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Grant Emrick Breakdowns UFC Fight Night Krylov vs. Spann

UFC Fight Night: Krylov vs. Spann

February 25, 2023

Emrick’s 2023 UFC Fighter Pick Record (41-18-2)

Main Events (3-2)

Lock of the Week (5-0)

Dawg of the Week (2-3)

Lifetime Fighter Pick Record (339-180-5)

Prelim Predictions:

LW: Rafael Alves (20-11) vs. Nurullo Aliev (8-0)

  • Pick: Rafael Alves *Dawg of the Week*

LW: Joe Solecki (12-3) vs. Carl Deaton (17-5, 2 NC)

  • Pick: Joe Solecki

CW: Ode Osbourne (11-5, 1 NC) vs. Charles Johnson (13-3)

  • Pick: Charles Johnson *Lock of the Week*

LW: Jordan Leavitt (10-2) vs. Victor Martinez (13-4)

  • Pick: Jordan Leavitt

WFLY: Jasmine Jasudavicius (7-2) vs. Gabriella Fernandes (8-1)

  • Pick: Gabriella Fernandes

LW: Erick Gonzalez (14-7) vs. Trevor Peek (7-0, 1 NC)

  • Pick: Trevor Peek

Main Card Predictions:

WW: Mike Malott (8-1-1) vs. Yohan Lainesse (9-1)

  • Pick: Mike Malott (-210)
  • Quick Reasoning:  I just believe Malott is a lot better than Lainesse. Defensively, Lainesse has put up better numbers, but he’s been outstruck in his last two fights by Gabe Green – in which he was finished – and a eerily close SD win over Darian Weeks. While I believe Weeks won that fight, I do think Lainesse has some power, as he managed to knock down Green early in his fight. Malott, on the other hand, was the second person to finish Mickey Gall after finishing him in his UFC debut last year. I believe Malott is the slicker striker and can put up the volume to find Lainesse on the feet. It’ll be interesting to see if Lainesse’s movement in and out of range will be too much for Malott to handle, but I think Malott is well-rounded enough to outstrike and even grapple with Yohan if necessary. Give me Malott here with a second-round finish. 

WFLY: Tatiana Suarez (9-0) vs. Montana De La Rosa (12-7-1)

  • Pick: Tatiana Suarez (-850)
  • Quick Reasoning: If Suarez is half as good as she once was before her nearly-four year layoff, then she should be able to come out victorious Saturday night. Do you like striking? Suarez lands nearly five strikes per minute and out strikes opponents with an over 3:1 advantage. Is wrestling or grappling your thing? Suarez averages nearly 6.5 takedowns per fifteen minutes at a 62% success rate, along with 100% takedown defense. I’ve never seen her fight live, but I’m eager to see if the hype remains real for Tatiana. Montana De La Rosa is not a bad fighter, but this is a good get-back fight for Suarez. De La Rosa has a negative striking differential and only one win in the past three years. I’m going to side with the hype and proven warrior in Suarez – who finished Alexa Grasso and Carla Esparza –  to get the job done within the distance this week. 

HW: Augusto Sakai (15-5-1) vs. Don’Tale Mayes (9-4,1 NC)

  • Pick: Augusto Sakai (-125)
  • Quick Reasoning: Nothing like lower-tier HWs on the main card. If this was two years ago we may have laughed at Augusto Sakai being called a lower-level HW, but four straight finish losses against Overeem, Rozenstruik, Tuivasa, and Spivac have done Sakai no favors in optics. Meanwhile, Mayes is coming off a low-IQ loss to notable PED suspension fighter Hamdy Abdelwahab that has since been overturned to a No Contest. Although he’s on a bit of a cold streak right now, I have to go with Sakai based on resume and strength of opposition as of late. This fight reminds me of Damon Jackson and Dan Ige, where there are clear levels between bottom of the barrel HWs and fringe-ranked ones. Mayes only has two UFC victories, against 2-3 Josh Parisian and 0-3 Roque Martinez whilst in the promotion. One of Parisian’s victories were against Roque Martinez and the other was against 0-4 in the UFC, Alan Baudot. The matchup here has me scratching my head a bit, but I understand that Sakai’s been chinny and is in need of a reality check to see where he still stands. With a negative striking differential, I’m worried about Mayes on the feet. If standing, I don’t believe Mayes carries the power to put Sakai out and I’m afraid Sakai can outwork him by a wide margin. However, Mayes’ path to victory may come via his wrestling, as recent opponents Overeem and Spivac have done to get Sakai out of his comfort zone. The x-factor will be Mayes’ IQ in deciding to go for the takedowns and drown Sakai out for a ground and pound victory, but I think Sakai’s experience against tougher competition will hold well for him in this one. In one of my less confident picks, I’m siding with Sakai via finish. 

MW: #11 Andre Muniz (23-4) vs. Brendan Allen (20-5)

  • Pick: Andre Muniz (-220)
  • Quick Reasoning: This is a very interesting matchup for our co-main event. Both men have plenty of submissions on their resume, but we’ve been warned that Muniz is no joke. He offers little volume on the feet because he’s been that good at getting his opponents to the ground, threatening submissions, and controlling his ways to victory if unable to find the finish. Both fighters are near even in terms of striking differential, but Allen is the better striker without a doubt and is also hittable. Muniz doesn’t have much to offer on the feet, but he chains takedowns and has averaged nearly four of them per fifteen minutes of octagon time. If this stays standing, I’m siding with Allen for sure. However, I think Muniz is too good in getting his way to the ground and will be able to perform better than Jacob Malkoun did against Allen this time around. Give me Muniz, but this can be a draining fight to the final horn or an armbar submission may appear out of nowhere for Andre as well whilst on the ground. I’m going with Muniz, whose last loss came from the hands of #15 ranked LHW Azamat Murzakanov in 2016, to find the submission over Allen. 

LHW: #6 Nikita Krylov (29-9) vs. #8 Ryan Spann (21-7)

  • Pick: Nikita Krylov (-170)
  • Quick Reasoning: While the stakes are not as large as Blanchfield vs. Andrade, this is still a good main event that will tell us a lot about each fighter. 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. 

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