Magomed Ankalaev continues his climb up the UFC light heavyweight rankings.
The 29-year-old picked up his eighth consecutive victory under the UFC banner in UFC Fight Night 203 main event, defeating former title challenger Thiago Santos in a unanimous decision. Ankalaev (16-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) got the nod from all three judges sitting cageside at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, as he defeated Santos (22-9 MMA, 14-8 UFC) with scores 49–46, 49–46, and 48–47.
Although it was a good name to add to his record, Ankalaev had a fairly uneventful fight against Santos, as both fighters were very tentative and had low outputs.
Both Ankalaev and Santos were very careful in their striking. Ankalaev looked to push the action, while Santos was on his back foot looking to counter Ankalaev.
The Russian cruised his way to a decision win, stalking Santos and landing the better shots of the fight. That was the story throughout the majority of the fight with exception of the second round where Santos dropped Ankalaev towards the end of the round and managed to get top position and land some ground-and-pound before the bell rang.
Magomed Ankalaev takes the biggest win of his career by UD
— UFC (@ufc) March 13, 2022
With this result, Ankalaev extended his current winning streak to eight in a row. The Russian fighter has only tasted defeat once in his professional MMA career, losing to Paul Craig via submission back in March 2018. This was Ankalaev’s first main event bout under the UFC banner. He holds notable wins over Nikita Krylov, Volkan Oezdemir, and now Santos.
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Meanwhile, Santos finds himself in his worst career stretch. The 38-year-old is now 1-4 in his past five trips to the octagon. Santos was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Johnny Walker last October. Prior to that, he came up short against current champion Glover Teixeira, former champion Jon Jones, and current top contender Aleksandar Rakic.
Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 203 results include:
Magomed Ankalaev def. Thiago Santos via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
Song Yadong def. Marlon Moraes via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:06
Sodiq Yusuff def. Alex Caceres via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Khalil Rountree def. Karl Roberson via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:25
Drew Dober def. Terrance McKinney via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:17
Alex Pereira def. Bruno Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Matthew Semelsberger def. A.J. Fletcher via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
JJ Aldrich def. Gillian Robertson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Javid Basharat def. Trevin Jones via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Damon Jackson def. Kamuela Kirk via submission (arm triangle) – Round 2, 4:42
Miranda Maverick def. Sabina Mazo via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:15
Cody Brundage def. Dalcha Lungiambula via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 3:41
Guido Cannetti def. Kris Moutinho via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:07
Azamat Murzakanov def. Tafon Nchukwi via TKO (flying knee) – Round 3, 0:44
UFC Fight Night 203: Best photos from Las Vegas
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UFC Fight Night 203 play-by-play and live results
UFC Fight Night 203: Official scorecards from Las Vegas
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