As expected, top-ranked light heavyweight Nikita Krylov is returning to the UFC to join the promotion’s debut in Moscow.
The UFC’s stagnant light heavyweight division just got a much needed shot in the arm. After earlier reports suggested it, Nikita Krylov’s return to the promotion is now official. The UFC announced via social media Wednesday that Krylov, who left the company in early 2017 in order to be able to compete closer to home, will return at UFC Moscow. There, he’ll take on Poland’s Jan Blachowicz.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) August 1, 2018
Krylov (24-5) lost his final fight in the octagon to Misha Cirkunov at UFC 206 in December 2016. However, prior to that setback, ‘The Miner’ (which replaced ‘Al Capone’ in the nickname department) had been on a five fight win streak in the UFC’s 205lb division. Widely expected to be re-signed, he instead hopped aboard the Fight Nights Global train, which allowed him to fight closer to home. A Ukrainian of Russian descent, Krylov went on to win all four of his fights outside of the UFC. Those included wins over former Bellator light heavyweight champ Emanuel Newton, and former UFC fighter Fabio Maldonado.
Should he stick with the promotion on this, his second run, Krylov, who previously fought as a heavyweight despite being undersized for the division, could see himself fast-tracked into the title picture.
Jan Blachowicz (22–7), meanwhile, is a former KSW light heavyweight champion who is currently on a three fight win streak. That includes victories over Devin Clark, Jared Cannonier, and most impressively, Jimi Manuwa, a rematch of their 2015 bout.
UFC Fight Night 136, a.k.a. UFC Moscow, takes place on September 15 at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Moscow, Russia.