Magomed Ankalaev earned a unanimous decision victory over Thiago Santos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 203 tonight in Las Vegas.
The light-heavyweight main event is underway in Las Vegas.
Cautious start from both men as they size each other up from range. Ankalaev feels out with a front kick to the body that doesn’t connect. Santos looking for oblique kicks. He lands an outside leg kick.
Ankalaev gradually starting to take the center of the Octagon. Light leg kick from Santos. Counter right from Ankalaev connects nicely. Now a body kick from him.
Body kick from Santos and a right hand counter lands for Ankalaev. Front kick to the body from Santos.
Front kick to the body from Ankalaev now. Santos comes up short with a punch and Ankalaev throws hard on the counter and lands a nice left hand. Looking sharp with these counters so far.
Ankalaev lands a front kick to the body. Now a grazing right hand over the top and another kick behind it.
Santos flashes a front kick upstairs that just misses the target and then lands a leg kick.
Both try to throw quick front kicks to the body. leg kick from Santos. Spinning kick from Ankalaev, but didn’t commit to it.
Kick to the body from Ankalaev. Leg kick from Santos. Both fighters still being cautious offensively for now.
Body punch from Santos. He tries a head kick but it’s blocked. Leg kick from Santos and then one to the inside. Another body kick from Santos as he starts to open up a little more.
Ankalaev backing him up, but doesn’t attack. He closes in again, seemingly waiting to work on the counter. Leg kick from Santos and Ankalaev lands one in response. Body punches from Ankalaev now.
Inside leg kick for Ankalaev and an outside one from Santos. Head kick attempt from Santos. Body kick for Ankalaev and Santos almost caught it.
Another head kick attempt from Santos is blocked. Kick attempt from Santos, but Ankalaev lands a right hook counter and a head kick attempt.
Body punch from Ankalaev. Two-piece combo in response from Santos misses. Jab for Ankalaev. Santos tries to fires his out and Ankalaev catches him on the counter again.
Right hand for Ankalaev. Hook lands for Santos and Ankalaev looked a little wobbled from that. Santos comes in again and lands a overhand left that floors Ankalaev. Not much time left in the round though and Ankalaev is able to survive.
Leg kick for Santos. Ankalaev still looking to pressure him and he launches a big head kick that’s just blocked.
Light leg kick and an oblique kick from Santos. Nice left hand from Ankalaev lands. Low outside kick from Ankalaev.
Front kick to the body from Ankalaev. Thigh kick from Santos. Low kick from Ankalaev. Ankalaev pumps the jab. Low kick from Santos.
Front kick to the body for Ankalaev. Hard body kick from Ankalaev and one in return from Santos. Body punch from Ankalaev. Good straight left from Ankalaev knocks Santos backwards, but he doesn’t seem too badly hurt.
Leg kick for Santos. Body punch from Ankalaev. Now a front kick to the body. Kick from Santos is caught and Ankalaev lands a left hand off that.
Ankalaev checks a leg kick. Nice right hand counter from Ankalaev. Leg kick attempt from Santos. Ankalaev lands another nice left hand at the end of the round.
Grazing right hand for Ankalaev and a kick behind it. Santos suddenly pressing forward aggressively with punches and big jumping knee. Ankalaev staying composed though and emerges relatively unscathed.
left hand from Ankalaev and Santos fires off a couple of hooks in response. Inside leg kick from Santos. Hard left hand from Ankalaev.
Jab for Ankalaev. Body punch now. Santos backing off and takes a big deep breath. Good left hand from Ankalaev. Santos tries to land a winging punch and gets caught on the counter.
Spinning head kick attempt from Santos just misses the target. Both miss with big strikes.
Front kick to the body from Ankalaev. Body punch from him. Another one lands. Big strike for Ankalaev lands. Now he works the left hand.
Body punch for Ankalaev. Suddenly Ankalaev works into the clinch for the first time. He lands a couple of knees to the leg and then throws Santos nicely to the mat.
Ankalaev in half-guard and looking to work a few elbows to the head. Final 10 seconds and he postures up to land a couple of strikes.
Oblique kick from Ankalaev. Leg kick from Santos. Body punch and kick from Ankalaev. Inside leg kick from Santos.
Grazing right hook from Ankalaev. Outside leg kick from Santos. Now a left hand over the top from him, but Ankalaev moves away from it.
Both men coming up a little short with punches. Right hand for Ankalaev and then to the body. Ankalaev again bursts into the clinch against the cage with half the round remaining.
A couple of knees in the clinch from Ankalaev. More knees to the leg land solidly. Ankalaev starting to work towards a takedown, but nothing doing for now.
Into the final minutes and more knees to the leg land. Knee lands upstairs now. Ankalaev happy to grind out the final seconds of the round in the clinch and we’re heading to the scorecards.
So this was a somewhat cautious fight from both men then, but Ankalaev was the sharper fighter on the counter and was able to mix in his grappling and clinch-work into the equation in the latter stages of the fight to help ensure that he’d emerge the winner via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47).