Magomed ankalaev was not completely satisfied with his victory over Thiago Santos in UFC Vegas 50,, but he believes that it is enough to win him a title shot.
The Dagestani lightweight heavyweight won his eighth consecutive victory with an unanimous decision over Santos. It was a relatively uneventful bout, both fighters waiting patiently for Santos to enter. Although it was not the performance Ankalaev wanted, he can still be satisfied because he left the octagon raising his hand.
“I am happy that I won,” Ankalaev said at UFC Vegas 50’s post-fight press conference. It is, to be truthful. We expected him to move forward for the whole fight and to catch him on his mistakes, but he preferred to move backwards. That’s why I preferred to strike with him.
” Honestly, my performance isn’t great. I was expecting him to have an interesting fight and to strike more. But it is .”
Regardless of how the fight played out, Ankalaev still earned a win over another ranked opponent. This was Ankalaev’s second consecutive victory over an opponent for the UFC title. It also follows his unanimous win over Volkan Oezdemir.
Ankalaev feels as if that should be more than enough to secure a title shot at light heavyweight, and he hopes to face the winner of the upcoming fight between reigning champion Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka scheduled for UFC 275 in June.
“In my opinion, I deserve the title shot next,” Ankalaev said. “Because I am on an eight-fight winning streak and some of the fights I finished the guys, and I feel I’m ready.”
Ankalaev indicated that he would be open to competing in the No. 1 fight if it didn’t take place immediately. 1 contender’s fight, however he shut down a potential fight against Anthony Smith, who just so happened to be on the broadcast while working as an analyst at UFC Vegas 50.
“As you know, Anthony Smith was offered to fight me before and he wasn’t interested, as I have said,” Ankalaev stated during the ESPN+ post-fight show. “Now I’m looking forward to get the title shot next. I believe I deserve it.”
Smith responded that UFC reached out to Smith with an offer to fight Ankalaev Saturday night but Smith wasn’t well enough to take it.
“He accepted the fight,” Smith stated. Smith said, “I was just coming off of knee surgery and had a staph infection so I couldn’t take it at the time.”
” I’m now healthy. It’s been my dream to fight. The UFC and I have been waiting to see this fight happen. Sorry for the staph infection .”
Smith is currently riding a three-fight win streak of his own. Although he had been hoping to rematch Aleksandar Racic, he is now expecting Jan Blachowicz, former UFC light-heavyweight champion, as his next opponent.
Smith may like Ankalaev’s idea as an opponent but more importantly, he wants to book a fight sooner than later.
“May or June, I’m ready,” Smith said. “I’m begging for a fight. “I’ve been waiting to see what happens here .”