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Grant Emrick Breakdowns Yan vs. Dvalishvili Fight Night

UFC Fight Night: Yan vs. Dvalishvili

March 11, 2023

Emrick’s 2023 UFC Fighter Pick Record (58-25-2)

Main Events (3-4)

Lock of the Week (6-1)

Dawg of the Week (2-5)

Lifetime Fighter Pick Record (356-187-5)

Prelim Predictions:

WW: Carlston Harris (17-5) vs. Jared Gooden (22-8)

  • Pick: Carlston Harris

FLY: Tyson Nam (21-12-1) vs. Bruno Silva (12-5-2, 1 NC)

  • Pick: Tyson Nam *Dawg of the Week*

WFLY: Ariane Lipski (14-8) vs. JJ Aldrich (11-5)

  • Pick: JJ Aldrich

BW: Victor Henry (22-6) vs. Tony Gravely (23-8)

  • Pick: Tony Gravely

BW: Mario Bautista (11-2) vs. Guido Cannetti (10-7)

  • Pick: Guido Cannetti

MW: Sedriques Dumas (7-0) vs. Josh Fremd (9-4)

  • Pick: Sedriques Dumas

BW: Raphael Assuncao (28-9) vs. Davey Grant (14-6)

  • Pick: Davey Grant

HW: Karl Williams (7-1) vs. Lukasz Brzeski (8-2-1, 1 NC)

  • Pick: Karl Williams

Main Card Predictions:

LHW: Vitor Petrino (7-0) vs. Anton Turkalj (8-1)

  • Pick: Vitor Petrino (-110)
  • Quick Reasoning:  Honestly, this fight shouldn’t be on the main card but this just goes to show that the UFC couldn’t last without Dana White. Sarcasm aside, we may witness a brutal KO of the “Pleasure Man” by Petrino or an exhilarating lay and pray by Turkalj for three rounds. Anton’s striking is pretty bad compared to Petrino’s and I believe Petrino will clip him early on in this one. Both guys have seen the third round only once in their careers, so I’d expect there to be a finish here. Petrino is the pick, but this one is a shot in the dark with the lack of competition they’ve been challenged with thus far. 

BW: Said Nurmagomedov (17-2) vs. Jonathan Martinez (17-4)

  • Pick: Said Nurmagomedov (-240)
  • Quick Reasoning: My early pick for fight of the night, I can’t wait for this one. Jonathan Martinez flows very well as a striker and both are most likely just outside the top fifteen rankings. As much as I’d like to go with the underdog here, I’m siding with Said to get the win. He doesn’t have the wrestling chops of other Nurmagomedov’s, but Said is highly opportunistic and is better defensively than Martinez. This is a razor close fight on paper, and it very well could be in the octagon come Saturday. Although Martinez looked very good against Cub Swanson, it was his toughest test in the past two years and Nurmagomedov has consistently faced difficult competition. While the Kakhramonov fight was not pretty for Said, I do believe he may pull another victory out with his countering and ability to seize openings given by his opponents. Give me Nurmagomedov by decision, but Martinez could take over if he gets going early on. Excited for this high level fight! 

FW: Ricardo Ramos (16-4) vs. Austin Lingo (9-1)

  • Pick: Ricardo Ramos (-360)
  • Quick Reasoning: A negative striking differential or a near two year layoff? I’m going with the negative striking differential because of the takedown threat. Lingo is not that great against the takedown threat and gave up six takedowns in a loss to Youssef Zalal. I’m banking on the takedowns to guide Ramos to victory here, so I’ll just leave it at that. Ramos via decision or submission. 

CATCHW: Nikita Krylov (29-9) vs. Ryan Spann (21-7) 

  • Pick: Nikita Krylov (-170)
  • Quick Reasoning: Both have recently won over aging veterans past their prime, with Krylov over Gustafsson and Spann over Reyes. Surprisingly, this is Krylov’s first main event after seventeen fights, and the second main event in a year-and-a-half for Spann. Krylov was en route to beating Paul Craig until a miracle submission appeared and handled himself admirably against Magomed Ankalaev. Krylov seemed to get his takedowns going with landing seven against Volkan Oezdemir last October and boasts a near 2:1 striking differential throughout his UFC tenure. Spann has continued to look amazing in his victories, but his defeats have continued coming against the upper echelon of the division, with losses coming against Johnny Walker and Anthony Smith in his last main event. Spann has a kill-or-be-killed style that throws caution to the wind and I don’t see this playing well in his favor against a methodical and defensively skilled fighter like Krylov. All it takes is one shot from Spann for it to be lights out or in a dangerous submission, but I believe Krylov is technically sound enough to beat Spann here. I see Krylov entering takedown and/or clinch positions to drain on Spann early on, hoping to empty Spann’s energy and take away his early-fight power. Eventually, this fight will end prior to the final fifth round horn but in all likelihood it will be Krylov getting his hand raised in a middle-round finish. If it ends in the first, it’ll most likely be Spann, but any round after that I’m siding with Krylov. Nikita Krylov via finish is the pick here. 

HW: Alexander Volkov (35-10) vs. Alexandr Romanov (16-1)

  • Pick: Alexander Volkov (+130)
  • Quick Reasoning: Oh yes, I saw Tom Aspinall make quick work of Volkov on the ground. That’s also Tom Aspinall, someone who moves well and has a gas tank. Romanov and Tybura should’ve been a draw, but the judges had no comprehension of the number eight that evening. Fortunately for Romanov, he failed his way to success and got the better ranked Volkov this Saturday. I’m not sure if the Salt Lake City elevation was really the issue for Romanov, but this is a much tougher test than Tybura was. Volkov was taken down nine times in the first three rounds against Curtis Blaydes, so I’m not going to act like there’s no opportunity for Romanov. However, he’s had uber close fights and has gassed against others such as Juan Espino when entering the third round. I don’t believe Romanov will be able to bully the big-bodied Volkov as easily as some of his less difficult competition. I’m siding with Volkov to get taken down once, maybe twice, then being able to expel shots from range to drain on the gas tank of Romanov. Give me Volkov by third round finish or decision unless Romanov finishes this in the first round. 

BW: Petr Yan (16-4) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (15-4)

  • Pick: Petr Yan (-260) *Lock of the Week*
  • Quick Reasoning: Yeah, I’m siding with the 90% takedown defense of Yan to prevent the slow grind up against the fence that Merab plans to offer. It’s a small cage, so I am a little nervous for Yan in this, but his hands are so elite and better than Merab in all aspects other than energy level and wrestling. Yan is also great in the clinch, so he might have Merab in a lot of trouble as he goes for level changes and trying to wear on Petr. There is a world where Merab ties Yan up against the fence for enough time that it can give him enough points, but I don’t think Petr is going to accept positions after his last two split-decision losses that altered a potential legendary BW title reign. Don’t let the last few fights fool you, Yan is still a very crisp boxer and should be able to clip the smaller Merab in this one. Going with Yan via KO or decision.

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