Prediction: Nikita Krylov vs Alexander Gustafsson

Two veterans of the game face off on the primary card of UFC London this weekend as Ukraine’s Nikita Krylov will tackle Sweden’s personal Alexander Gustafsson.

The previous of the boys will put his #11 rating on the road because the Swede seems to return to 205lbs after the briefest of stints at heavyweight and a two-year-long layoff. Each males wish to bounce again into the win column following a few losses every, Krylov to fellow contenders, Paul Craig, who can also be combating on the cardboard, and Magomed Ankalaev.

Gustafsson will likely be coming off of a loss to former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, together with Anthony Smith and the best gentle heavyweight in historical past Jon Jones.

Whatever the misfortune of their most up-to-date fights, each males have confirmed a capability to hold with the perfect fighters on this planet of their weight class, and given a lift with a win over both of them, the winner must be thrown proper again into the contenders combine at 205 kilos.

Betting Odds

As a result of his exercise and grappling prowess, Nikita Krylov would be the favourite over the person who thrice challenged for the sunshine heavyweight title.


This isn’t a simple battle for both man. Each are skilled veterans of the game, with Krylov coming into the MMA ring or cage 36 instances and Gustafsson 25. Though Krylov holds extra fights underneath his belt, it’s Gustafsson who has fought on the pinnacle, for the UFC belt, on three separate events . The expertise on each side has molded very well-rounded fighters, who each have stable abilities in all areas and the power to make good selections deep into the battle.

Nikita Krylov comes from a Kyokushin Karate background, together with a grasp of sports activities in Military hand-to-hand fight in Ukraine and a grasp of sports activities in submission grappling. Whereas he has stable all-round placing, his heavy takedowns and prime strain are the bread and butter of his battle type. This has earned him 15 submission victories, adopted by 11 knockouts, lots of which additionally ended on the mat. Though he might have the abilities to deal with Gustafsson upstairs, it’s way more logical for the Ukrainian to chase the takedown. Whereas standing, he’s well-rounded, capable of punch simply as simply as he kicks, and has first rate energy in every single place. His greatest device is his slick entrance kick to straight left mixtures, which he additionally mixes up on the opposite aspect ending with the correct. Generally, although, he tends to finish his mixtures with kicks, forcing his opponent to slide out of the way in which of large punches and consuming the leg on the exit. The opposite main tactic he’ll use is to modify stance into the correct hook when his opponent’s stands orthodox and use the hook to dig hooks and swivel to the again so as to wrestle his opponent right into a again clinch towards the fence.

On the mat, he has a wide range of instruments, however his go-to look is normally to dominate prime place by lacing the legs and digging his brow into his opponent’s chest. He’ll widen his base when the place is secured in order to drive as a lot prime strain as potential or transition into half guard and sit on the leg, content material to rain down floor and pound from there. If he’s crushed out in a scramble and finally ends up on the underside, he has a very efficient butterfly guard, which he makes use of to try conventional sweeps or roll up into posture and chain into his personal double leg, however what he doesn’t do is search for a rise up as he’s so focusedsed on the grappling match he’s in.

This may very well be each good and dangerous relying on the opponent, however as a result of he can have the overall edge on the canvas towards Gustafsson, it is a stable selection. Gustafsson is the longer fighter with an additional 1.5 inches, however accentuated by his use of footwork. He likes to battle very elusively and Krylov, who will bully his method ahead with not like mixtures from the opening bell, Gustafsson has a really calculated strategy, first skirting the outer cage and seeking to stick huge single photographs and transfer earlier than resetting within the middle and slowly mastering the pace and vary of the battle. He’s so dedicated to continually resetting and stuffing any of his opponent’s momentum he’ll typically slip, duck, flip and dash away so as to take action. Nonetheless, as soon as he has found out which of his strikes can land persistently, he begins to construct mixtures off of them, typically both the straight proper or straight uppercut and chaining hooks and kicks to the tip. His greatest kick is his proper low kick, which he steps far left throughout and lands on the entrance of the thigh.

By way of grappling, Gustafsson has an uncommon observe document. He’s recognized primarily as a striker, however his tendency to combine in takedowns is a pivotal tactic in his type so as to combine issues up and maintain his opponents uncomfortable. Most followers are aware of his function as the primary fighter to takedown Jon Jones, however he additionally has success ending up on prime of different fighters who on paper must be higher on the mat together with Glover Texiera and Anthony Smith.

Largely his success is as a result of sudden nature of his takedowns, after threatening sufficient that his opponent is preoccupied together with his boxing and feints, and the truth that he doesn’t take dangers as soon as the place is secured. He’ll keep contained in the guard, keep tight and drop very brief elbows, cautious to not over-extend any limbs or actually attempt to advance and lose place. The foremost caveat right here nonetheless is that his readiness to take the battle in every single place has additionally backfired towards Anthony Smith after hurting the American and taking him right down to win the spherical on prime, an overconfident Gustafsson too readily regarded for an additional takedown in spherical two, the place he was outclassed and submitted. Whereas it was not him that engaged Werdum on the bottom, alternatives to get again to his ft quite than preserve his sprawl and land floor and pound had been missed which additionally finally led to the mistaken finish of a submission.


Gustafsson’s current observe document within the grappling division is probably going the explanation Krylov is the favourite, together with their current exercise. Nonetheless, I consider this battle is Gustafsson’s to win or lose, he has to remain disciplined on the ft and humble on the mat as Krylov is normally the quicker starter, however Gustafsson has the most important edge in accuracy, footwork, and vary.

This could permit Gustafsson to stay and transfer and keep away from early flurries and photographs from Krylov, to finally begin pulling forward within the second half of the battle, however the largest caveat is that he has to stay on prime of the sport plan even when alternatives to establishing dominant floor place on Krylov arises.

For Krylov, his greatest shot is getting Gustafsson chilly and dry early, the place he cannot so simply slip out of submissions, and any rust constructed up over two years off is most evident.

Nonetheless, talent for talent, I believe that Alexander Gustafsson is likely one of the greatest worth underdogs on the playing cards and will be capable to pull off the victory.

Prediction: Alexander Gustafsson to win (+170 odds at MyBookie)

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