Johnny Walker and Magomed Ankalaev clash again in the first UFC event of 2024

Published on 12 January 2024 at 20:00

The UFC is back to kickstart 2024 with a bang as #3 Light Heavyweight contender, Magomed Ankalaev, and #7 Light Heavyweight contender, Johnny Walker, headline the first event after their first bout ended in a No Contest after an illegal knee at UFC 294. Let's have a deep look into this main event and how the rematch will be more anticipated compared to their first fight.


Magomed Ankalaev is currently on a 11-fight unbeaten streak despite his last two bouts ending in a Split Draw and a No Contest.

The Russian fighter has earned his place high in the Light Heavyweight rankings after defeating big contenders in the weight division such as Anthony Smith, Nikita Krylov and Volkan Oezdemir.

The Makhachkala mixed martial artist is definitely seen as a knockout artist with 10 KO wins and has only lost once which was on his UFC debut when Paul Craig submitted him in the last dying second of the fight.

If Ankalaev can win the fight and stop Walker, he may be in for a title shot against the newly crowned 205-pound UFC champion, Alex Pereira. Especially if Jamahal Hill is still unable to compete throughout most of the year.


Johnny Walker almost had a perfect year in 2023 when he defeated Paul Craig by knockout in his home country at UFC 283 as well as earning a Unanimous Decision victory over Anthony Smith at UFC Charlotte.

The Brazilian fighter is currently on a 4-figth unbeaten streak as his last defeat was by knockout against former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Jamahal Hill.

Like Ankalaev, the #7 Light Heavyweight contender is seen as a knockout with a whopping 16 KO/TKO wins as well as claiming three submission victories out of the 21 MMA wins, he has in his career.

Walker is in a similar position to his opponent if he does win at UFC Vegas 84. If he were to get a title shot, it would be the first one he has had in the UFC since Magomed Ankalaev has already had one against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282.


Other fights you should look forward to

Andre Arlovski vs Waldo Cortes-Acosta – Arlovski fights for the 41st time in the UFC at the age of 44 as the former Heavyweight champion looks for redemption after losing his last two fights in the organisation.

Cortes-Acosta looks to begin a winning streak after getting his first stoppage win in the MMA company at UFC Singapore, winning by KO. A win against Andre Arlovski will definitely look good on his resume and step up towards the Heavyweight rankings.


Ricky Simon vs Mario Bautista – Simon only had one fight in 2023 which did not go his way after losing in the fifth round by TKO against Song Yadong. A victory would be crucial for Ricky to not only redeem his previous loss but climb back up the Bantamweight rankings.

Bautista is on a five-fight winning streak with his most recent victory coming against Da’Mon Blackshear, defeating him by Unanimous Decision at UFC 292. A stoppage win against Simon could put the Bantamweight division on notice and a possible opportunity for a contender’s spot.


Jim Miller vs Gabriel Benitez – Miller currently holds the record for the most UFC fights with a total of 42. Jim’s last performance was ecstatic when he knocked out Jesse Butler in just 23 seconds of the first round. At 40 years of age, he still looks to carry on fighting and try to add more victories to his MMA record.

Benitez has not fought since August 2022 when he won by first-round TKO against Charlie Ontiveros at UFC San Diego. In his last six fights, ‘Moggly’ has only had two wins so a victory against a UFC veteran would certainly help get back on track and start a winning streak.


Matheus Nicolau vs Manel Kape – Nicolau was on a six-fight winning streak until he lost his only fight of 2023 against recent title challenger, Brandon Royval, by knockout. The #5 Flyweight contender has previously fought Manel Kape when he won by Split Decision in their first bout at UFC Vegas 21.

Manel Kape is on a four-fight winning streak with his most recent victory coming at UFC 293 when he defeated Felipe dos Santos by Unanimous Decision. ‘Starboy’ is one spot behind Nicolau in the Flyweight rankings as a win could either give him a title fight against UFC Flyweight champion, Alexandre Pantoja, or face his current biggest rival and hater, Kai Kara-France.


Who will triumphantly leave at UFC Vegas 84? What are your predictions for the first event of the year?


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram:

Twitter: @Charlie_Oxtoby1

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