The past four months haven’t provided any answers. The events of November 12, 2022, remain a mystery no regulatory body is willing to investigate. Questions outnumber answers, leaving obfuscation, collusion, and complicity at the highest levels as the only established facts.
The implications of the truth are too sinister to fathom, a truth that would threaten the establishment's impunity, would challenge the rules-based order and those who operate outside of their own edicts. Conspiracy theories or inconvenient truths?
What brought down Dominick Reyes?
One second, he was standing, engaging in fisticuffs, and the next, he was Woody when Andy walks in the room, a prone heap, a marionette relieved of its strings. Could one Ryan Spann crooked jab placed at the perfect angle to a compromised chin create enough infrastructural damage to cause Dominick Reyes to fall at freefall speeds? Could the punch traveling such a short distance have reached the terminal velocity needed to cripple Reyes’s structural integrity, causing a complete failure?
Many say it was an inside job; Dominick’s collapse looked too much like a controlled demolition. Without the aid of explosives placed strategically by an expert engineer, Reyes couldn’t have fallen in such manner, straight down in on himself, an implosion.
Nothing was found in or around the Reyes debris except a passport, Ryan Spann’s, perfectly intact, with a routing number to an offshore bank account and instructions for making a $50k deposit. It’s a piece of evidence painfully convenient to the narrative of the authorities under suspicion and staunchly refuted by truth-seekers.
One thing both sides can agree on: Ryan Spann can answer all the questions this Saturday night with a repeat performance against Nikita Krylov.
Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann
Dominick Reyes is now set to make his Hollywood debut in a leading role in the summer release, Controlled Demolition Man, a sequel to the 90s classic Demolition Man starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. But this song ain’t about Dominick Reyes. It’s about the man who set him down the path to stardom, Ryan Spann, and his opponent, the fifteen-fight UFC veteran Nikita Krylov. This is an undercover banger of a main event that likely won’t venture out of the first round for fear of what may be lurking on the outside.
Nikita Krylov has traveled a Jeep commercial path to his first UFC main event. He came and left, and came back again, and is in his second stint with the promotion. After going 6-3 in his first stint, Krylov fought four times outside the UFC before returning in 2018. He has since gone 4-3 and is coming off back-to-back dubs. If it hadn’t been for a Chargers 27-0 collapse against Paul Craig, he’d be riding a three-fight dub streak. Krylov managed to break into the Dub World Bank and steal a bag of L’s after administering a beating for the first four minutes, only to get caught in a triangle choke and forced to tap. But old shit has no place in the New World.
Krylov is coming off a wild decision win against Volkan Oezdemir and a one-minute trouncing of the exhumed remains of Alexander Gustafsson. He is the combination of a wild and reckless YOLO striker and a world-class wrestler/grappler. Check out his fight against Glover Teixeira if you want to see a classic grappler’s delight and a showcase for Krylov’s ground game. It looks like a National Geographic Sahara documentary when he locks up the body lock and thrashes his opponents like a croc bringing down a wildebeest. From the position, he employs trips and sags his weight to drag opponents to the mat, where he implements heavy ground and pound. Krylov can carve through the opponent’s guard and pass to dominant positions or sit in the guard and rain down punches and elbows like the old-school Tito Ortiz and Mark Coleman.
On the feet, Krylov is the spokesman for JFT, Just Fookin’ Throw. There’s a drunken cadence to his stand-up, an almost frantic panic to his pace, and he usually engages recklessly straight ahead behind wild hooks and overhands. It often looks like it’s your first time playing the UFC video game, and you’re pushing all the buttons to figure out what they do; it’s all random strikes with no real set-up or flow. The 1-2-lead high kick is his go-to combination; he simps for it, falls in love with it and sets it on repeat. But none of this means he’s not effective on the feet; he’s unpredictable and aggressive with sneaky power.
The most important thing you need to know about Nikita Krylov is that he’s a finisher with some gaudy stats. Krylov is 29-9 with twenty-seven finishes, twelve TKO/KO’s, and fifteen subs. Stats don’t get much better than that. His last fight against Oezdemir was only his second win by decision. His Fantasy value will be three-fold, a TKO/KO on the feet or the mat or a submission. His best path to victory will be putting Spann on his back and making him burn energy to get back to his feet. But Nikita Krylov is borderline crazy when he steps in the cage, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he stands and bangs longer than he should.
Ryan Spann is an Uno wild card in the light heavyweight division. He has the skills and power on the feet to finish anybody and a slept-on choke game. I’m not talking about the Philadelphia Eagles; I’m talking guillotines and head and arm modifications like D’arce and Anaconda chokes. It’s easy to get caught up in Spann’s power on the feet, but he has twice as many career submissions as TKO/KO’s; he has twelve subs and six TKO/KO’s in twenty-one career wins. He’s on the same finishing spectrum as Krylov, with only three career wins going the distance.
Spann has solid offensive wrestling, and what he lacks in takedown defense, he makes up for with the ability to force scrambles back to his feet and attack chokes in transition. He was submitted by Anthony Smith but had brief moments when he scrambled to the top position and threatened to snatch Smith’s neck. Krylov will be a different test for Spann on the ground than Anthony Smith because Smith is more Jiu-Jitsu based on the mat, and Krylov is more wrestling based. The top control will be much different from Krylov than it was from Smith.
On the feet, Spann’s hands are crispy, straight, and to the point. He has an excellent jab, and his special move is my favorite combination, double-jab-cross. Straight punches beat round punches every day of the year, including leap years. Spann’s punches travel right down the center and will give him an advantage against Krylov’s wide strikes that leave Krylov vulnerable defensively. And you already know Spann has power. Dominick Reyes acknowledged such with the deepest curtsy I’ve ever seen after eating that infamous jab. His head hit the floor before any other part of his body. Spann folded Reyes like origami into an articulating swan.
Fantasy-wise, Spann will have TKO/KO value on the feet and submission value on the mat. Six of Krylov’s noine career dubs came via submission. Krylov is often in grappling firefights, and this one could turn into just that. If I was in Spann’s corner, the game plan would be to test Krylov on the feet and avoid the ground other than if he can drop Krylov standing first. A big red flag for Spann: His last fight that went the full fifteen minutes was against Sam Alvey, and the third round ended with Sam Alvey getting him some. He had Spann all but finished in the closing minutes as Spann faded heavily late. Should this one not go according to plan, an early finish, Krylov will be the fresher fighter late.
Nikita Krylov will be the (-175) dog, making Spann a value-ridden (+145) dog. I think Spann will have an early advantage on the feet with the cleaner striking, and he’s tough to hold down, at least early in a fight. A Krylov TKO/KO will return (+250) and a submission (+210). And a Spann TKO/KO will return (+275) and a sub (+425).
The 2023 main event winning streak came to a screeching halt when Erin Blanchfield completely dominated Jessica Andrade. I haven’t been that shocked in a while, and I’m not going to waste any more time trailing behind the Blanchfield bandwagon. I’m all aboard; she’s a champ in waiting. Anywho, Ryan Spann via TKO, round one. On wax.
Andre Muniz vs. Brendan Allen
If Brendan Allen fights intelligently, this should be a grappler vs. striker matchup. Of course, he might not have a choice and might be forced to mix it up on the mat with the Jiu-Jitsu savant Andre Muniz. And if Brendan Allen shows up again rocking the Predator braids like he’s been game-hunting Aliens and mounting their heads on the wall of his spaceship, Andre Muniz is in trouble. But if Allen shows up with the third-grade step two fade with a wave in the front, Andre Muniz will likely have a new body part to sell on the black market.
Brendan Allen is a well-rounded fighter with no glaring holes in his game, but he doesn’t always fight to his advantage; instead of skipping gayly down the primrose path toward enlightenment, he chooses the hell and brimstone path that leads to eternal damnation. You can see Allen arguing with a proverbial devil and angel on each shoulder in the middle of every fight, the devil egging him on to engage in a firefight on the feet when he has a distinct advantage on the mat, and the angel offering sound advice to avoid standing and banging and take the fight to the mat and choke a mf’er out. Is Brendan Allen gonna have to choke a mf’er? His major malfunction is that he has solid stand-up, just good enough to give him confidence against anyone to take the sexy path to victory on the feet instead of a possible less crowd-pleasing route on the mat.
Against Andre Muniz, that lil’ devil on his shoulder will be telling him to test his skills on the mat with the Jitz ace while the lil’ angel tells him to establish range on the outside, avoid the cage, and try to keep the fight standing for as long as possible. As with his striking, Allen’s ground/submission game is solid and good enough to survive even against elite grapplers. He can force scrambles with slick sub attempts and sweeps from the bottom or dominate the top position while neck-hunting. His only real weakness on the mat is that he gives up some strength and can be outmuscled in 50/50 positions. And that will be the case against Muniz.
Allen will have a distinct advantage on the feet with sharp, technical kickboxing, especially as the fight wans. Muniz tends to slow down when on rare occasions, the fight goes into the latter rounds, and his takedowns become more labored and forced. Muniz is 23-4, and all four losses came via TKO/KO; his weakness is clearly on the feet. Allen’s Fantasy value will be in a finish on the feet and a possible submission if he can set into motion a fight-ending sequence on the feet. But even when Allen chooses the more difficult path to victory, more often than not, he reaches his destination and is an impressive 8-2 in the UFC; dude is a winner.
Andre Muniz a Jiu-Jitsu savage with fifteen career submissions, including three of his five wins in the UFC. He even has a submission dub on the Contender Series. Muniz is a limb harvesting baron who specializes in snatching heads from necks and arms from bodies, leaving the unsuspecting victims submerged in bathtubs for maids at Motel 6’s and Snooty Fox’s to discover. His takedown game is predicated on power and running through blast doubles and singles while rounding the bases and hitting angles to finish them. There isn’t a position Muninz won’t give up to snatch an arm; he’ll often give up dominant positions (the mount and the back) to attack an arm. He can get away with this because he knows he can regain the positions whenever he wants.
It’s rare that out of fifteen career subs, only two are rear-naked chokes. Muniz can get you from any position, snatch any limb, and is a true submission Banksy. His major malfunctions come on the feet and a questionable gas tank. His striking is all power overhands and hooks and is usually only a formality before he relocates the fight. Muniz’s Fantasy value will be a submission win and top control time if the fight goes the distance. Ground and pound isn’t really a thing for Muniz, he averages less than two significant strikes per minute, and in his last two scraps that went three rounds, he landed only seventeen and twenty-two strikes.
Muniz will be the sizeable (-220) favorite, and Brendan Allen will be the (+175) dog running at large. Bring ‘em out, bring ‘em out! Bring out the Piso Mojado signs; Brendan Allen will be a valuable dog and low-tier Fantasy option with a high upside. He can take over the fight on the feet should Muniz’s takedown well dry out, and he can mess around and get a sub if Muniz gases late. But I think Allen will be a little behind the Eightball all night, trying to get back to his feet, and may give up too much time on his back. Andre Muniz via decision.
Augusto Sakai vs. Don’Tale Mayes
This one is Bubba Sparxxx Ugly. Why did Bubba use three x’s in his name? Weird. This is a heavyweight matchup that few asked for. There was a brief moment in time—I’m talking brief, like Jorts and chain wallets—when Augusto Sakai looked like he might be somebody in the division. At the very least, a formidable Litmus test for highly touted prospects. But then he started getting knocked out. And Don’Tale Mayes is a guy in the UFC, which is more than I can say for me.
After starting his UFC career 4-0 with a TKO dub on the Contender Series, Sakai has gone 0-4, and all four L’s were TKO/KO finishes. It’s like waking up every seven years from a coma only to be induced into another one. Homie wakes up looking like Steven Seagal in Hard to Kill. I liken Sakai’s striking to an alternate universe Chris Daukaus. Their strikes and style are very similar, using mostly short quick punches and not much else. Sakai is like the Scooby Doo villain when he’s unmasked; they unmask Sakai after the smelling salts kick in, and it’s Chris Daukaus underneath. Sakai has decent hand speed and uses basic boxing combinations and has sneaky power. His best performance was arguably in a losing effort to Alistair Overeem; he held his own early on the feet before getting dismantled late on the mat.
Speaking of the mat, a corpse has a better ground game from its back than Augusto Sakai. That's double-entendre shit right there. Because a corpse doesn’t move, and some are buried... in the ground! A carrot has a better ground game. Of course, that means Sakai will win this fight by submission now. Bust out the twenty-twen-twens. The good thing about Sakai, if he can stay on his feet, he averages over four and a half significant strikes per minute and has landed on or near one hundred strikes twice in his career. But one was the five-round fight against Overeem. His value will be in a possible TKO/KO finish and solid significant strikes landed.
Don’Tale Mayes is a part-time boxer and part-time wrestler; he’s a two-timer who can’t decide which one he likes more. Mayes is an improv fighter; there doesn’t seem to be any real strategy behind Don’Tale’s decisions inside the cage, and he just goes with the first thing that comes to his mind. On the feet, Mayes has layover hand speed, flight canceled, sleeping in the airport hand speed, and one-punch striking. He stays long when he strikes and doesn’t crowd his punches, but he doesn’t put together combinations very well. More often, Mayes prefers to push opponents against the cage and control the top position when he can.
In his last bout, he fought a guy named Hamby, which is the name of the Hamberger Helper glove, and had strong moments throughout. Actually, Hamby is a solid, scary fighter, and Don’Tale went toe-to-toe in shell toes with Hamby until the final bell. It was a dope scrap, and Don’Tale showed some dog in him late in the third round. But Don’Tale’s ground game from the bottom was exposed. He has a sleep-paralysis-while-covered-with-a-weighted-blanket ground game from his back. It’s neck and neck between Sakai and Mayes for who has the weaker bottom game.
Augusto Sakai will be the (-130) favorite, and Mayes will be the (+110) dog. Augusto Sakai might be the bigger finishing threat, but Mayes will have more paths to victory. He can drag Sakai to the mat and possibly land something heavy on the feet. Sakai will have to rely on superior hand speed and volume to find a finish. A Sakai TKO/KO will return (+200), and a Mayes TKO/KO will return (+200). Dammit, I have no clue who wins this fight. When in doubt, go with the dog. Don’Tale Mayes via decision. Put that ish on wax.
Tatiana Suarez vs. Montana De La Rosa
We keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in a grappler’s paradise. Welcome back, Tatiana Suarez. This young lady was/is one of the best wrestlers in the women’s game before a nearly four-year layoff. She’s an undefeated fighter at 8-0, including 5-0 in the UFC, and is a Jiu-Jitsu world champion. A neck injury was the only thing that kept Tatiana from making the Olympic wrestling team in 2012, and she has three bronze medals in the wrestling world championships. She’ll be hitting the comeback road with a thumb in the air, hoping to hitch a ride back to the top against another excellent grappler, Montana De La Rosa.
Tatiana Suarez is a grappling specialist from Rancho Cucamonga, CA. "I don’t like locked doors around here! I was locked up! No more locked doors!" She adopts the Khabib level of commitment to takedowns, ‘til death do us part. From the top position she chisels and chips away with elbows and punches to soften opponents and open avenues for submission attempts. She’s a woodchipper set on low to slowly churn and grind opponents into mulch. At flyweight, there may be only one name with grappling as good as Tatiana’s and that’s Erin Blanchfield.
Suarez’s weakness is on the feet; her stand-up isn’t built to win fights against elite competition should her takedowns fail. She often engages from too far away and looks as if she’s shadowboxing, rehearsing preprogrammed combinations. The good news is her striking shouldn’t be tested much against De La Rosa because De La Rosa’s striking is also her weakness. The grappling advantage will belong to Suarez; even though Montana is a grappling specialist, Montana struggles against physically stronger grappling opponents like Suarez.
Montana De La Rosa is like the state Montana, rough, rugged and ruthless. Her best attribute is that she’s a dog, no matter the opponent or how the fight is going, Montana will keep coming forward and trying to find a submission until the end. She will have to work from her back against Suarez and should take a page out of the Yair Rodriguez playbook. In fact, all fighters should take a page out of the Yair Rodriguez playbook. I’d argue Rodriguez won the Emmett fight with striking from his back, landing repeated vicious elbows to Emmett’s face and temples. Yair showed the proper way to use the closed guard in MMA, to strike from. Montana can’t just rely on hunting for submissions from the bottom; she has to create damage to make Suarez defend and give Montana space to stand up, scramble, or attempt submissions.
If the fight stays standing, the stand-ups will be fairly even. I might even give Montana the slight teeny tiny edge over Tatiana. But I think Suarez’s wrestling is too strong for this one to turn into a grappling stalemate and subsequent kickboxing match. Suarez is the massive (-850) favorite, and Montana De la Rosa is the (+550) neglected shelter dog. If you have a Lincoln or Hamilton to spare, a De La Rosa submission will return (+1200); four years is a long time to be away from the game and keep your instincts sharp. A Tatiana Suarez submission will return (+215). Tatiana Suarez via decision.
Mike Malott vs. Yohan Lainesse
Here we have a better Jordan Wright, Mike Malott, and a lesser Dricus Du Plessis, Yohan Lainesse. This one should be an all kinds of awkward stand-up scrap. Awkward, like when your mammy used to find those socks under your bed. Mike Malott has a semi-karate style with Chuck Norris side kicks and kind of looks like a life-size Dominick Cruz. And "Don’t Mess With The" Yohan Lainesse has an odd, unorthodox style with stupid power in his right hand. This one has a good chance of providing finishing points and turning into an undercover banger.
Ol’ Patrick Bateman-lookin’ Mike Malott is coming off a first-round TKO of Mickey Gall in his debut, although Gall did make Malott bleed before succumbing to strikes. Malott uses a hybrid karate/boxing stance and has quick, sharp hands. On the surface, Malott looks to have very good striking, but I get a feeling he might be a little overrated. Outside of the UFC, he was outclassed by fellow UFC roster mate Hakeem Dawodu, and that’s not a knock against Malott, but it just felt like Malott will struggle against solid competition. I don’t know what it is, but he moves in straight lines and lacks defensive checks and balances. His style is built for firefights, but his defense won’t hold up at this level, engaging in pyro fisticuffs. I could be wrong, and Malott could be the next best thing from Canada since Terrance and Phillip.
Then we have Yohan Lainesse, who has cadence and delivery on the feet that look suspiciously like Dricus Du Plessis. Du Plessis might have a solid case for copyright infringement, no sources cited and should dial (505) 503-4455 and seek immediate representation. Like Du Plessis, Lainesse throws punches at odd angles and has a kind of shambling, herky-jerky stature on the feet. His strikes aren’t sloppy but often look sloppy; they’re more clubbing than snappy and generate a lot of power without looking like it. Yohan has a knack for landing in off-beat moments, in the gray areas when opponents aren’t expecting to get hit. I wouldn’t call him southpaw; I’d call him goofy-footed. Plus, I think he fights orthodox.
Fantasy-wise, there’s finishing value for both guys. Both can get got at any moment. Malott will provide more diverse attacks, using kicks in combination with his hands, and Lianesse will provide one-punch KO power. I had this pegged as a toss-up, but Malott will be the (-230) favorite and Lainesse will be the (+185) dog. Malott’s superior speed may be a problem for Yohan early, but Yohan can chip away and slow down Malott over time. Malott has a one hundred percent finishing rate with four TKO/KO’s and four subs, and Lainesse has six finishes by TKO/KO in noine career dubs. A Malott TKO/KO will return (+175), and a Lainesse TKO/KO will return (+300). Mike Malott via TKO, round two.