You win or you learn. Saturday night at UFC Brasilia, UFC fans were to to find out what Johnny Walker had learned from a knockout loss to Corey Anderson last year.
While it’s unfair to call Walker a “hype job” after he compiled three straight finishes inside the octagon, his momentum certainly took a hit with that stoppage. Walker had been looked at as a future champion and challenger to Jon Jones. Suddenly, his status in the light heavyweight division was very much in question.
A strong performance against another fighter once seen as the division’s future, Nikita Krylov, could go a long way in repairing the damage. Krylov was once on a five-fight win streak inside the octagon, but left the promotion to compete closer to home in 2017. Since his return in 2018, he’d gone just 1-2, but a win over a name like Walker could get things back on track.
Walker started the affair with a jumping attack that started as a knee but ended as a punch. The pair then moved to the fence, where they traded. Krylov dropped for a takedown, but Walker reversed position. Krylov turned them back around, and Walker began landing elbows. A spin cycle ensued, and Krylov appeared to have landed the takedown. Walker tried to post up, but Krylov was able to trap his leg. It would take some time, but Walker powered up, and fired a big elbow. Krylov, however, caught the Brazilian with a right hand. A second right followed, one of which seemed to hurt Johnny Walker. ‘The Miner’ then went on the offensive, connecting; Walker tried for a spinning back fist, but eventually Krylov took him to the ground. Walker threatened with a triangle briefly but never had it close. Nikita Krylov finished the round in control.
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Round two saw Krylov come out swinging, connect, and take the fight to the ground. Walker was on one knee, and connected with an elbow. Krylov’s top pressure was smothering, however, and while Walker worked to escape, Krylov laid him back down, looking for an arm-triangle choke. There was no room against the cage, however. Walker would then work for a triangle from bottom, but Krylov pulled free. However in the final minute, Walker would reverse. Getting on top he’d land a few hard shots. Krylov tried for a kneebar, but Walker pulled free, and controlled the back, dropping a few more bombs from there to finish the round.
The pair went to the ground early in the third, and this time it was Walker on top. But while he was in control briefly, even threatening at times, Krylov was able to reverse. That landed him in Walker’s guard. The Brazilian spent far too much time on his back in this ground, and it likely cost him the fight.
Official Result: Nikita Krylov def. Johnny Walker by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)