UFC 164 Bet: Nikita “The Al Capone” Krylov (-190) vs Soa “The Hulk” Palelei (+165) Aug 30, 2013

Heavyweight bout: Nikita Krylov (-190) vs Soa Palelei (+165)


Fight Breakdown:
The Facebook preliminary portion of UFC 164 is headlined by a heavyweight contest when Ukraine’s Nikita “The Al Capone” Krylov takes on New Zealand’s Soa “The Hulk” Palelei. Krylov is currently the favorite at -190 ($190 to win $100) with Palelei being the underdog at +165 ($100 to win $165) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks.

Nikita Krylov (15-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will be making his UFC debut as the youngest fighter in not just the heavyweight division, but the entire UFC at just 21 years of age. Krylov is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert and submission ace and his resume reflects it, as 10 of his 15 career victories have come by way of submission; and a variety of them, at that. While Nikita Krylov may have a spectacular offensive submission grappling game, he has holes in his submission defense and the only two losses on his record reflect that, as they were both via submission. His submission defense certainly is not poor, but it clearly is not superb. Krylov has good kicks and he is a fighter who likes to push forward. He has solid takedowns and good top control, not to mention excellent transitions. Nikita Krylov is a talented submission artist, but he began his martial arts career with Karate and was initially a pure striker. After learning all the different aspects of mixed martial arts and developing a solid all around game, including his already mentioned incredible submission game, he has gone on a tear on the European regional circuit and has made enough noise to earn himself a call from Joe Silva and the UFC.

Soa Palelei (18-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is making his UFC return since a lone loss at UFC 79 in 2007. He is coming off a ten fight win streak on the regional circuit. Palelei is a beast of a striker with solid boxing skills who throws beautiful jumping jabs and hooks that stagger his opponents. Palelei has average takedowns but his ground and pound is vicious and he is always a serious threat from top position, because on top of his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt credentials, he really loves to rain heavy leather. Palelei is certainly a finisher who loves to knock his opponents out. All eight of the wins on his current win streak have come by way of TKO/KO; seven in the first round and one in the second. Training out of Australia and American Top Team in Coconut Creek, FL., Soa Palelei is dropping from Super Heavyweight to 265 lbs(120 kg) for this bout. He has fought many times at heavyweight before but his most recent fights have been at Super Heavyweight; he must cut at least 25-30 lbs to make the 265 lbs limit. That fact combined with the fact that he has never seen the third round in his professional mixed martial arts career leads me to believe that his cardio will not be able to hold up for three rounds.

Fight Prediction: Neither of these guys have gone the distance in their combined 38 pro fights. They’re both dangerous finishers, as they have finished all of their fights. Age is on Krylov’s side, as he is 21 years old while Palelei is past his prime at 36. Krylov has the age advantage (if you can say such a thing exists) but I should note that I think Palelei is on the juice. While watching the weigh-ins, if he shows up with flab, he’s not on the juice, but if he shows up showing muscles, he is definitely juicing. That could play to his advantage in the first couple minutes of the fight but will end up costing him, ultimately, as Krylov has a solid chin and a decent chance of surviving any early onslaught to wear Palelei down and take him out.


Gabe’s Pick:
Nikita Krylov by Submission (rear naked choke, 4:47 round 2)


Gabe’s Recommended Play:
Nikita Krylov -190 for a moderate play. I liked a big play on him at his opening line of -140, as I had/have him ‘capped at -270 going into this here his UFC debut.

Written by Gabe Killian

Gabe Killian is a mixed martial arts journalist and handicapper, as well as a stand-up comedian and writer. You can find his work here on MMA Odds breaker and as columnist in the Los Angeles City College newspaper.

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