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UFC Fight Night 170 card: Johnny Walker vs Nikita Krylov full fight preview

MMA: UFC 235-Cirkunov vs Walker Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight finishers Johnny Walker and Nikita Krylov will throw down this Saturday (March 14, 2020) at UFC Fight Night 170 from inside Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil.

Is there any doubt at all that this will be a fun, weird fight likely to end in a knockout? Sure, Walker tasted his first UFC defeat last time out, but even that was fun to watch! Plus, Walker should be more motivated than ever to get back in the win column and restore some of his previous hype. Meanwhile, Krylov lost a split-decision in his last bout — the first time “Miner” saw the judges in 32 professional fights! These two are wild men, athletes who throw caution to the wind in pursuit of excitement and violence.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each athlete:

Johnny Walker

Record: 17-4
Key Wins: Misha Cirkunov (UFC 235), Khalil Rountree Jr. (UFC Fight Night 140), Henrique da Silva (DWTNCS Brazil)
Key Losses: Corey Anderson (UFC 244)
Keys to Victory: Walker is an impressive athlete with a great sense of timing. He’s been able to score so many quick, impressive knockouts because Walker gets a read on his opponent’s head movement quickly, allowing him to suddenly explode into a big shot directly where his foe is moving.

This is an interesting fight for Walker. Since moving camps, will his style change at all? Are we likely to see Walker rely more on the jab and distance kicks, rather than feints and explosions? It’s possible, yet Krylov is not the type of fight to hang back and allow a technical match.

He’s going to force a brawl either way.

As such, I’d like to see Walker move his feet and circle. Krylov is among the least patient fighters I’ve ever seen, more than prone to recklessly rushing forward. A bit of patience from Walker will likely create huge openings for counter shots or a takedown reversal if Krylov really dives at the hips.

Nikita Krylov

Record: 26-7
Key Wins: Ovince Saint Preux (UFC 236), Walt Harris (UFC on FOX 10), Marcos Rogerio de Lima (UFC Fight Night 69), Emanuel Newton (Fight Nights Global 77), Fabio Maldonado (Fight Nights Global 87)
Key Losses: Jan Blachowicz (UFC Fight Night 136), Glover Teixeira (UFC Fight Night 158), Misha Cirkunov (UFC 206), Ovince Saint Preux (UFC 171)
Keys to Victory: In 25 professional victories, Krylov has finished 10 foes via knockout and 15 via submission. On the feet, Krylov represents his Kyokushin Karate background well with sneaky high kicks, but he’s been more and more reliant on his wrestling and grappling skills as of late.

Against Walker, Krylov should rush his foe from the first bell. Obviously he should keep his hands up while attacking, but there’s no benefit to allowing Walker to read his movements and timing.

Instead, test that chin! Krylov can trade kicks with Walker, and the Ukrainian athlete is actually pretty good at following up kicks with punches. If he can herd Walker into the fence and keep the exchanges at least relatively even, Krylov’s chin has held up remarkably well in past firefights.

That’s more than I can say for his opponent.

Bottom Line

This should be a ton of fun!

It’s also a fairly important bout. Walker was the next big thing at 205 pounds, likely competing for a title shot when he came up short to Anderson. If he’s to regain any of that status, he absolutely has to win here. Otherwise, he’s facing a much longer climb into title contention. In short, this bout is a chance for Walker to remind fans why he’s special and why they were excited about him in the first place.

As for Krylov, “Miner” has yet to really go on a run where people look at him as a serious contender. Even with his improvement, he’s still prone to odd decision-making and critical mistakes in fights. However, the 27-year-old combatant also clearly has plenty of talent and has proven himself a Top 15-ranked fighter even with his flaws. A big win here definitely helps Krylov climb the ladder, and a bit more consistency could see him break into the title mix.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 170 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 170: “Lee vs. Oliviera” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC Fight Night 170, Johnny Walker and Nikita Krylov will scrap. Which man will have his hand raised?

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