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Midnight Mania! UFC rebooks Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba yet again for UFC 254

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UFC Fight Night: Cutelaba v Ankalaev Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Just how long can a grudge match simmer?

Per ESPN, UFC is once again attempting to book Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba, this time for UFC 254 on October 24. The two have technically fought once already, but Cutelaba played such an effective possum that the referee believed him, calling off the bout even as “Hulk” threw punches at his opponent!

Naturally, a rematch was deemed necessary, and frankly, the hype around the match up actually grew. It’s already somewhat rare for quality Light Heavyweight prospects to collide, let alone with bad blood surrounding the match up! Unfortunately, the initially planned rematch was scratched when the entire UFC 249 card was canned due to COVID-19.

Fast-forward to UFC 252, where the two were booked once again. Unfortunately, Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19 just a few days before the event. UFC tried to force the match up to happen just two weeks later, but apparently Cutelaba was not yet fully clear of the virus, as the bout was cancelled the day of the event.

Fortunately, it appears UFC has learned its lesson. With the match up still roughly a month-and-a-half away, Cutelaba should be fully healthy ... assuming neither man gets injured, and Ankalaev manages to stay COVID free himself.

While quite not Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov in terms of cursed fights, Ankalaev vs. Cutelaba is climbing the ranks of long delayed match ups. If they do finally get to fight it out, who ya’ got?!?

Insomnia

Personally, I don’t mind waking up to a fight card at all, and if I were on the East Coast still, I would absolutely prefer it!

An animated “Highlight” of Justin Gaethje!

Khamzat Chimaev is definitely good, but he might be a touch ahead of himself.

A throwback from Dan Hardy’s Taekwondo days.

In defense of Angela Hill, this is a tasty looking rock.

Big John McCarthy with the coolest MMA-related mask I’ve seen yet!

Slips, rips, and KO clips

Throwback to that time Geoff Neal nearly killed a man:

While on the topic of head kicks, last night’s “Contender Series” delivered the violence!

Ahead of Marcus Almeida’s transition to the cage, some highlights of his nasty armbar seem rather relevant.

Random Land

Quite literally do-or-die.

Midnight Music: This cool track (which, admittedly, I first recognized from a Kanye West sample) popped up on a playlist tonight:

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 254 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 254: “Khabib vs. Gaethje” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.