Prospects for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the light heavyweight division Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba will be renewed this weekend (Saturday, October 24, 2020) at UFC 254 in the Flash Forum on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates compete against each other.
Does it even count as deja vu if the feeling is experienced every few weeks for three months? Despite the “2” in the title, this match has already been mistreated, delayed or COVIDized four times. The first game that ended prematurely when Cutelaba tried to play Opossum took place back in February, and UFC has since tried to rebook it. Despite all the strange circumstances and bad blood, this is a great fight between two promising 205 pounders.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for every man:
Key wins: Ion Cutelaba (UFC Fight Night 169), Klidson Abreu (UFC Fight Night 145), Dalcha Lungiambula (UFC Fight Night 163)
Main losses: Paul Craig (UFC Fight Night 127)
Keys to Victory: Ankalaev is expected to do great things for a reason. The Dagestani is a master of the sport in Combat Sambo, which has resulted in excellent wrestling at the Octagon. Additionally, Ankalaev has a penchant for kicking opponents in the face, which is a definite plus.
In the brief moments that we saw Ankalaev and Cutelaba swap in the first fight, it was pretty clear that Ankalaev was the sharper striker at a distance. Cutelaba had to resort to injuries because he really needed Ankalaev to kick the pocket if he was going to land something big in return.
As such, I’d love to see Ankalaev working from the outside, firing his kicks and pulling that control hook when Cutelaba goes on the offensive. If he can frustrate Cutelaba – which shouldn’t be difficult given the generally angry nature of Cutelaba – it’s much more likely that “Hulk” will go overboard and waste energy.
This is also a recipe for easier switching off.
recording: 15-5 (1)
Key wins: Khalil Rountree Jr. (UFC Fight Night 160), Henrique da Silva (UFC Fight Night 110), Gadzhimurad Antigulov (UFC 217), Jonathon Wilson (UFC Fight Night 96)
Lost keys: Magomed Ankalaev (UFC Fight Night 169), Glover Teixeira (UFC Fight Night 150), Mischa Cirkunov (UFC Fight Night 89), Jared Cannonier (TUF 24 Finale)
Key to victory: Cutelaba doesn’t seem to be a mixed martial artist because he loves competition or cares about the sanctity of the martial arts. Cutelaba prefers to fight and likes to hurt people, so this performance fits perfectly with “Hulk”.
The Greco-Roman wrestler has finished 12 of his wins by knockout.
Cutelaba is pretty good everywhere. He is pretty good at wrestling and his power strokes tend to land with good consistency. Historically, problems arise with his reckless aggression, which can either exhaust Cutelaba or leave him vulnerable to shutdown – either of which would be bad news for Ankalaev.
The pressure will be important to Cutelaba, who will have to track down Ankalaev and work beyond the step area. It can’t be sloppy, however. He must cut off the cage and walk forward without falling or leaving his legs behind.
If Cutelaba can consistently close distance, he seems like the more trustworthy man in a brawl. Cutelaba has previously been in wars of attrition, fights in which he was forced to dig deep and trade and cling strikes in the pocket. Ankalaev for the most part doesn’t have it, so Cutelaba should try to force this type of battle.
That should be a lot of fun!
Ankalaev moves up pretty steadily, sitting in 14th place, only five fights in his UFC career. It must be admitted, however, that none of his victories are particularly impressive names. A clean, undisputed win over Cutelaba would be the greatest of his career and definitely prepares him for a top 10 showdown.
As for Cutelaba, he is currently out of the rankings despite having been fighting in a tough competitive environment for some time. That seems a bit unrealistic to me personally, but it’s an issue that Cutelaba can fix with a win. At 26, Cutelaba can still become a real competitor, but for that to happen he has to win consistently.
Remember, MMAmania.com LIVE delivers beat-by-beat coverage of the entire UFC 254 battle map, round after round Herestarting with the early ESPN + “Prelims” matches online that should start at 10:30 am ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 /ESPN + at 12 p.m. ET before the main PPV card kicks off at 2 p.m. ET ESPN +.
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At UFC 254, Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba will finally fight. Which man will win?
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