One of the hottest light heavyweights outside the UFC and Bellator could be headed back to the octagon.
Nikita Krylov walked away from the UFC in 2017 after running up a record of 6-3, including a five fight win streak in his final six fights. Starting out as a heavyweight, where he went 1-1, the undersized Ukrainian of Russian heritage dropped down to 205lbs shortly after a win against Walt Harris. While he’d lose to Ovince St. Preux in his light heavyweight debut, he’d go on to win his next five, with victories over Marcos Rogério de Lima, Ed Herman, and others. A setback against Misha Cirkunov marked his final UFC bout — following that, he chose not to re-sign with the promotion.
Instead, Krylov opted to compete closer to home, signing with Fight Nights Global. He’s won all four of his post-UFC appearances, with wins over former Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton, and former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado. The latter saw Krylov win the FNG light heavyweight championship.
However, MMA Team Dagestan was first to report that a return to the UFC is in the works for Krylov. That news was confirmed by MMA Fighting on Monday, who obtained comment from Fight Nights Global President Kamil Gadzhiev.
“Krylov’s contract is up in August and the UFC is coming to Russia on September 15th,” Gadzhiev told the website. “As a result of that, [Krylov’s] management contacted Fight Nights Global and asked for a release so they could negotiate a deal for him for September. As his contract was up in August, Fight Nights Global did not want to prevent Krylov from fighting in the UFC in Russia, so he has been released to allow him to negotiate.”
The FNG head added he’d be happy to re-sign Krylov if a deal with the UFC can’t be worked out.
At the moment, UFC Moscow (UFC Fight Night 136) consists of Andrei Arlovski vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov, and a potential headliner between Mark Hunt and Oleksiy Oliynyk.