UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs. Walker 2 - Odds, Predictions & Picks

Written by: Ryan Bristlon
Published January 13, 2024
6 min read
  • A LHW bout that ended in controversy last year will see it’s rematch main event the first event of 2024

  • Ankalaev & Walker originally met at UFC 294 but the bout ended early due to an illegal strike

  • Jim Miller fights on the main card which takes away his chance at being the only fighter to compete at UFC 100, 200 & 300

UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington

The odds for this match are provided by the DraftKings Sportsbook. Click the odds below to place your bets.

Fighter Odds
Magomed Ankalaev -550
Johnny Walker +410
Fighter Odds
Matheus Nicolau +220
Manel Kape -270
Fighter Odds
Jim Miller -130
Gabriel Benitez +110
Fighter Odds
Ricky Simon -185
Mario Bautista +154
Fighter Odds
Phil Hawes +110
Brunno Ferreira -130
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UFC Fight Night Ankalaev vs Walker 2 Predictions

UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs. Walker 2 - Picks & Predictions

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker - Light Heavyweight Division

Our pick: Magomed Ankalaev (-550) at DraftKings

Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape - Flyweight Division

Our pick: Matheus Nicolau (+220) at DraftKings

Jim Miller vs. Gabriel Benitez - Lightweight Division

Our pick: Gabriel Benitez (+110) at DraftKings

Ricky Simon vs. Mario Bautista - Bantamweight Division

Our pick: Ricky Simon (-185) at DraftKings

Phil Hawes vs. Brunno Ferreira - Middleweight Division

Our pick: Bruno Ferreira (-130) at DraftKings

Head over to DraftKings Sportsbook to bet on our picks!

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker - Light Heavyweight Division

Magomed Ankalaev TALE OF THE TAPE Johnny Walker
31 Age 31
6 ft 3 in Height 6 ft 5 in
75 in Reach 82 in
17-1-1, 1 no-contest Record 21-7, 1 no-contest

Magomed Ankalaev has not had an easy go of things in the past year. Although he has not lost during the stretch of his last 11 fights, the Russian fighter fought Jan Blachowicz (for the light heavyweight championship) to a draw in 2022 and then through an illegal knee in his 2023 bout against Walker, leading to a no-contest.

Will his third time be the charm? Ankalaev is set to rematch Johnny Walker in the main event this Saturday and get back (officially) into the win column.

However, excluding the recent no-contest, Walker is riding a three-fight winning streak and seems to improve with every fight since switching his training camp to Ireland.

Walker will stand two inches taller and have an incredible seven-inch reach advantage. But despite these physical attributes, it is Ankalaev - the fighter with only one professional loss on his record - who comes in as the -550 favorite to win; the largest betting favorite on the entire main card.

To find out how to place your bets for this light heavyweight main event, check out our ultimate UFC betting guide to get started.

Matheus Nicolau vs. Manel Kape - Flyweight Division

Matheus Nicolau TALE OF THE TAPE Manel Kape
31 Age 30
5 ft 6 in Height 5 ft 6 in
66 in Reach 68 in
19-3-1 Record 19-6

Riding a four-fight winning streak (and some controversy) into his co-main event bout against Matheus Nicolau this Saturday, number-six ranked flyweight Manel Kape looks to get himself one step closer to a title shot in 2024.

No stranger to winning streaks himself, Nicolau only recently had his six-fight win streak snapped when he lost via KO at the hands of Brandon Royval last April.

Nicolau is ranked just above Kape at number-five in the division and is also looking to cement his place as the true number-one contender at flyweight.

However, Kape (and his two-inch reach advantage) are listed as the -270 favorite.

Jim Miller vs. Gabriel Benitez - Lightweight Division

Jim Miller TALE OF THE TAPE Gabriel Benitez
40 Age 35
5 ft 8 in Height 5 ft 8 in
71 in Reach 71 in
36-17, 1 no-contest Record 23-10

Jim Miller - UFC 100 participant, UFC 200 participant and UFC 300 participant? Although this fight is early in the year, this schedule likely means that Jim Miller will not become the only UFC fighter to appear on all three of the organization’s massive cards.

But this is still a fun fight. Jim Miller and Gabriel Benitez stand at equal height and have an equal reach. The only thing truly separating them is five years of age.

Miller is 4-1 in his last five fights and is coming off a first-round KO win over Jesse Butler.

Benitez, who is 2-2 in his last four, is coming off a first-round TKO win over Charles Ontiveros. However, that fight took place in 2022 and Benitez has yet to fight since.

Fan favorite and UFC veteran Jim Miller, although the elder, is listed as the -130 favorite to win this weekend.

Ricky Simon vs. Mario Bautista - Bantamweight Division

Ricky Simon TALE OF THE TAPE Mario Bautista
31 Age 30
5 ft 6 in Height 5 ft 9 in
69 in Reach 72 in
20-4 Record 13-2

Ricky Simon, the 13th-ranked UFC bantamweight, was enjoying a five-fight winning streak prior to his most recent fight. Unfortunately, in his most recent bout he faced off against top-contender Song Yadong - who defeated Simon via fifth-round TKO last April. He now looks to get himself back into the win column with a win over Mario Bautista this weekend.

Bautista, currently unranked, is riding a five-fight winning streak heading into this fight and most recently defeated Da’Mon Blackshear by decision at UFC 292 last August. He will stand three-inches taller and have a three-inch reach advantage over Simon.

The more experienced Ricky Simon is, regardless, the -185 favorite at DraftKings.

Phil Hawes vs. Brunno Ferreira - Middleweight Division

Phil Hawes TALE OF THE TAPE Brunno Ferreira
35 Age 31
5 ft 11 in Height 5 ft 10 in
77 in Reach 72 in
12-5 Record 10-1

1-1 since signing with the UFC, Brunno Ferreira looks to bounce back from the first loss of his professional career at the hands of Nursulton Ruziboev last July.

He kicks off the main card this Saturday, facing off against Phil Hawes - a fighter who is also looking to bounce back following his second loss in a row (and second by knockout) at the hands of Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 288 last May.

Only one-inch separates these two fighters in height but the veteran Hawes (still a +110 underdog) will have a five-inch reach advantage over Ferreira.

How to Watch UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs. Walker 2

  • LOCATION: UFC Apex, Enterprise, Nevada

  • WHEN: Saturday, January 13

  • TIME: 7 PM EST

  • HOW: ESPN, ESPN+, Sportsnet

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Ryan Bristlon

Sports Betting Analyst

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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of hockey, the NHL in general, and UFC.
Nationality: Canadian
Education: Print and Broadcast Journalism
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