With the addition of a light heavyweight bout between top-15 contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Nikita Krylov, the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 46 card on February 27th is slowly turning into a must-see event.
According to a recent tweet by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Ankalaev will take on Krylov in a pivotal bout in the UFC's 205-pound division.
Okamoto called Magomed Ankalaev - who is on a five-fight winning streak - a 'dark horse the division.' The only loss in Ankalaev's professional MMA career thus far is a submission loss to Paul Craig back in 2018. Krylov on the other hand, is coming off the heels of an impressive performance against Johnny Walker at UFC Fight Night 170 back in March.
Both Magomed Ankalaev and Nikita Krylov are known finishers, and this fight is not expected to last all three rounds.
Magomed Ankalaev is looking to put the Ion Cutelaba saga behind him and move up the light heavyweight ranks. Ankalaev knocked out Cutelaba at UFC 254 in a rematch of their controversial bout at UFC Fight Night 169.
While still unconfirmed, UFC is also targeting a bout between former title challenger Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka to serve as the main event for the fight card. Reyes is coming off a second failed UFC light heavyweight title bid, losing to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253.
Can a win against Nikita Krylov land Magomed Ankalaev in the top five of the light heavyweight rankings?
Magomed Ankalaev is currently ranked 11th in the UFC's 205-pound rankings, while Krylov currently sits at eighth. A win for Ankalaev will likely lead to him jumping over Kyrlov in the rankings.
However, if the proposed Dominick Reyes-Jiri Prochazka main event for the UFC on ESPN+ 46 card does materialize, there is a high probability that Ankalaev even breaks into the top-5 of the division.
Prochazka is currently ranked fifth in the rankings, and a loss against Reyes paired with a win for Magomed Ankalaev may be enough to ensure that the Russian enters the top five.
Ankalaev has long been considered a dark horse of the light heavyweight division. With champion Jan Blachowicz set to take on Israel Adesanya for the strap in 2021, Ankalaev will be looking to stamp his authority in the weight class.Published 30 Dec 2020, 13:01 IST