The on-again, off-again rematch between light heavyweight contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba has been re-booked for UFC 254.
The UFC added Ankalaev vs. Cutelaba 2 to its official fight card for UFC 254, which takes place on October 24 on Fight Island. The main event of that card is scheduled to see UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov take on interim champ Justin Gaethje. Also on the card is a lightweight bout between Islam Makhachev and Rafael dos Anjos.
The rematch between Ankalaev and Cutelaba has been rescheduled several times ever since their controversial first fight earlier this year at UFC Norfolk. In the first encounter between the two rivals, Ankalaev won the fight via first-round TKO after referee Kevin MacDonald stepped in too soon and stopped the fight. The stoppage has been called one of the worst in UFC history by several pundits and so the UFC booked the rematch. Unfortunately, the rematch seems to be ‘cursed’ as the UFC has had issues booking it.
The rematch between Ankalaev was originally set to take place at UFC 249 in April, but the card was postponed and the fight was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. The matchmakers then re-booked the fight for UFC 252 in August but Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was once again scrapped. The promotion tried to re-book it for UFC on ESPN+ 33: Smith vs. Rakic, but once again Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19. The UFC hopes that this re-booking for the UFC 254 card in October will go smoothly.
Ankalaev (14-1) holds a 4-1 record in the UFC so far, with wins over Cutelaba, Dalcha Lungiambula, Klidson Abreu, and Marcin Prachnio, with a loss to Paul Craig. The 28-year-old Russian has quickly shot himself into the top-15 in the UFC light heavyweight division with his current four-fight win streak. Should he defeat Cutelaba in this rematch, look for the UFC to give Ankalaev the opportunity to fight a top-10 opponent in his next fight.
Cutelaba (15-5, 1 NC) is 4-4 overall in the UFC with wins over Khalil Rountree, Ghadzhimurad Antigulov, Henrique da Silva, and Jonathan Wilson, with losses to Ankalaev, Glover Teixeira, Jared Cannonier, and Misha Cirkunov. The 26-year-old Moldovan has not been able to string together any sort of consistency in the UFC. But should he get by Ankalaev in this rematch, he should jump into the top-15 at 205lbs.
How confident are you that Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba will go on as scheduled at UFC 254?