Best UFC Vegas 84 Bets: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker 2 Picks

  • What: UFC Vegas 84 Main Event
  • Who: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker
  • Date:Β Saturday, January 13, 2024
  • Location: UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV
  • Time: Prelims (4:00 p.m. ET), Main Card (7:00 p.m. ET)
  • How to Watch: ESPN+

The first UFC card of 2024 occurs on January 13. That event, UFC Vegas 84, occurs at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main event is a light heavyweight scrap between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker. The contest is a rematch. Ankalaev and Walker met in October on the pay-per-view portion of UFC 294. That bout ended in a no contest after Ankalaev landed an illegal knee at the 3:13 mark of Round 1 that left the doctor waving off the fight. Here is some information on Ankalaev and Walker before we discuss the betting breakdown for UFC Vegas 84..

Magomed Ankalaev (17-1-1-1) enters UFC Vegas 84 as the No. 3 fighter in the official UFC light heavyweight rankings. He is unbeaten since Paul Craig submitted him at the literal last second of their March 2018 matchup. Ankalaev’s last complete fight was his UFC 282 draw with former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. That contest was for the vacant UFC light heavyweight crown. He is unbeaten in his past 11 outings.

Johnny Walker (21-7-0-1) is ranked No. 7 in the UFC’s 205-pound division. He is unbeaten in four fights. Walker was on a three-fight winning streak before UFC 294. His most recent victory was a May 2023 decision win over former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith.

Before we look at the best bets for the Ankalaev vs. WalkerΒ matchup, which serves as the UFC Vegas 84 main event, check out the best UFC betting sitesΒ and where you can find theΒ best odds on all the UFC fights.

UFC Vegas 84 main event: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker betting picks

FightersBetOnline ReviewBovadaBetUS ReviewBetNow Review
Johnny Walker+375+355+350+365
Magomed Ankalaev-500-450-500-490

UFC Vegas 84 main event: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker betting breakdown

The closing odds of the first fight between these two had Magomed Ankalaev installed as the -360 betting favorite, while Johnny Walker came in as a +285 underdog. Although the battle lasted less than a round, the oddsmakers have Ankalaev as a much bigger favorite in this rematch. There are a few reasons for that, the biggest is that Ankalaev is a bad matchup for Walker’s fighting style.

Ankalaev, due to his wide boxing stance, is susceptible to leg kicks, which Blachowicz used to his advantage in that contest. That’s something that Walker can use to his advantage. However, the leg kick leaves Walker open to being taken down, and that’s where Ankalaev will have the edge in this fight, on the mat. Ankalaev is excellent at controlling his opponents on that mat, where he uses wrist control, ground strikes, and the threat of submission attempts to grind on his foes. Had he been more focused on that part of his game in the early going of the Blachowicz fight, Ankalaev could have left UFC 282 with UFC gold.

As for Walker, he was once a dynamic and risk-taking striker. Since his move to SBG Ireland, he has become a much more focused and controlled competitor. The drawback is that he often looks for the perfect time and place to strike, which has made him a fighter who is easier to get a read on.

Magomed AnkalaevTO BEAT JOHNNY WALKER
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-500
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UFC Vegas 84 main event: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker statistical breakdown

Walker has a three-inch height advantage and a seven-inch reach advantage over Ankalaev. The two matchup fairly evenly in offensive striking, with Ankalaev landing 3.56 significant strikes per minute to Walker’s 3.87. Walker is more accurate than Ankalaev, landing 56 percent of his attempts to his opponent’s 52 percent. Defensively, Ankalaev has the advantage. He gets hit 2.20 times per minute, whereas Walker gets tagged at a rate of 2.64, and his defensive striking percentage is 58 percent, while Walker’s is 45 percent.

Ankalaev’s takedown attempts ramped up in the Blachowicz fight, where he went two for 10 on takedowns. However, his control time in the final two rounds of that fight was overwhelming. He had 4:32 of control time in the fourth stanza and 4:50 of control time in the final round. While that didn’t thrill many spectators, it gave him those rounds on the scorecards, with two judges giving him 10-8 marks in the fifth. Walker’s takedown defense of 57 percent spells trouble for him in this matchup.

Ankalaev went one for one in takedowns in their first meeting and had 1:06 of control time (of a 3:13 fight) before the doctor waved off the contest.

Johnny WalkerTO BEAT MAGOMED ANKALAEV
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+355
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Best Bets: UFC Vegas 84 main event – Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker

There is little betting value in picking the betting favorite in this contest, Magomed Ankalaev, as a straight-up winner. With that, the betting value is in choosing how he will defeat Johnny Walker at UFC Vegas 84. With five rounds to work, Ankalaev will likely get a knockout win in the second half of this contest, with the victory likely coming due to ground strikes after a takedown and wrist control, which was how he beat up Walker in the first fight. There is an outside chance for Walker to get the surprise knockout win, but that’s a risky bet with a high reward.

Best UFC Vegas 84 Main Event Betting Pick: Magomed Ankalaev to beat Johnny Walker via knockout.

Magomed AnkalaevTO BEAT JOHNNY WALKER
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-500
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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.