In a night filled with fouls and contentious officiating decisions, the most bewildering moment of UFC 294 unfolded during the highly anticipated light heavyweight bout between Johnny Walker and Magomed Ankalaev.
The bout, which took place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, started with a series of intense exchanges on the feet, with Ankalaev (18-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) ultimately taking Walker (21-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) to the canvas. However, it was what followed that left the crowd in shock. As they grappled for position, Ankalaev delivered a knee to the grounded Walker’s head, prompting a timeout.
— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) October 21, 2023
Referee Rich Mitchell halted the fight at 3:13 of Round 1 on the advice of the cageside physician, who had already been embroiled in controversy earlier in the event. This decision triggered a chaotic sequence of events.
Disappointing end to this one.
— UFC (@ufc) October 21, 2023
Walker, visibly frustrated, shoved referee Rich Mitchell and signaled for the bout to continue. Commission and promotion officials rushed into the fight area, adding to the chaos. Ankalaev was eager to resume the fight, and tensions escalated.
UFC CEO Dana White entered the scene in an attempt to restore order, using strong language. Eventually, the situation was defused, and the official decision was announced, although it was met with displeasure from those in attendance.
The fight's been called! ❌
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) October 21, 2023
The bout between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker was declared a no contest due to an illegal knee from Ankalaev. The outcome cast doubt on the possibility of a rematch, but it was an important fight for the light heavyweight division. Ankalaev, who last competed in a vacant title fight draw with Jan Blachowicz at UFC 282 in December, sought to make his mark. Meanwhile, Walker aimed to extend his three-fight winning streak to four.
Magomed Ankalaev illegally knees Johnny Walker at UFC 294 pic.twitter.com/IJuZZhnp0F
— Takedown Defense (@ChillemThreebo) October 21, 2023
UFC 294 Results:
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Johnny Walker declared a no contest (accidental illegal knee) – Round 1, 3:13
Ikram Aliskerov def. Warlley Alves via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:07
Said Nurmagomedov def. Muin Gafurov via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:13
Muhammad Mokaev def. Tim Elliott via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 3:03
Trevor Peek def. Mohammad Yahya via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Javid Basharat vs. Victor Henry declared no contest (accidental groin strike by Basharat) – Round 2, 0:15
Sedriques Dumas def. Abu Azaitar via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Breeden def. Anshul Jubli via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 3:00
Muhammad Naimov def. Nathaniel Wood via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Viktoriia Dudakova def. Jinh Yu Frey via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Shara Magomedov def. Bruno Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)