A pair of light heavyweight contenders met in the UFC Vegas 50 main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. No. 5 ranked Thiago Santos faced No. 6 ranked Magomed Ankalaev in the featured fight
Ankalaev entered the bout riding a seven-fight winning streak. The lone loss on his record came in his promotional debut in March 2018. Santos rebounded from a three-fight skid in his previous outing defeating Johnny Walker by unanimous decision in October.
In the opening round, both fighters were cautious resulting in a low output for both men. Ankalaev connected with the more significant strikes, but the stats were close.
In the second round, Santos scored a knockdown in the closing moments of the frame. He landed a counter left hand that sat Ankalaev down. Ankalaev appeared to recover well between rounds.
The third round look a lot like the first frame with low output and single-shot exchanges. In the final two rounds, Ankalaev closed the distance and tied Santos us along the cage. In the final seconds of the fourth round, Ankalaev slammed Santos to the canvas.
In the final round, Ankalaev was able to get to the clinch position and controlled Santos most of the round against the fence while delivering knees to the body and legs.
After 25 minutes, the judges scored the fight for Ankalaev by unanimous decision. The scorecards read: 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47.
“I wanted to fight five rounds and see if I’m ready to test myself, if I’m ready to go all the way to the top,” Ankalaev said following the win. “I was expecting him to be more aggressive and grapple more, but he didn’t. He was very careful.”
Now that he’s extended his winning streak to eight consecutive fights, Ankalaev believes that he deserves to fight for the 205-pound championship.
“I feel that I deserve a title fight but of course it will depend on the UFC of who my next opponent will be, but I feel that I deserve a title fight,” Ankalaev said.