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Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: Back the Dagestani to Grind Out the Win (Feb. 27)

Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: Back the Dagestani to Grind Out the Win (Feb. 27) article feature image

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Magomed Ankalaev.

  • Magomed Ankalaev enters this fight as a significant favorite and looks to push his win streak to six in a row when he faces Nikita Krylov in Saturday's co-main event.
  • Erich Richter previews the odds and breaks down the fight below, including why he expects a tactical matchup between the two light heavyweights.

Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev Odds

Krylov odds +290
Ankalaev odds -360
Venue UFC Apex, Las Vegas
Time Approx. 10 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN+
Odds as of Friday evening and via FanDuel

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night co-main event features the highly touted Dagestani prospect and No. 11-ranked Light Heavyweight contender, Magomed Ankalaev, who faces off against the No. 8-ranked Light Heavyweight Nikita Krylov.

Magomed has been one of the division’s  most exciting prospects since his UFC debut in 2018 and rides a five-fight winning streak into Saturday’s matchup. However, Krylov will be his toughest opponent yet — Ankalaev has never faced a top-10 opponent in his career.

Will Krylov humble the rising star and string together back-to-back wins for the first time since 2016? I’ll preview the matchup below, including where I see some betting value in this bout.

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Tale of the Tape

Krylov Ankalaev
Record 27-7 14-1
Avg. Fight Time 6:37 8:06
Height 6’3″ 6’3″
Weight (pounds) 205 lbs. 205 lbs.
Reach (inches) 77″ 75″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 3/7/92 6/2/92
Sig Strikes Per Min 4.54 3.58
SS Accuracy 59% 56%
SS Absorbed Per Min 2.45 1.36
SS Defense 41% 68%
Take Down Avg 1.40 0.62
TD Acc 38% 33%
TD Def 52% 85%
Submission Avg 1.6 0.0

Ankalaev has just one blemish on his record: A loss to Paul Craig with one second left in the third round of his UFC debut. That was a fight that Ankalaev thoroughly dominated throughout both standing and on the ground.

That last-second submission loss stained what should be an undefeated record for Ankalaev. I do expect Krylov to be a difficult test for Ankalaev, but will likely struggle on Saturday. It is worth mentioning that Krylov has not been knocked out since 2013 and his chin is as tough as they come.

Krylov vs. Ankalaev Betting Pick

It is important to remember the type of prospect that Ankalaev has been. He was a -700 favorite against Craig during his debut and would have had an easy 30-27 decision victory. It was one of the worst UFC bad beats in recent memory for gamblers.

Krylov has looked much better in his recent fights — he dominated Johnny Walker in 2020, narrowly lost a split decision to No. 1-ranked Light Heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira, and submitted Ovince St. Preux in 2019.

There has been little respect for Krylov leading up to this despite his underlying statistics showing his progression: per UFC Stats, Krylov lands more than he absorbs at a 2:1 ratio.

He also lands plenty of takedowns (1.4 per 15 minutes) and with his 40% Takedown Accuracy, he ranks tied for fifth among active 205-pounders. This is where I expect the fight to go. Krylov will shoot for takedowns in bunches, but it will be tiring if he cannot keep Ankalaev (85% Takedown Defense) on the mat.

I would expect Ankalaev to win this fight on the feet throughout and when Krylov shoots for a takedown it is unlikely that he will be able to control him. FanDuel is giving better odds on Ankalaev’s decision prop at +290 (25.64% implied) whereas many books have it at +250 (28.57% implied).

Accordingly, the value is too much for me to turn down. I will take the slight edge and prepare for Ankalaev to ascend up the UFC Light Heavyweight rankings with a dominant victory.

The Pick: Ankalaev -350 (2u) | Ankalaev by decision +290 (1u)

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