“I’m happy to come back,” light heavyweight Nikita Krylov told Cageside Press during Thursday’s virtual media day for UFC Vegas 20.
Krylov (26-7) last fought in March of 2020, at the final UFC event prior to a forced hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. UFC Brasila on March 14 last year was also the first UFC card without fans, a rather eerie experience at the time.
Not so much anymore, of course. Krylov, for one, is just happy to be back doing what he loves. This time, it’s against rising contender Magomed Ankalaev, winner of five straight.
“I think that [we] match up pretty well for a good exciting fight. I’m pretty sure it will be a good, interesting bout for all the fans,” Krylov stated when asked how he matched up with Ankalaev.
There’s another big light heavyweight fight on the radar. In a matter of weeks, Israel Adesanya, the UFC’s undefeated middleweight champion, will move up to face Jan Blachowicz for a shot at a second title, and 205lb gold.
Poland’s Blachowicz is a fighter Krylov knows well. In his return to the UFC in 2018, Krylov was paired up with Blachowicz. He wound up submitted in the second round; Blachowicz would go on to win the belt after Jon Jones vacated the title.
“Of course I’m supporting the light heavyweight guy,” Krylov stated in regards to the champ vs. champ fight at UFC 259. “I think Blachowicz has everything in his arsenal to get the W.”
“The Miner” is not sore about Adesanya’s title shot at 205, either. “It’s a good fight from the media’s point of view. He’s a champion, he has the full right to fight for the title, it’s not like the first time where the UFC’s done it,” noted Krylov. “I think it’s a pretty good fight for both of them.”
As for his own fight with Blachowicz, “I can’t recall any specific emotions, but I could say that if I would be in better shape for our fight against Blachowicz, it would be a completely different competition,” suggested Krylov. “It’s kind of hard to say now, what I would have done differently. But it would be a completely different fight. I was a little out of shape at that moment.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 virtual media day scrum with Nikita Krylov above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.