Title Eliminator? Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker 2 Booked For Jan. 13

Coach John Kavanagh says the winner could be set up for a light heavyweight title shot.

Walker Ank
(via @clippedfighting - Instagram)

Top light heavyweights will go at it again.

There’s been a lot of talk on who new UFC Champion Alex Pereira will face for his first title defense after defeating Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295. While Jamahal Hill is a likely candidate, it might take a while for him to come back from injury. In the meantime, the UFC is putting together a potential title eliminator of sorts.

Part II

On Monday, coach John Kavanagh revealed that his pupil Johnny Walker will be taking on top contender Magomed Ankalaev for a second time in the new year.

“It went the way it went. It was a no contest rather than a DQ, but is it announced that the rematch is on? I would imagine [that it’s a #1 contender fight]. January 13th, Vegas,” Kavanagh announced himself on The MMA Hour.

The top contender showdown will reportedly headline a UFC fight night card in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kavanagh: ‘This Was Just The Right Amount Of Time’ For Rematch

The first fight between Walker and Ankalaev took place at UFC 294 in October. Unfortunately for the top contenders, the matchup was marred by controversy as Walker was deemed unable to continue by a cageside doctor after enduring an illegal knee. The result ended up being a no-contest with both fighters still trying to collide in the cage post-fight.

Months after the chaos, they will give it another go on January 13.

“We actually wanted to do it even earlier. There was talk of the card in, in China. Obviously the December 16 card is very stacked, so they wanted to do it [in January]. I felt this was just the right amount of time because we did have to take a couple of weeks off from the [knee to the] head at the end of the day.

“Not that Johnny does go outta shape, he kind of trains 12 months of the year, but we had peaked so well, so to take a couple of weeks off and then only have a couple of weeks to peak again… I like the timing of it. January 13th, we’ll do that rematch.

Is A Title Shot Up For Grabs?

John Kavanagh believes the Ankalaev-Walker rematch has ‘title eliminator’ written all over it. However, ‘Sweet Dreams’ Jamahal Hill could potentially come back in time to steal the title shot against Alex Pereira.

“I think that sets us up if we get to win, whoever gets to win, I think it sets them up for maybe a title shot,” Kavanagh said. “We’ll see what happens. I guess it’s a bit messy with, you have Jamahal [Hill] there obviously.”

Johnny Walker is unbeaten in his last four fights, with a string of wins over Anthony Smith, Paul Craig and Ion Cutelaba. The opposing Ankalaev hasn’t lost in his last 11, but his previous two fights have been a no-contest to Walker and a deafening title draw against Jan Blachowicz.

Should the winner of Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker get a title shot at 205?

Published on November 13, 2023 at 2:47 pm
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