Chael Sonnen Tells UFC, Alex Pereira To Avoid Magomed Ankalaev Fight: ‘Dana White’s A Big Gambler, I Don’t Know If He’s That Big…’

Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has some advice for the promotion when it comes to booking Alex Pereira’s next fight.

Pereira further grew his stock and enhanced his legacy on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage this past weekend by knocking out Jiří Procházka in the main event of the UFC 303 pay-per-view in Las Vegas.

As was the case with his KO of Jamahal Hill at UFC 300, “Poatan” was drafted in to save the day on June 29. That was after the cancellation of Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler left the headline slot open.

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The Brazilian made the most of the opportunity by recording a second win over “BJP,” repeating the feat he achieved at Madison Square Garden in New York City last November.

While Pereira’s triumph inside the T-Mobile Arena remains the talk of the town, discussion is beginning to turn to what could lie in waiting for the UFC light heavyweight champion, and the leading option appears to be a man long touted as “Poatan’s” toughest challenge at 205 pounds…

Sonnen: Pereira vs. Ankalaev A Risk ‘Not Worth’ Taking

Magomed Ankalaev immediately made his voice heard in the aftermath of UFC 303, taking to social media to stake his claim for the next shot and vowing to knock out the reigning champ.

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Like many, Sonnen sees the Dagestani’s ground game as the major threat to Pereira, and for that reason, he thinks the UFC would be wise to pursue other avenues for the Brazilian’s next fight.

“You’re gonna start hearing about Ankalaev (as Pereira’s next fight),” Sonnen said during a recent interview with Infinity Sports Network. “He’s just the only guy that’s left. The problem there is Ankalaev does have the one skillset — he’s a fighter from Dagestan, which means he has high-level grappling. … And the one style that we haven’t seen Alex dominate or even defeat is that kind of a wrestler.

“It’s not worth the risk, in my opinion. To take the risk that this guy could get over on your biggest — this guy called Ankalaev…to take the risk of him taking the spot of your biggest star, I don’t know,” Sonnen continued. “Dana White’s a big gambler, man, I don’t know if he’s that big.”

Ankalaev appeared to solidify his place in the title conversation by viciously stopping Johnny Walker in the first UFC main event of 2024.

Prior to the no contest with Walker that came beforehand, the Russian reeled off nine straight wins following a shock loss to Paul Craig, a run that included victories over Nikita Kyrlov, Volkan Oezdemir, Thiago Santos, and Anthony Smith.

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