A light heavyweight rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion ‘The Hulk’ Cuţelaba is targeted to finally take place at UFC 252 on August 15th. – with a location and venue for the event yet to be confirmed by the promotion.
Ankalaev and Cuţelaba were expected to re-run their controversial first meeting at the first instalment of UFC 248 at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort on April 18th. in Lemoore, California – until the entire event was shelved amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The initial pairing between the two at UFC Fight Night Norfolk ended in dubious circumstance, after referee, Kevin MacDonald called a halt to the action, believing Cuţelaba was out on his feet before the Moldovan immediately began protesting the stoppage. News of the attempted rematch was initially reported by MMA Fighting reporters, Guilherme Cruz and Damon Martin.
The result, albeit contentious, marked Ankalaev’s fourth-consecutive victory, following his one and only promotion defeat, in a shocking final second triangle loss to Paul Craig back at UFC Fight Night London in March of 2018. The 28-year-old striker recovered with victories against the likes of Marcin Prachnio, Klidson Abreu, and Daicha Lungiambula. The Makhachkala native is a former WFCA light heavyweight titleholder, scoring his one and only title defence, opposite UFC alumnus, Wagner Prado.
Since his Octagon bow back in June of 2016, Cuţelaba has amassed a 4-4 record under the promotional banner. The 26-year-old prospect has managed wins over Jonathan Wilson, Henrique da Silva, Gadzhimurad Antigulov, and Khalil Rountree Jr. In his four defeats, Cuţelaba has blemished against submission-specialist, Misha Cirkunov, middleweight challenger, Jared Cannonier, one-time division title challenger, Glover Teixeira, and the above-noted, Ankalaev.