If he hadn’t already, Magomed Ankalaev has solidified his spot as a top contender in the UFC light heavyweight division.

At UFC 267, Ankalaev (16-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) defeated former UFC title challenger Oezdemir (17-6 MMA, 5-5 UFC) by decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

The light heavyweight bout opened up the UFC 267 main card at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. It streamed on ESPN+.

Oezdemir looked strong early and was aggressive against Ankalaev, but the Russian fighter stayed patient and picked his shots. Whether in the clinch or from a distance, Ankalaev looked one step ahead of Oezdemir throughout the entire fight.

In Round 2, a short right hand from Ankalaev sliced Oezdemir near his left eye. The gash was serious and spewed blood but was not bad enough for the fight to be waved off. Throughout the final round, Ankalaev displayed more technical aspects of his game with punches and kicks – and ultimately won via unanimous decision.

With the victory, Ankalaev has won seven straight fights. The streak also includes wins over Nikita Krylov and Ion Cutelaba among others. Ankalaev’s only career loss came via submission against Paul Craig in the final second of their three-round bout in March 2018.

As for Oezdemir, the defeat is his second in a row following a knockout loss to Jiri Prochazka at UFC 251 in July 2020. Oezdemir, 32, has lost five of his most recent seven outings including a January 2018 title shot loss to Daniel Cormier.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 267 results include:

Magomed Ankalaev def. Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Amanda Ribas def. Virna Jandiroba via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Zubaira Tukhugov def. Ricardo Ramos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Albert Duraev def. Roman Kopylov via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Benoit Saint-Denis via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)
Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Shamil Gamzatov via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:31
Lerone Murphy def. Makwan Amirkhani via knockout (knee) – Round 2, 0:14
Andre Petroski def. Hu Yaozong via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 4:46
Tagir Ulanbekov def. Allan Nascimento via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

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