Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev: UFC Fight Night 203 Preview & Betting Guide


March 12

UFC Fight Night 203 Betting Preview:

The main event features Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev in what could be a title eliminator for Ankalaev.

LWW – #5 Thiago Santos (22-9-0) vs. LHW – #6 Magomed Ankalaev (16-1-0)

Date: Saturday, March 12, 2022 | Time: 4:00 PM ET

Venue: UFC Apex – Enterprise, Nevada | Broadcast Coverage: ESPN+

Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev Moneyline and Odds

Odds to Win: Santos (+450) | Ankalaev (-650)

How Will Fight End: KO/TKO (-125), Submission (+650), Decision (+110)

Will the fight go the distance? Yes (+110) No (-135)

All NHL betting lines and odds are provided by BetMGM.

Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev News, Analysis, and Picks

Santos has lost three of his past four fights, including a three-bout losing streak which started with a challenge to Jon Jones’s light heavyweight title in 2019. Santos snapped the skid in his previous fight with a five-round decision over Johnny Walker. Ankalaev has only one loss on his record, by knockout to Paul Craig in the final second of their three-round bout. It was a fight he was dominating until the last ten seconds of the final round. Ankalaev’s lone loss was four years ago and since that time, he’s strung together a seven-fight win streak, four of which he’s won by knockout.

Ankalaev will come into tonight with a one-inch height advantage, while Santos will have a one-inch reach advantage. They are both big fighters for the weight class and they hit hard. Santos might have a slight power advantage because he can knock guys out with either hand. He tends to switch stances but is equally effective from both. Ankalaev is technically sound on the feet but does keep his chin a little high. He also likes to use his knees when pinning opponents to the change.

Santos has dangerous calf kicks, but Ankalaev has excellent high kicks. Don’t expect Santos to throw too many outside leg kicks because it will leave him open to takedowns, which Ankalaev is exceptionally skilled at. Like most fighters from Dagestan, Ankalaev has excellent wrestling skills. He tends to look for control over his opponent’s limbs when the fight hits the matt and can throw some ground-and-pound from his opponent’s guard. The wrestling is an area where Santos will have a real issue, as his grappling is far from world-class and he does not possess an excellent takedown defense.

Our expectation is Ankalaev will take Santos to the ground and work from the top position for at least two rounds, if not more. The problem for Santos will be closing the distance without getting taken down. There isn’t a spot in the fight where Santos will have an overwhelming advantage, as the areas in which he is skilled are areas that Ankalaev is also strong, but Ankalaev has strengths that Santos cannot equal.

Santos can go a full five rounds, but Ankalaev will probably smother him with pressure.

Look for Ankalaev to finish this fight in the third or fourth round.

The Bets: Magomed Ankalaev by KO/TKO (+125); Will the fight go the distance? No (-135)

All UFC predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid.

Thumbnail photo via Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

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