UFC light heavyweight Magomed Ankalaev says he would rematch Ion Cutelaba if the UFC wants it, but he believes he hurt his opponent before the ref stoppage.
Ankalaev was declared the winner by TKO early in the first round after connecting with several kicks to the body and head of Cutelaba, who appeared to be wobbling. But Cutelaba was actually playing possum, which became apparent as soon as referee Kevin MacDonald stepped in. The replay also showed that Cutelaba was blocking a majority of the strikes. Several UFC fighters commented it was amongst the worst stoppages they’ve ever seen as Cutelaba was clearly not knocked out and the fight had no business of being stopped.
Still, there’s no doubt this was an early stoppage and it is sure to be a controversial one going forward. Speaking to reports after the bout, Ankalaev was asked if he would be open to a rematch. The Russian said he will do it if the UFC asks, but he believes he hurt Cutelaba and doesn’t agree with all of the controversy.
“All I can say is that I hurt him. I connected the high kick and he was wobbling, and the referee stepped in to stop the fight. That’s all I have,” Magomed said (via MMAjunkie.com).
“I don’t need the rematch, but if the UFC makes it, then I will accept. I don’t turn down fights. I will fly back home and spend time with my family because it was a long camp.”
Ankalaev was also asked what Cutelaba said to him after the bout. The Russian said that Ankalaev was explaining to him how he was playing possum, but Ankalaev told him the ref was just doing his job.
“I talked to Ion and he was complaining about the decision, but I just said the ref was doing his job. Ion said it was all going to plan. I don’t know what he meant,” Ankalaev said.
Should Magomed Ankalaev rematch Ion Cutelaba next?