Still coming down from the high of UFC 285 – what a crazy night of fights that was! The GOAT, Jon Jones, wins what looked to be an easy night at the office with a first round submission to become the heavyweight champ. Not to mention, the queen of the women’s flyweight division, Valentina Shevchenko, getting dethroned by the tough, impressive Mexican fighter and new women’s flyweight champion in Alexa Grasso. We’ll just say that’s a card that goes down in the history books as an instant classic.
But now we move on to another Saturday night of fights. Petr Yan takes on Merab Dvalishvii for a shot at the UFC bantamweight belt, a heavyweight scrap between Alexander Volkov and Alexandr Romanov, and a rescheduled bout between Nikita Krylov vs Ryan Spann.
For a card that’s sandwiched in between two Pay-Per-Views, I’m looking forward to this Saturday at The Theatre at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here’s what we’re looking at this coming fight night.
Nikita Krylov vs Ryan Spann
The first fight I’m going to be breaking down is Nikita Krylov vs Ryan Spann. The fight that was supposed to happen on February 25th is now set for this Saturday after Krylov pulled out just hours before the fight due to illness.
Lightweight heavyweight contenders duke it out in the octagon and I’m not going to lie – I was back and forth with this pick 2 weeks ago and it hasn’t gotten easier now that the fight is actually happening. These fighters are evenly matched when it comes to striking, wrestling and cardio, making it tough to pick a winner. That said, this is a gut pick for me. I look at what I’ve seen from fighters in their two previous fights and how each fighter performed.
Krylov is coming off a KO of Alexander Gustafson who was coming off a 2-year absence and 3-fight losing streak (stemming back to 2018) as well as a decision win over Volkan Oezdemir. Spann, however, is coming off of 2, first round finishes over Ion Cutelaba by sub and Dominic Reyes (took now heavyweight champ Jon Jones to decision in previous fight before Gane) by KO. Do with that information what you will, but for as even as a fight this is give me the dog and the juice!
My Pick: Ryan Spann to win the fight +134
Alexander Volkov vs Alexandr Romanov
Next up, the co-main event featuring the number 8 ranked heavyweight Alexander Volkov vs the number 14 ranked Alexandr Romanov.
The tall, rangy Volkov is coming into this fight with tons of experience and will most likely use that to his advantage. His mission is simple – to stay on his feet, use his striking to keep Romanov at distance and take home the W. At 34 years old, Volkov is a masterful striker that has knock out power and a gas tank to go with it. Romanov is coming off his first professional loss against the savage Marcin Tybura in August of last year, which went to decision. Romanov dominated that fight early which resulted in a 10-8 round in his favor. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep up with the pace and became exhausted from all the wrestling, ultimately losing that fight.
I believe that was a great lesson for Romanov and this would be a great bounce back win for him. The path to victory for Romanov is pretty simple in this one. He should be looking for the takedowns early and using his nasty ground and pound, as well as slick jiu jitsu, to keep Volkov on the mat and look for a finish. The only thing I’m worried about is that gas tank – if the fight lingers on into the second or third round, will he be able to keep the pressure up? Well, that’s a risk I’m willing to take!
My Pick: Alexandr Romanov to win -160 and sprinkle Romanov to win by sub +260
Petr Yan vs Merab Dvalishvili
Finally, we get to the main event. This one is set to be an absolute banger of a fight between the number 2 ranked UFC bantamweight in Petr Yan taking on the number 3 ranked UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili for what could be a shot at the belt for the winner.
The former UFC bantamweight champ, Yan, is coming off two super close split decisions with now UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (who is Merab’s close friend and training partner) and UFC rising superstar Sean O’Malley. There could be an argument that Yan has won both of those fights. Nonetheless, Yan has another tough fight on his hands with the dangerous and well rounded Dvalishvili.
Merab stepping up to the plate with his first time headlining a fight in a main event in the UFC (which means first 5 round fight). Dvalishvili coming into this fight off a 8 fight win streak is up for his biggest challenge yet. Merab keeps taking steps up in competition, yet finds a way to win, resulting in him skyrocketing up the bantamweight division so quickly. His last fight was a great showing against UFC Hall of Famer Jose Aldo in a unanimous decision last year where he looked to belong amongst the top of the division, but he hasn’t fought someone like Petr Yan yet.
Yan is dangerous from both southpaw and orthodox and is very technical in his striking. Yan does tend to pick and choose which rounds he turns up the pressure, which ultimately could have been his downfall in his recent losses. Merab is going to look to take Yan down and use his wrestling to hold him down and squeak out a decision. I believe Petr has a different game plan in mind, after losing 2 close ones to the judges’ score cards, he’s going to come out with some urgency and look to pick Dvalishvili apart. Yan is a phenomenal wrestler in his own right. If Yan can keep this on his feet, I don’t see a way where he doesn’t get the win.
My Pick: This fight will go the whole 5 rounds and Petr Yan will get the decision win +120
Best Parlay Plays for Yan Vs Dvalishvii
- JJ Aldrich
- Mario Bautista
- Sedriques Dumas
- Anton Turkalj
- Said Nurmagomedov