In the first main card event of UFC 254, #11 Magomed Ankalaev will take on Ion Cutelaba in a light heavyweight bout live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and available on pay-per-view via ESPN+. This is a rematch of one of the more controversial finishes in the UFC of 2020 where Cutelaba was playing possum with his opponent, but referee Kevin MacDonald thought he was actually hurt and stopped the fight.
Ankalaev will come in as the favorite, and is 13-1 in his MMA career. His average fight lasts just under nine minutes which shows his heavy-hitting ability, counting his 38-second knockout of Cutelaba in February. With 3.46 significant strikes per minute and absorbing just 1.24, Ankalaev will be looking to extend his four-fight win streak. This will be his first bout on the main card in the UFC.
Cutelaba is 15-5 in the MMA with a no contest to his name, and is 4-4 in the UFC. Aside from Ankalaev, he’s only lost to top-ten opponents. A strike-heavy fighter, he averages 5.29 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.26. He also has 2.59 takedowns per 15 minutes on 71 percent takedown accuracy, so getting this fight on the ground might be his best strategy
Despite the unusual first meeting, Ankalaev still enters as a strong favorite.
Here are the betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook for Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba at UFC 254 on October 24th.
Money line odds
Magomed Ankalaev: -335
Ion Cutelaba: +250
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