UFC Vegas 84 Main Event Preview: Magomed Ankalaev – Johnny Walker 2

Jul 30, 2022; Dallas, TX, USA; Magomed Ankalaev (red gloves) before a fight with Anthony Smith (not pictured) in a light heavyweight bout during UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

We are back! UFC Vegas 84 is the first major MMA card of the year and we will see a highly anticipated rematch in the first main event of the new year. Top light heavyweight contenders will battle it out in a rematch as Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1, 1 NC) takes on Johnny Walker (21-7, 1 NC).

Originally, these two fought back in October at UFC 294 and the expectation was that the winner would likely get a title shot. However, the fight ended early and with a ton of controversy. In the first round, Ankalaev landed a knee while Walker was considered a downed opponent leading to a stop of the action.

The ringside doctor came in and gave Walker no time to recover before asking him if he was okay. Walker seemed to not understand the doctor or his questions so the doctor deemed him unfit to continue. The fight was stop and all hell broke loose which resulted in Dana White having to calm the two men down.

We never really got to see this fight and now they’re running it back at UFC Vegas 84 and this time, it’s five rounds.

UFC Vegas 84 Prediction

If this fight was to take place sometime in 2022, I wouldn’t have to even think about this pick. I would throw money on Ankalaev and walk away without even thinking about it. However, Johnny Walker has really been impressing me lately and I think he has a real shot tomorrow night.

Walker needs to have controlled aggression tomorrow. He can’t come in too wild because of the nice striking of Ankalaev. However, he also can’t be too passive and get into a point fight because I don’t think he would win there. He needs to fight with power and pressure, but it all needs to be controlled.

For Ankalaev, he needs the fight to stay at distance and not get too wild. In a technical bout, he’s going to walk away with a decision win. However, if he allows things to get too wild, we’ve seen him hurt with big power shots in the past. To that point, we’ve also seen Johnny Walker get knocked out.

So, who takes the win tomorrow and gets the big win that could put themselves in title contention? I like Magomed Ankalaev in this one. Too many people are writing him off and are seemingly quick to forget about the run he just went on. I think he’ll frustrate Walker throughout the five rounds and he’ll ultimately walk away with a decision win.

Prediction: Magomed Ankalaev by Decision