- Nikita Krylov is the favorite at -165.
- Ryan Spann is the underdog at +135.
The UFC action continues this weekend inside the APEX Center in Las Vegas as a pivotal light heavyweight fight headlines the main event and MMA odds. Number six-ranked challenger Nikita Krylov (29-9) faces the number eight-ranked contender Ryan Spann (21-7) for an opportunity to increase their UFC odds of inching closer toward a title shot against reigning champion Jamahal Hill.
— UFC (@ufc) February 20, 2023
Due to his higher ranking, Krylov is the favorite in online sports betting at -165, against Spann, who comes in as the underdog at +135. Krylov and Spann are riding a two-fight winning streak from their previous matches. A win for either man could dramatically see a massive shake-up in the division’s rankings, especially of how loaded the weight class is.
Nikita Krylov Recent Fight Result
Before signing with the UFC in 2013, Nikita Krylov was a force to be reckoned with in other MMA promotions, racking up 15 wins (all finishes) and only two losses. He made his UFC debut in September 2013 as a heavyweight against Soa Palelei but was defeated in the third round via TKO. He instantly redeemed himself with an opening-round TKO victory over Walt Harris in January 2014.
But after two bouts in the heavyweight division, the Ukrainian went down to the light heavyweight division and continued his tenure with the UFC. Krylov was rudely welcomed by Ovince Saint Preux in the 205-pound division after submitting him in the first round of their March 204 fight. But that loss became a jumping board for “The Miner” to go on a hot streak.
Krylov picked up five stoppage victories over Cody Donovan, Stanislav Nedkov, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, Francimar Barroso and Ed Herman to establish his status as a top competitor in the light heavyweight division. This hot streak, though, was snapped by Misha Cirkunov, who submitted Krylov in the second round of their meeting in December 2016.
Following this third UFC career defeat to Cirkunov, Krylov was released from his contract and competed outside the promotion. During his time outside the organization, he collected four wins, including a title triumph in May 2018 to earn his way back to the Dana White-headed promotion. Jan Blachowicz spoiled his homecoming in September 2018.
Blachowicz submitted Krylov with an Arm-Triangle Choke in the second round of their matchup. In his next bout, Krylov exacted revenge on Ovince Saint Preux with a second-round Rear-naked Choke win in April 2019, but the Ukrainian only won one fight in his next four, beating Johnny Walker and losing to Glover Teixeira, Magomed Ankalaev and Paul Craig.
Those setbacks didn’t stop Krylov from pursuing his title aspirations as he rebounded against those defeats with big victories over Alexander Gustafsson (first-round knockout in July 2022) and Volkan Oezdemir (unanimous decision in October 2022). A win against Spann this weekend could push his name into the top five rankings of the division.
Make that 2 straight wins for @KrylovUFC! 👏
— UFC (@ufc) October 22, 2022
Ryan Spann Recent Fight Result
Ryan Spann’s route to the UFC came from the Dana White Contender Series Season 2, Week 2. After falling short in his first try in Season 1, Week 3 in July 2017 due to a first-round knockout loss, Spann returned to the competition 11 months later, finally cracking a roster spot in June 2018 with a Guillotine Choke of Emiliano Sordi in the opening round.
“Superman” wasted no time in proving that he is deserving of his UFC contract by winning his first four bouts against Luis Henrique (unanimous decision in September 2018), Rogerio Nogueira (first-round knockout in May 2019), Devin Clark (second-round submission in October 2019) and Sam Alvey (split decision in May 2020).
However, this hot streak was stopped by Johnny Walker in September 2020 after he knocked out Spann in the first round with a vicious elbow strike. The Beaumont, Texas resident swiftly rebounded from that loss with a first-round TKO win against Misha Cirkunov in March 2021 before sustaining another loss to Anthony Smith in September 2021 via opening-round submission.
Spann swept his two assignments in 2022 by beating Ion Cutelaba via first-round Guillotine Choke in May and knocking out former title challenger Dominick Reyes with brutal punches in the first round of their November showdown. A win against Krylov this weekend can set up Spann in a title eliminator match in his next fight, which is probably versus a top-five-ranked contender.
Ryan Spann's last knockout was VICIOUS 😳
— UFC (@ufc) February 20, 2023
Krylov vs. Spann: Tale of the Tape and Fight Analysis
Ryan Spann has the advantage in terms of the tale of the tape, with him having a two-inch height advantage at 6-foot-5 compared to Krylov, who is 6-foot-3; a one-and-a-half reach edge at 79 inches, against Krylov’s 77.5 inches and a one-inch leg reach upper hand at 45.5 inches versus Krylov’s 44.5 inches. Record-wise, Krylov has more wins at 29 but more losses at nine, while Spann carries a 21-win and seven-loss tally.
In the significant strikes department, the Ukrainian has the lead over the American as he lands more significant strikes per minute at 4.45 (55%) against Spann’s 3.42 (44%) and absorbs fewer strikes per minute at 2.50 (44%) compared to Spann’s 3.42 (48%). Meanwhile, in grappling, Spann has a slight edge in submission average per 15 minutes at 1.76 (against Krylov’s 1.24), but Krylov has a better takedown average accuracy of 2.11 (compared to Spann’s 1.46).
Stylistically, both men are aggressive fighters in the opening sequences of fights, evident in their first-round finishes, with Krylov having 22 and Spann banking 15 of his own. They have a similar fighting foundation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which nullifies the threat between them on the grappling department and down the mat.
On the feet, Spann possesses bigger power than Krylov, which might be the primary factor for the American to get away with the victory. This power by Spann was in full display in his previous fight with Reyes when he brutally knocked him out with a single punch. Lastly, Spann revealed that he had already learned to set up a proper training camp to prepare him before fights.
Official Prediction: TKO/KO victory for Ryan Spann.
See the entire Krylov vs. Spann odds and wagers here.
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