Magomed Ankalaev: A Skilled Fighter Seeking to Polish His Personality

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ABU DHABI – Johnny Walker is frustrated by Magomed Ankalaev’s lack of fight promotion.

Walker (21-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) takes on Ankalaev (18-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) in a pivotal light heavyweight clash on Saturday’s UFC 294 main card at Etihad Arena. The main card airs on pay-per-view at a special time of 2 p.m. ET following prelims on ESPN+.

Walker knows just how good former title challenger Ankalaev is but thinks he needs to do a better job of promoting himself.

“People have to notice him,” Walker told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “He’s very quiet. He doesn’t speak much. He just has to show more emotion, do something to make people want to see him fight. He’s a good fighter already; now he needs a little bit better personality just to promote himself. It’s for his own good.”

Currently riding a three-fight winning streak, Walker expects to earn a title shot with a win over Ankalaev.

“He’s a really dangerous fighter,” Walker said. “Tough Russian guy, and he’s (No. 2) in the world, what else can you say? He’s No. 2 in the division, the second most dangerous guy in the division. He’s very tough and imagine somebody beats him, if somebody beats him, this guy is going to be ready for the title shot next.”

After receiving criticism for his split draw against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282, Ankalaev vowed to show more of a sense of urgency moving forward. But Walker doubts Ankalaev changes up his style too much.

“If some things happen, they always come back to the same way he always fights because it’s trustable for them,” Walker said. “If it doesn’t work, he always comes back to the same style. So, let’s see. I’m excited because I can change my style.

“I’m a very unorthodox fighter. I fight different than everyone. I have my own style, so I can change my style. I don’t know if he’s capable to do this. But if he does and something goes wrong, you always come back to the old one.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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