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UFC Fight Night 87 fight card: Nikita Krylov vs Francimar Barroso full fight preview

Nikita Krylov and Francimar Barroso will battle this Sunday (May 8, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 87 inside Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In a match up of rising finisher and veteran, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweights Nikita Krylov and Francimar Barroso will throw down this Sunday (May 8, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 87 inside Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

After opening his career by losing two of his first three in disappointing fashion, most expected Krylov to wash out of the UFC quickly. However, "Al Capone" has instead rattled off a three-fight win streak and finished each of his opponents inside a round.

Meanwhile, Barroso has struggled to fight consistently inside the cage, winning three of four bouts across nearly four years inside the UFC. Hopefully, this bout -- which is just a few months later from his last win -- will help change that.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:

Nikita Krylov
Record: 19-4
Key Wins: Walt Harris (UFC on FOX 10), Stanislav Nedkov (UFC on FOX 14), Marcos Rogerio de Lima (UFC Fight Night 69)
Key Losses: Ovince Saint Preux (UFC 171)
Keys to Victory: Nikita is a highly aggressive and athletic Light Heavyweight. It's a bit difficult to get a read on his unpredictable skills, but it seems that Nikita has a lot of technical tools from his martial arts background and is learning to fully utilize them inside the Octagon.

It's strange to say, but at this point, Krylov seems to be a fairly well-rounded fighter. There's still some flaws to his game, no doubt, but in the big picture Krylov is a hard-hitting striker, dangerous submission threat, and has recently proven his wrestling to be up to par.

On paper, this seems to be a great match up for Krylov. Barroso has experience and is reasonably well-rounded himself, but he's simply not as dangerous as Krylov. Inside the Octagon, Barroso has never come close to a finish, whereas Krylov thrives on overwhelming his foes.

That should be the plan here as well. Barroso has been finished by strikes in three of his four defeats. Since he doesn't really have the tools to prevent Krylov from swarming him, the Ukranian combatant should look to hand him a fourth knockout loss.

VS.

Francimar Barroso
Record: 18-4
Key Wins: Ryan Jimmo (UFC Fight Night 67), Elvis Mutapcic (UFC Fight Night 81), Ednaldo Oliveira (UFC 163)
Key Losses: Hans Stringer (UFC Fight Night 38)
Keys to Victory: A black belt in both kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Barroso seems to fit the Rafael Natal-mold of Brazilian fighters. While no immediate skill stands out as dominant, Barroso is well-rounded and tricky enough to win more fights than expected.

To win this bout, Barroso has to accomplish a couple things. First and foremost, he has to earn his opponent's respect on the feet. He actually did this well in his last bout with a seasoned striker in Mutapcic, using his overhand to force his foe to hesitate a bit.

Furthermore, Barroso needs to impose his grappling. Barroso showed some well-timed reactive takedowns in his last bout, and that's a definite option considering how aggressive Krylov can be.

Once on the mat, Barroso should have an advantage. Krylov has submitted a number of his past opponents, but he's also showed strange holes in his grappling that a jiu-jitsu black belt should be able to capitalize on.

Bottom Line: Light Heavyweight needs new faces in the Top 15 desperately.

Krylov has a fair bit of momentum behind him. Now that his techniques are coming together and starting to make sense, it's really no surprise that he's finding success. Aggressive, powerful, and tough are three factors that will go a long way to finding success in any division.

If Krylov wins this, a shot against a ranked opponent isn't unreasonable. Considering he's only been a professional for less than four years, that would be a massive accomplishment. On the other hand, a loss simply means he needs to remain where he is and continue growing against middling competition.

At the age of 36 and 11 years deep into his professional career, this is a more important bout for Barroso. If he's going to make any impact at all on the Light Heavyweight division, it's imperative that he finds the victory here. Since he's on a win streak, he's reasonable close to earning a real opportunity to jump up in competition.

If he loses, that chance is lost. Besides the fact that his fights generally haven't been all that thrilling -- which makes building any momentum difficult -- it's not likely that he has the time to put together another win streak considering how rarely he fights.

At UFC Fight Night 87, Nikita Krylov and Francimar Barroso will scrap on the main card. Which fighter will have his hand raised?