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Nikita
Krylov
remains a flawed but intriguing talent for the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
in a post-Jon Jones
light heavyweight division.

The offensive-minded Ukrainian will step into the Octagon for the
first time in nearly a year when he meets Magomed
Ankalaev
in the
UFC Fight Night 186
co-main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex
in Las Vegas. Still just 28 years of age, Krylov has won 11 of his
past 14 bouts—a stretch that includes victories over “The Ultimate
Fighter” Season 3 finalist Ed Herman and
former Bellator
MMA
champion Emanuel
Newton
. Krylov carries a 96% finish rate, with 11 knockouts and
15 submissions spread out across his 27 career wins.

As Krylov irons out the final details ahead of his showdown with
Ankalaev, a look at some of the rivalries upon which he has built
his reputation:

Cirkunov briefly leapfrogged Krylov in the Ultimate Fighting
Championship’s light heavyweight pecking order when he submitted
“The Miner” with a guillotine choke in the first round of their
featured UFC 206 prelim on Dec. 10, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre
in Toronto. Krylov conceded defeat 4:38 into Round 1. Up until the
finish, he was effective with his kicks and traded takedowns with
Cirkunov. After a restart, the
Xtreme Couture
rep countered a kick with a crushing left hook
that sat down Krylov and left him vulnerable to the choke. Cirkunov
then sat back on the guillotine and forced the tapout.

Blachowicz continued his climb at 205 pounds when he submitted the
returning Krylov with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of
their UFC Fight Night 136 co-headliner on Sept. 15, 2018 at
Olimpiysky Arena in Moscow. Nearing a state of unconsciousness,
Krylov bowed out 2:41 into Round 2. Blachowicz conceded a takedown
in the first round but escaped an ill-advised guillotine attempt
from the former Fight Nights Global champion, moved into top
position and used stifling positional control to turn the tide in
his favor. He countered an ankle lock from Krylov in the second
round, advanced to side control and caught the fight-ending choke
when “The Miner” exposed his back. Krylov went back to the drawing
board following his first UFC appearance in almost two years.
Blachowicz went on to become UFC light heavyweight champion.

Patience paid, as Krylov dispatched “OSP” with a rear-naked choke
in the second round of their UFC 236 rematch on April 13, 2019 at
State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The Ukrainian brought it to a close
2:30 into Round 2, avenging a 2014 defeat to St. Preux in which he
was rendered unconscious by a Von Flue shoulder choke. Krylov
withstood a takedown-centered assault from the Knoxville MMA rep in
the first round, where he maintained his composure despite being
mounted at one point. St. Preux’s efforts were effective but
compromised his cardio, and at the start of middle stanza, Krylov
was clearly the fresher man. He stuffed a St. Preux takedown,
answered with one of his own and climbed to mount, forcing the
former University of Tennessee linebacker to surrender his back.
Krylov threaded his hooks, softened his counterpart with elbows to
the side of the head and cinched the fight-ending choke.

They were thought to be on parallel tracks, until Krylov proved
otherwise. “The Miner” rebounded from a contentious defeat to
Glover
Teixeira
six months earlier and improved to 8-5 inside the
Octagon, as he laid claim to a unanimous verdict over Walker in
their UFC Fight Night 170 light heavyweight showcase on March 14,
2020 at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil. All three
judges sided with Krylov: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. He executed three
takedowns in the first two rounds, then outstruck the hard-charging
Walker by a 50-21 margin the third to win on points for the first
time in his 34-fight career. Advertisement


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