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UFC Vegas 70 preview: ‘Krylov vs Spann’ predictions

UFC Fight Night: Lee v Oliveira Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from the upcoming UFC Vegas 70 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 25, 2023) on ESPN+ from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a light heavyweight main event between Top 10 title hopefuls Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann, a five-round headliner with serious title implications for late 2023 and beyond.

LIVE! Stream UFC San Antonio On ESPN+

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT CONTENDERS’ BOUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) departs APEX for a special “Fight Night” extravaganza at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Sat., March 25, 2023, featuring a pair of thrilling 135-pound bouts. Surging No. 4-ranked contender Marlon Vera goes for his fifth consecutive win when he takes on exciting finisher and No. 5-seeded Cory Sandhagen. In UFC San Antonio’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, former women’s 135-pound champion and current No. 3-ranked Holly Holm battles Yana Santos (No. 4).

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the middleweight collision between Brendan Allen and Andre Muniz, check out Patrick Stumberg’s breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 70 preliminary card — which he wrote from his hospital bed after getting his cranium cracked by Tommy Fury — by clicking here and here. For the latest “Krylov vs. Spann” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s talk shop.

205 lbs.: Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann

Nikita “The Miner” Krylov

Record: 29-9 | Age: 30 | Betting line: -170
Wins: 12 KO/TKO, 15 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 6 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 77” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.45 | Striking accuracy: 55%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.50 | Striking Defense: 44%
Takedown Average: 2.11 (35% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 53%
Current Ranking: No. 6 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Volkan Oezdemir

Ryan “Superman” Spann

Record: 21-7 | Age: 31 | Betting line: +145
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 12 SUB, 3 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’5“ | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.42 | Striking accuracy: 44%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.42 | Striking Defense: 48%
Takedown Average: 1.46 (35% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 50%
Current Ranking: No. 8 | Last fight: Knockout win over Dominick Reyes

I know it’s hip to bash UFC for putting together these ho-hum main events on equally ho-hum ESPN+ fight cards but light heavyweight bangers Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann are both ranked in the Top 10 of their division and coming off back-to-back wins over solid competition, so I’m not sure there’s much to complain about as we head into this weekend’s festivities — unless you’re clamoring for more Jake Paul articles.

No? Neither am I.

Krylov first made his UFC debut as a heavyweight back in summer 2013, dropping an ugly knockout loss to Australian bruiser Soa Palelei. “The Miner,” who was previously nicknamed “Al Capone” for reasons not quite understood, eventually transitioned to light heavyweight and went on a 5-2 run before bailing on UFC in Feb. 2017 — with one fight remaining on his contract — to compete in Russia where he could be closer to his one year-old son. The results were impressive as Krylov racked up four straight wins with four straight finishes. Reinvigorated, the Ukrainian re-signed with UFC in late 2019 but stumbled out of the gate once again, falling to Jan Blachowicz by submission.

“The Miner” has since gone 4-3 but remains ranked at No. 6.

That’s just two spots above Spann, who cut his teeth on Season 2 of Dana White’s “Contender Series” back in June 2018. Including that submission win over Emiliano Sordi, “Superman” was off to the races with a torrid five-fight win streak that included three finishes. Unfortunately it would all go to waste courtesy of a knockout loss to hot-and-cold light heavyweight striker Johnny Walker. Spann would put together a 3-1 record in the two years that followed his loss to the Brazilian and recently put Dominick Reyes on ice with a blistering first-round knockout. I’m not overlooking the fact that Reyes has been mired in one of the biggest collapses in the history of the 205-pound division, but Spann’s performance was impressive nonetheless.

So who wins this weekend in “Sin City”

Krylov and Spann are similar in that so many of their fights — both wins and losses — are chaotic, violent, and frequently ugly affairs. I’m not a big fan of sloppy bar fights but sometimes they produce Barry-Kongo finishes that can have you on the edge of your seat. Spann is not a knockout artist regardless of what he did against Reyes and Krylov has proven he can withstand heavy fire. He’s also proven that he can make boneheaded decisions on defense, or simply abandon it altogether when the shit hits the proverbial fan, which is why I expect “Superman” to save his own day with a sneaky submission somewhere in the second round.

Prediction: Spann def. Krylov by submission

185 lbs.: Andre Muniz vs. Brendan Allen

Andre “Sergipano“ Muniz

Record: 23-4 | Age: 33 | Betting line: -205
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 15 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 4 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 6’1“ | Reach: 78” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 1.91 | Striking accuracy: 55%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 1.45 | Striking Defense: 52%
Takedown Average: 3.71 (40% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 45%
Current Ranking: No. 11 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Uriah Hall

Brendan “All In” Allen

Record: 20-5 | Age: 27 | Betting line: +175
Wins: 5 KO/TKO, 11 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.99 | Striking accuracy: 55%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.01 | Striking Defense: 44%
Takedown Average: 1.31 (44% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 50%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Submission win over Krzysztof Jotko

Submitting Ronaldo Souza and breaking his arm is like knocking out Alex Pereira and breaking his jaw. It’s beating one of the promotion’s most feared competitors at his own game and that pretty much put Andre Muniz on the map back in May 2021. There was talk of “Sergipano” becoming a one-hit wonder but he followed up his “Jacare” win with consecutive victories over Eryk Anders and Uriah Hall. Those performances left Muniz at 5-0 under the UFC banner and 7-0 when you factor in his back-to-back wins on Dana White’s “Contender Series,” one of which took place for the “Brazil” version of the show. That’s the good news. The bad news is Muniz strikes about as well as you would expect a submission specialist to strike and all four of his losses have ended by way of knockout

Brendan Allen is a formidable grappler in his own right and an aggressive attacker with solid wrestling. I’ve seen him compared to Sean Strickland — sans psychosis — which may have contributed to his “Tarzan” loss back in late 2020. Allen is a graduate of Season 3 of Dana White’s “Contender Series” and stands at 8-2 inside the Octagon. On paper that would seem like a big enough achievement to earn a Top 15 ranking but both times Allen was able to get something going, he spoiled it with an untimely loss. That includes his technical knockout defeat to Chris Curtis in late 2021 but to his credit, “All In” has rebounded with three straight victories over good (but not great) competition. His only knockout as a UFC fighter came against the unheralded Tom Breese in Feb. 2020 so I don’t expect Muniz to be in any real danger on the feet — not that he’ll spend much time there.

Allen is an aggressive, durable fighter who can probably win this contest if he can avoid the submission traps. I just can’t shake that memory of him getting out-wrestled and out-controlled by Jacob Malkoun at UFC 275. Perhaps if Allen had the kind of knockout power to prevent Muniz from charging this would have a different feel, but there’s really nothing he can offer to keep the Brazilian at bay. Unless “Sergipano” runs out of gas by spamming takedowns or walks into a perfectly-timed bomb, he's likely to score an early submission.

Prediction: Muniz def. Allen by submission will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 70 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 70 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Krylov vs. Spann” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.

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