UFC Fight Night Results: Magomed Ankalaev restarts title run, Jim Miller eyes UFC 300 fight

Originally published at UFC Fight Night Results: Magomed Ankalaev restarts title run, Jim Miller eyes UFC 300 fight - POST Wrestling | WWE AEW NXT NJPW Podcasts, News, Reviews

Magomed Ankalaev started his second quest toward a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on Saturday night, closing out his rivalry against Johnny Walker with a second-round stoppage in the main event of a “Fight Night” card.

A nasty right hook caused Walker to crash onto the canvas inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Ankalaev followed this shot up with a hard uppercut to a grounded Walker, causing the referee to step in and end the fight.

While it looked like a potential early stoppage at first, it was a hard fall for Walker and two flush shots. Plus, Walker seemingly broke his nose from the exchange as well. Not a bad series of reasons for a referee to intervene.

Ankalaev was facing Walker in a rematch from UFC 294 last year. Their first fight ended before it could truly start, as an illegal knee from Ankalaev caused a controversial no-contest doctor stoppage.

That result was part of an awkward year in Ankalaev’s career. He fought for the vacant UFC 205-pound division title in late 2022 against Jan Blachowicz, although an incredibly rare split decision draw caused the belt to not go around the waist of either fighter.

With the hiccup of Ankalaev’s career seemingly in the rearview mirror, he can now focus on building up wins and scoring a second title shot. From 2018 to 2022, he picked up nine consecutive victories. With now a 10th win before he last faced defeat, he feels he’s ready for a shot against Alex Pereira.

“I am ready to fight for the title,” Ankalaev said in his post-fight interview. “I am worth it. Give me a fight for the title now.”

Ankalaev’s case for a title shot is hard to deny. With his long winning streak and third-place rank in the division, a shot at Pereira would make sense. With that being said, the only thing that might stop him currently is former champion Jamahal Hill getting a shot next.

Hill relinquished his belt last year after suffering a torn Achilles tendon. It’s hard to tell when exactly he can compete again. Last year, Hill said that he would return to MMA training in early 2024. If he will remain on the sidelines for some time this year, it’s worth questioning whether Ankalaev can get a title shot before him. A quick turnaround for Ankalaev doesn’t seem like an impossible idea: Ankalaev took minimal damage on Saturday night and would face Pereira, who last fought two months ago.

If Hill isn’t ready, could a fight like Ankalaev and Pereira be thrown onto UFC 300 in April, which is in dire need of more star power? These are questions worth asking.

Jim Miller Eyes UFC 300 After Record-Setting 43rd Appearance

Jim Miller — the most experienced fighter in the history of the UFC — continues to succeed. In appearance number 43 as a UFC talent, Miller closed out a strong performance with a third-round rear naked choke submission against Gabriel Benitez.

Miller had an impressive showing both on the feet and on the ground against Benitez. He notably dominated a large portion of the second round with ground control.

With his win this weekend out of the way, 40-year-old Miller is hoping to appear at UFC 300 in April. Miller notably fought at both UFC 100 in 2009 and UFC 200 in 2016. After the fight, Miller had a few names in mind: He didn’t mind taking Paul Felder back out of retirement or going up to welterweight to face Matt Brown. He also jokingly mentioned facing Brock Lesnar — just a few hurdles would stop that one from happening.

Miller is still going strong in 2024. Saturday was his 26th victory in the UFC cage, and his fourth win in his past five fights. A part of Miller’s longevity could likely be linked to only being finished five times in his career, with two of those instances being due to strikes. The last time strikes actually stopped him was a fight against Dan Hooker in 2018.

Andrei Arlovski Struggles Against Rising Heavyweight

Earlier on the card, veteran Andrei Arlovski didn’t have the same success as fellow veteran Miller did. Arlovski had trouble against rising heavyweight Waldo Cortes-Acosta, not getting the nod after a striking contest. A three-round stand-up battle went the way of Cortes-Acosta, who won two of the three rounds to take a unanimous decision victory.

Similar to Miller, Arlovski was making his 41st UFC appearance, making him second place on the rankings for most fights by a single talent in UFC history (third place is retired talent Donald Cerrone, who fought in the UFC 38 times).

When you’ve had a career as lengthy as Arlovski’s, it’s hard to come by firsts. That’s why he’s not going through a three-fight losing streak for the first time. From 2016 to 2018, Arlovski notably won just two of his 11 appearances in the UFC cage. He also went on a four-fight skid during his Strikeforce days from 2009 to 2011.

While Cortes-Acosta didn’t have the most interesting victory on Saturday, he has a lot to be happy about. He currently has a solid four wins through five fights in the UFC. 

Mario Bautista Picks Up Best Win Yet

Mario Bautista had arguably the most impressive performance of his UFC career thus far, winning a fast-paced three-round contest against Ricky Simon to win via unanimous decision.

Bautista pushed the pace against a game Simon in a fight that mainly took place on the feet. The bout was a real marathon instead of a sprint for the bantamweights, as the pace of the striking barely dropped off even in the third round. Bautista out-landed Simon throughout the fight, allowing him to take all three rounds on two scorecards. There was some confusion among viewers as to whether Simon scored a knockdown in the first round. Bautista went down after being hit with a left hook, although it looked more like he was slipping from the knee that he threw at the same time.

The decision victory on Saturday was Bautista’s sixth consecutive over a two-year timespan. He earned two wins in 2023, beating Guido Cannetti and Da’Mon Blackshear on scorecards. Simon was a significant step-up opponent for Bautista. And since Simon was ranked 13th at bantamweight heading into this weekend, it’s expected that Bautista will break into the standings next week.

Simon was aiming to come back from a main event loss he suffered last year against Song Yadong. Before then, he had five straight victories in the division.

Finishing Machine Bruno Ferreira Wins In Return

Bruno Ferreira had an impressive return to the win column on Saturday night, putting away Phil Hawes in the first round with hard punches.

The explosive power of Ferreria, which has been seen throughout his entire career, was back on display with the finishing sequence. The beginning of the end was when Ferreira rocked Hawes on the feet with a flying knee. A left hook shortly after dropped him, allowing Ferreira to knock him out with a series of hammer fist punches.

Ferreira has finished all 11 of his pro victories, with his longest bout lasting just more than a minute into the second round. Last year, he was on the receiving end of a result that he usually produces: Nursulton Ruziboev made quick work of him with a 77-second stoppage due to strikes.

Ferreira made a splash in his UFC debut, stopping former LFA Middleweight Champion Gregory Rodrigues. While there are logical questions to have about Ferreira: How would he do in a fight that goes into deep waters? How durable is he in fights against opponents who can throw fire? But with these questions considered, he seems like someone to watch this year.

Ferreira called out Shara Magomedov, a 12-fight undefeated middleweight who won his UFC debut last Fall with a decision victory over Bruno Silva. While Magomedov doesn’t have a finishes-only record like Ferreira, he similarly is one to end things early.

The Basharat Bros Add Another Win

A new duo of brothers are slowly creeping up the rankings. Farid Basharat picked up his third UFC win this weekend, overcoming veteran Taylor Lapilus with a dominant three-round performance. With his brother Javid, who has similarly fought a trio of times in the UFC, the brothers have a combined undefeated record of 26 victories.

Farid Basharat mainly used his ground control to thwart the offense of Lapilus through all three rounds. He came close to a finish in the final minute of the fight — attempting an anaconda choke — but Lapilus was able to escape. On the feet, Basharat remained active and put together solid shots against an aggressive and advancing Lapilus.

Basharat has now earned three wins in his rookie year as a UFC fighter, with previous victories coming against Da’Mon Blackshear and Kleydson Rodrigues. The experience and success of Lapilus makes him his biggest win yet. Lapilus came into this bout on a six-fight winning streak, including a run in French regional promotion Ares FC, which culminated with him picking up a title at bantamweight.

Quick Results:

Main Card

Bout 11: Magomed Ankalaev def. Johnny Walker via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 2:42)
Bout 10: Jim Miller def. Gabriel Benitez via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 3, 3:25)
Bout 9: Mario Bautista def. Ricky Simon via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 8: Brunno Ferreira def. Phil Hawes via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 4:55)
Bout 7: Waldo Cortes-Acosta def. Andrei Arlovski via Decision, Unanimous
Preliminary Card

Bout 6: Preston Parsons def. Matthew Semelsberger via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 5: Marcus McGhee def. Gaston Bolanos via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:29)
Bout 4: Farid Basharat def. Taylor Lapilus via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Jean Silva def. Westin Wilson via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 4:12)
Bout 2: Nikolas Motta def. Tom Nolan via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:03)
Bout 1: Joshua Van def. Felipe Bunes via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:31)