In December last year, after Jiří Prochazka’s injury, Magomed Ankalaev suddenly had a title shot: the Russian had to deal with Jan Blachowicz in a duel for the vacant belt. Everyone remembers this incredibly controversial fight, which ended in a draw and Dana White did not like it so much that after the tournament the head of the UFC tore her to pieces.
“The main event of the tournament was terrible, but what can you do? Do I consider someone a winner? I dont even know. I started passing out after three rounds. I heard that Ankalaev is upset by the decision, but what do you want me to do? They beat you two rounds, then you start translating it and… What can you do? I have already said that you cannot leave everything in the hands of the judges. There’s no need to come up with the idea that he took two rounds. You don’t have to push your opponent towards the net if you think you’re doing it right. Go ahead and fight,” White said. As a bonus, Dana immediately booked a fight for the vacant title between Glover Teixeira and Jamal Hill.
Is the UFC kicking out the Russians with dirty officiating? Ankalaev is ready to leave the promotion!
“I don’t know what to say. I won the fight, but they didn’t give me that belt. What is all this? Where is my belt? I can’t beat the judges. Whether it hurt or not, I did everything to win. If I was inferior in the standing position, he fought; if he was inferior in the positions, he fought standing up. I don’t know if I’m going to act here until there are no words. We will take ours, but I’m offended, “Magomed himself reacted to the decision.
Apparently, it was the phrase that Ankalaev doubted further performances in the promotion that made Dana White very angry. Later, the fighter, of course, began to say that he actually meant not the UFC, but Las Vegas, but the deed was done.
Since then, Magomed Ankalaev, in general, has not received any news. After the tournament, there was still some enthusiasm, experts and other fighters were amazed at the draw and called Ankalaev the rightful champion, and Ramzan Kadyrov demanded to give the belt to Magomed and apologize for the performance. But then we just don’t hear about Ankalaev, it’s like he got into the UFC shadow ban.
We will not rule out the possibility of injury, but for six months Magomed was not mentioned at all. Not a single “fight in progress” rumor. The feeling that the Russians were simply pushed aside and forgotten. Blachowicz has a fight with newly minted light heavyweight Pereira, Hill is looking at Prochazka, and only Ankalaev isn’t even mentioned as a potential contender. Although the Russian is second in the ranking and in a streak of nine wins and one draw, that is, he has not lost for more than five years.
Of course, there are also questions for Ankalaev himself. Earlier this year, Magomed admitted that Dana White said in plain text that he needed to become more of a media wrestler, as well as develop his social media. What’s the score? In February, Ankalaev announced that he was going for his belt, and in May he challenged Jan Blachowicz and Alex Pereira. All. It doesn’t look like a turn.
“I’m ready to wait for Prochaska.” The new UFC champion is afraid to meet the giant from Dagestani!
In response, the UFC ignores the Russian, and now the next real chance for Magomed to return to the Octagon is Abu Dhabi. With July everything is clear, there are two numbered tournaments left, in August Sterling with O’Malley, in September a tournament in Australia, where Israel Adesanya will become the main headliner.
Fair or not, but today the media component is incredibly important in sports. As absurd as it may seem, being a good fighter is not enough. And there are many such examples. Beneil Dariush and Belal Muhammad belong to the same category as Ankalaev. They need to go on an incredible winning streak just to get anywhere close to a title shot. And then there’s Colby Covington, who is 2-2 in the series and will be the next contender for the welterweight title.
There is a possibility that the situation will be clarified after the fight between Blachowicz and Pereira. In theory, the winner of this fight will become a contender, while Ankalaev could theoretically take on the loser. In any case, given a new title shot, Magomed will have one or two more fights. And of course he needs to become more active and build relationships with Dana White.