Prediction for the fight Nikita Krylov vs Paul Craig

Ukrainian light heavyweight, Nikita Krylov, has experienced many ups and downs in his long professional career. He returned to the UFC twice, proving his competitiveness over and over again. Once again entrenched in the TOP-10, he will have a very difficult fight with an uncomfortable opponent, the Scot Paul Craig.

Craig is distinguished by his hot temper - he never ended the fights with refereeing decisions, even in case of defeats, and his skills on the ground caused problems for many guys from the division up to 93 kg. The classic confrontation between a grappler and a karateka is sure to give the audience a fascinating spectacle, and we, in turn, will single out in this pair the one who is most likely to emerge victorious at UFC Fight Night 204.

Nikita Krylov vs Paul Craig

Nikita Krylov

A fighter from Ukraine ranks 9th in the light heavyweight ranking. As an athlete, Nikita realized himself even before his debut in MMA, becoming the European champion in Kyokushin karate for amateurs and winning the Donbass Cup among professionals. He then won the Gladiators FC (MMA) Heavyweight Grand Prix, fought in M-1, and made his first run in the UFC.

After his dismissal, Krylov became the champion of Fight Nights Global, and then returned back, and had a series of fights with eminent opposition, such as: Fabio Maldonado, Ovince Saint Preux and other athletes. And if Shakhtar's league ambitions are very vague, then he is quite capable of staying in the top ten, given the victories he has won at the moment.


As a basic karateka, Nikita is fluent in kicks. He freely discharges haikicks at the opponent, and no less effectively uses his lower limbs to block the opponent's movements in his direction. It is noteworthy that Krylov does not box in the best way, but the very “crooked” technique helps him to be creative in those moments when the work on the textbook does not bring the proper result.

We also add here a fairly confident takedown when Nikita manages to implement an offensive plan. Ground and pound, and in some cases dry control, allows our fighter to get away dry in fights with dangerous knockouts. Although grapplers, although it was rare, suffered from his pressure and even fell for submissions. Simply put, as an attacking link, Krylov is good in all aspects of the fight.


The only serious drawback of Krylov is defensive actions. It is very difficult for him to stick to the developed plan, when the counterpart puts a lot of pressure, ties him in the clinch, or even worse, imposes a power struggle. It is difficult for a native of Kyokushin to fight back from behind, and he does not know how to get up from under overall opponents. Otherwise, there are no significant shortcomings that critically affect the results of face-to-face meetings.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Nikita is 30 years old, which is the prime of life for a light heavyweight, but the last time he appeared in the octagon was more than a year ago. Fights with Jan Blachowicz, Magomed Ankalaev and Glover Teixeira failed, which once again proves Krylov's lack of championship ambitions. But he was able to take revenge on Ovins Saint Preux and lay down Johnny Walker, who had lost all his potential. It is quite obvious that Shakhtar has long become a gatekeeper who, in the current form, will not let ordinary prospects into the top, but it is unlikely that he will be able to break into the division's elite, with such and such a composition.

Nikita Krylov vs Paul Craig

Paul Craig

The Scot was fixed on the 11th line of the rating. Above, we talked about the fact that this is the most dangerous parterist, who confirmed his high skill with victories at national BJJ championships, earned a brown belt, and then went into mixed martial arts, where he brought this technique to perfection. Paul won the lion's share of victories by submissions, due to which he managed to take the belts of such leagues as Fight Star and BAMMA.

Thanks to his flamboyant style and inability to arrange protracted battles, Craig was repeatedly awarded with bonuses. Only he managed to secure a victory over Magomed Ankalaev, as well as to force a number of "near-top" fighters to knock, or to give such a serious rebuff, proving that everyone who steps into the octagon must reckon with him.


Due to the rich arsenal of submissions, Paul is able to make opponents writhe in pain and give up from almost all positions where they find themselves. Guillotines, armbars, various triangles, kimurs and so on - he throws all this, both from the back and from above, or even locking his hands on the neck of the counterpart while still in the rack. Craig is also not deprived of knockout power, he simply realizes it only in those cases when the opponent completely gives him the reins of power on all fronts.


Low takedown efficiency, and with such a percentage of wins on the zero floor, a weak takedown typical of jitzers, as well as a lack of desire to keep his hands to his head during attacks, make Paul a vulnerable target. Knockouts for him, as well as defeats by tricks, have become the norm during meetings with high-class opposition.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Craig is 34 years old, and in the last 5 fights he has not lost a single time, drawing a fight with Mauricio Rua, and then defeating him in a rematch, and passing Jamal Hill, Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Vinicius Moreira. Paul always takes big risks and his every fight is a roulette, but considering the final results, taking into account the names that he has faced, we can say that now he is at the peak of his abilities.

Comparative analysis

Let's start with anthropometry, as this is one of the key points that affect many components of combat. Krylov is slightly ahead of Craig in arm span (by 4 cm), and rises minimally above him, although outwardly their body structure is very similar. As for the style, there is a big gap between the athletes - Nikita hits well, but fights mediocrely, and Paul is his absolute mirror image in battle. However, BJJ schools do not provide pure wrestling translations, because the Scot is not very good in this aspect. He needs to approach in order to drag the counterpart to the ground floor, or the use of deceptive maneuvers that force the counterpart to pass to the legs on their own.

Along with this, our fighter does not shine with protection from transfers, and will be able to escape from captures only due to footwork, which means that Craig will definitely try to decide the outcome of the meeting using brazen pressure and insidious plays in the horizontal plane. Simply put, the picture of this confrontation will completely depend on the actions of Krylov, because he can fight in different ways, and Paul is painfully predictable and always relies solely on his strongest sides. Kiki, performed by Nikita, and his explosive work at the start of the meeting will help to moderate the ardor of the European, and he, by virtue of his nature, can make mistakes and go to the exchange. However, no matter how this confrontation goes, each of the participants is only good on their own battlefield, and the one who implements the battle plan from the first seconds, completely turning off the opponent's strengths, will win.

Nikita Krylov vs Paul Craig Fight Prediction

At first glance, Nikita looks quite convincing, because he is more technical, more experienced, and has everything necessary to break Paul. But past experience suggests that the Scot's grappling will be a big problem for the favorite. Everything can go well exactly until the moment when Krylov is on his back, and from there Craig will never let him go. He is no match for Blachowicz and Teixeira, but what our foreign friend can offer will be enough for Shakhtar. For this reason, it would be foolish to hope for a quick finish from Nikita until the moment of rapprochement with Paul, but to see how our athlete is carried on the ground is very likely. Closer to the event, when the line for betting on total rounds appears, it will be just right to choose such an option as the end of the fight before the middle of the third five-minute period, because these guys have 1 victory for the two of them by decision of the judges. Install the 1xbet app and place a bet on the favorite!

Prediction: Paul Craig to win/Total under 2.5

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