Magomed Ankalaev left no doubt in his rematch with Ion Cutelaba at UFC 254.
Their initial meeting, a 38-second TKO triumph for Ankalaev at UFC Fight Night 169 in February, ended in controversy when Cutelaba claimed the contest was stopped prematurely. However, there was no such controversy on Saturday, as Anaklaev floored his opponent twice en route to a knockout victory at the 4:19 mark of Round 1 at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi.
A counter left hook late in the frame sent Cutelaba tumbling to the canvas, and Ankaleav pounced for the victory with heavy ground-and-pound from above.
“I feel great, now I can finally sleep well. It was a six month camp, so I did a really, really good job in the six months and today I proved it,” Ankaleav said. “I wanted to catch him, I wanted to finish with a counter and I finished with a counter. I think everybody in my division was watching this fight. I’m going after the top fighters, so I hope they’re waiting for me.”
The 28-year-old Dagestani now owns the longest active winning streak in the light heayweight division with five. With that success comes big ambition, and Ankalaev has his sights set on more high-profile opposition for his next Octagon appearance.
I’d love to fight a Top 5 fighter, but it would be interesting, and I would prefer to fight 'Shogun' Rua or Anthony Smith, but other than that, anyone in the Top 5,” Ankalaev said. “I’m just happy that I can sleep well right now. I’m going to probably rest about two, three weeks and hopefully get a top five opponent.”
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