strike occurred.

They’ll finally settle the score and possibly move ahead of contention for a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.

Magomed Ankalaev Recent Fight Results

Ankalaev was an undefeated fighter when he was signed by the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2018. However, Paul Craig submitted him in his UFC debut, forcing a tap from him in the dying seconds of their fight.

But since then, he has racked up nine straight victories and finished five of his opponents to earn his first title opportunity in December 2022 against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282. That fight resulted in a controversial draw that prevented him from capturing the golden belt.

Johnny Walker Recent Fight Results

Walker obtained a roster spot in the UFC through the Dana White Contender Series in March 2018 after unanimously beating Henrique da Silva. He made his promotional debut in November 2018, winning seven of 11 fights to climb into the top 10 rankings.

He holds a win against Khalil Rountree Jr., Justin Ledet, Misha Crikunov, Ryan Spann, Ion Cutelaba, Craig, and Anthony Smith. Meanwhile, Walker’s losses were courtesy of Corey Anderson, Nikita Krylov, Thiago Santos, and Jamahal Hill.

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker 2: Tale of the Tape

Magomed AnkalaevJohnny Walker
Age3131
Height6’3”6’6”
Reach75 inches82 inches
Leg Reach46 inches44.5 inches
Record18-1-121-7
Fighting StyleMMAMMA
FInishing Rate56%90%

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker 2: Fight Analysis

The first match has already presented why Ankalaev is the favorite to take the win because he was able to move forward and force Walker to fight in the backfoot. Due to this, he closed the distance, landed more strikes, and became the efficient fighter.

Ankalaev connected 16 of his 23 total strikes for 70% proficiency. Additionally, he secured a takedown against Walker and controlled him for one minute and six seconds until the illegal knee was thrown.

On the other hand, Walker attempted more strikes than Ankalaev with 30. That signals that Walker was willing to exchange on the feet against Ankalaev due to the one-shot power he owns that could put any opponent to sleep because, after all, he has a 90% finish rate.

This rematch could mirror the same approach for both contenders, who found respective success during the previous match. For Ankalaev, he would still want to continue pushing forward and set up a level-change going for a takedown. Once on the ground, he can work his way into a submission maneuver or pounce on the ground and pound.

Meanwhile, Walker should time a superb counter whenever they exchange strikes to fully utilize the atomic power that he has on his punches and kicks. Also, he must defend the takedown well to avoid giving Ankalaev a massive upper hand.

Official Prediction: TKO/KO victory for Magomed Ankalaev.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.