Johnny Walker Preaches Patience

“I was doing good in the fight, I was enjoying it — landed a few shots, was having fun; I was setting up my techniques to get him,” began the Brazilian, reflecting on his initial encounter with the highly regarded Russian. “I faked when he hit me in my belly, but I missed the flying knee, so he capitalized and put me down. He had really good technique, I was trapped on the floor.

“I released myself from the technique and as I was standing up — if he had waited one second, it’s okay to land that knee, but I think he got dispirited because I was back on my feet and he wanted to finish there.”

As Walker was still down, Ankalaev hit him flush in the jaw with an illegal knee, prompting referee Dan Movahedi to pause the action and call the ringside physician in to check on the Brazilian. Unhappy with the answers Walker provided to the questions he asked immediately upon entering the Octagon, the doctor informed the referee that the fight should be halted, as Walker was unable to continue.

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In the moment, Walker was demonstratively frustrated, trying desperately to get the fight restarted and get to Ankalaev. Cooler heads fortunately prevailed, and on the eve of their second meeting, the energetic contender is quick to acknowledge that stopping the fight was a sound decision.

“He landed an illegal shot — it was a really good, strong shot on my jaw,” said Walker. “A week after, I felt my neck lock up and my collarbone was a little weird looking; it was kind of like a car crash.

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