Magomed Ankalaev vs Johnny Walker Prediction UFC 294 10/21

Magomed Ankalaev vs Johnny Walker Prediction UFC 294 10/21

© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

 

UFC 294: Magomed Ankalaev vs Johnny Walker Preview and Prediction

The main show resumes with the headline light heavyweight battle between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker. Ankalaev is coming off a split draw in his first-ever light heavyweight title fight against former champion Jan Blachowicz. Walker, on the other hand, is coming off three consecutive victories and is looking for the biggest win of his career in this showdown at UFC 294.

 

Johnny Walker

When it comes to striking, Johnny Walker is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. With a record of 20-7-0, Walker has amassed an impressive array of striking skills that have made him a fan favorite. Walker's striking statistics highlight his prowess in this area. He lands an average of 3.38 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy rate of 60%. On the defensive side, he has a significant strike defense rate of 42%. Walker's striking repertoire is diverse, but his most notable technique is his flying knee. He famously knocked out Misha Cirkunov with a flying knee at UFC 235. In addition to the flying knee, Walker has a powerful left hook and is skilled in delivering spinning back fists and elbows. However, Walker's striking style can also leave him vulnerable to counters as seen in his loss to Corey Anderson at UFC 244. Anderson capitalized on Walker's aggressive striking style and knocked him out with a right hand. In his upcoming matchup against Anthony Smith at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida, Walker's striking skills will be put to the test. Smith is a seasoned fighter, with a reach advantage and strong grappling skills. If Walker can effectively utilize his striking skills, he can certainly come out with a win. Overall, there is no doubt that Johnny Walker's striking skills are a potent weapon in his arsenal. However, he must also remain disciplined and strategic to avoid exposing himself to counters.

After losing two consecutive matches to Thiago Santos and Jamahal Hill, Walker recovered well and won three straight matches against the aforementioned Smith, Paul Craig, and Ion Cutelaba. He has demonstrated his versatility by defeating Smith by unanimous decision, eliminating Craig in the first round, and also submitting Cutelaba in the first round.

 

Magomed Ankalaev's Striking in UFC

Magomed Ankalaev prefers stand-up even though his background is in combat sambo. He is 52% accurate and averages 3.55 significant strikes per minute. He receives 2.15 strikes per minute from his adversaries, yet his defense percentage is 59%. Although he only resists 86% of takedown attempts made against him, he averages less than one takedown per 15 minutes. In his career, he has never tried a submission.

The Russian has occasionally throughout his career been taken by surprise. That might be particularly risky against Walker, who excels at lulling his opponents into complacency before shocking them with an unexpected bolt from the blue.

 

Prediction:

Ankalaev is more skilled everywhere and has more accomplished sambo in his locker. Walker, on the other side, has greater athleticism and explosiveness. Although he is now more composed, his unpredictable nature would be useful in this situation. He won't be able to match Ankalaev's striking or grappling power. Instead, he must be forceful with his calf kicks from a distance and his elbows in the pocket while keeping him guessing. Walker is always a threat if he can get everything to work together. His chin is a concern, too, and Ankalaev is skilled enough to find it with any limb. When Walker is a sizable underdog, it's always worth taking a chance, but the Russian is too skilled and technical to bet against.

 

Pick: Magomed Ankalaev ML -350

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