UFC Fight Night 220 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann
Top-10 ranked light-heavyweights lead the show with Krylov (No.6) and Spann (No.8) both coming into the fight off of back-to-back wins.
The two also bring impressive fight-finishing credentials to the match-up, with Krylov having stopped 27 of his 29 career wins inside the distance, while Spann has 18 finishes from 21 wins.
While both are well-rounded, Krylov stands out in particular for his ability to finish fights wherever the fight goes, with his finishing record being split evenly between strikes and submissions. He’s an all-action style of fighter who fight with pace and volume, and he has more variety in his attacks than Spann, so expect him to try to make use of his better kicking game here. However, even though he’s very durable and has only been stopped once by strikes, his naturally offensively-minded approach can leave him open to being countered and he can be rocked.
Spann has a more boxing-orientated approach and will have a 2″ height and 1.5″ reach advantage to make use of here. Spann doesn’t have as many finishes on the feet as Krylov, but nevertheless he does actually carry the harder one-punch power of the two.
Spann can also use his wrestling and has a dangerous guillotine choke that accounts for a high number of his 12 submission finishes over the years. Krylov is the more technical grappler though, but like Spann he is somewhat flawed defensively and in his case he’s been caught in submissions himself on several occasions.
This is a well-balanced fight, but I’ll take Krylov to edge the striking action with his higher-volume attacks and get the better of the ground game to pave the way for a 2nd round TKO finish.
Pick: Nikita Krylov wins by TKO in Rd2.
Andre Muniz vs. Brendan Allen
Muniz has been one of the Contender Series success stories so far, having won all five of his fights in the UFC so far since joining from the show, while Allen is also in good form after securing three wins in a row in 2022.
Muniz is a high-level grappler who made a name for himself when he did the unthinkable and broken BJJ ace Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza’s arm in their 2021 fight, and that’s just one of 15 submission wins he has on his record.
In addition to that he also has good takedowns and he’s tried to work on his striking, though it’s still more of a means to an end as he’s always looking to get the fight to the mat. That being said, it is worth noting that earlier in his career he did actually suffer four losses due to strikes, with the last being a KO defeat back in 2016.
So Allen may attempt to keep this fight standing and try to test Muniz striking and his chin, but that might be easier said than done as he’s not the hardest hitter around and also has underwhelming takedown defense.
That’s mainly because, like Muniz, Allen is actually at his best as a wrestler and grappler, and he has a tendency to welcome being taken down since it gets the fight where he wants it. In this instance though that seems like a bad idea since Muniz would appear to be the superior specialist on the mat and I could see him controlling the action on top, though in the end I’ll pick him to find his way to a second round submission finish.
Pick: Andre Muniz wins by submission in Rd2.
Augusto Sakai vs. Don’Tale Mayes
There’s a lot of pressure on Sakai’s shoulders heading into this one after having been finished by strikes in his last four fights, while Mayes is technically unbeaten in his last three bouts, though he actually lost by split decision last time out before it was amended to a no-contest due to his opponent testing positive for a banned substance.
If there’s one consolation for Sakai it’s that the 31-year-old was going up against a muderer’s row of ranked fighters in Alistair Overeem, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Tai Tuivasa and Sergey Spivak during his losing slump, and with all due respect, Mayes simply is a substantial drop down in competition.
That being said, this is heavyweight so when fists start flying anything can happen and Mayes has a boxing base and a 3″ height and 4″ reach advantage to work with, and also can mix in his judo too to give his opponents a different look.
Sakai is the significantly better striker overall though. Let’s not forget that before his losing streak he was 16-1 in his career and had compiled a four-fight unbeaten stretch in the UFC, and so even though there are serious worries about his chin I still feel this is a very winnable fight for him and will take him to earn a decision victory.
Pick: Augusto Sakai wins by decision.
Tatiana Suarez vs. Montana De La Rosa
TUF 23 winner Suarez returns after a three-and-a-half year absence due to serious injury issues and will now attempt to rekindle the form that took her record to a perfect 8-0 as she goes up against De La Rosa, who started her UFC with a trio of wins but has struggled since, going 2-3-1 in her last five appearances.
Before her long absence Suarez was a force to be reckoned with thanks to her very strong wrestling game and good grappling ability that appeared to have her on the path to title contention.
Suarez is now 32, so unfortunately she’s missed out on some of the prime years of her career and it remains to be seen if she’s been able to make any adjustments to her style over that period, such as improving upon her striking.
Even if not it’s questionable whether the 28-year-old De La Rosa would be able to exploit that as though she is reasonably well-rounded, she’s not the most potent on the feet. Instead, her strengths largely align with Suarez, particularly with her grappling as she has 12 victories via submissions.
There’s a vast difference in skill here though when you consider that Suarez was on the verge of competing in the Olympics back in 2012 before a serious neck injury. As such, if her many setbacks and long layoff don’t hold her back then I fully expect Suarez to dominate the action on the mat and emerge with a decision victory here.
Pick: Tatiana Suarez to win by decision.
Mike Malott vs. Yohan Lainesse
These two both made their way to the UFC via the Contender Series, with Malott going on to win his debut last year, while Lainesse has gone 1-1 since joining.
Despite having fought for well over a decade, the 31-year-old Malott has actually only fought nine times during that period, but does hold a solid 9-1 record. He’s revealed in the past that he fell out of love with competing at a certain stage, but he maintained strong links to the sport as a Team Alpha Male coach and he seems to have rediscovered his competitive edge and is now looking to make his mark in the UFC.
Malott is solidly-built athlete with a fairly well-rounded mix of kickboxing, wrestling and grappling. He’s also had a knack for finding a finish so far in his career, with four wins via strikes and four by submission.
The 31-year-old Lainess is more striking orientated and was 8-0 heading into the UFC before suffering a TKO loss in his debut. He’ll look to slug it out on the feet and make use of his solid power and 3″ reach advantage, but he doesn’t have the best cardio and I think Malott can stay competitive with him on the feet and use his more varied skill-set if required to secure a TKO stoppage in the second round.
Malott is a solid athlete and the more well-rounded fighter here with his mix of kickboxing, wrestling and grappling, and he’s been a finisher so far in his career, splitting his eight wins evenly between stoppages via strikes and submissions.
Pick: Mike Malott wins by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims (Predictions in bold)
Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Gabriella Fernandes
Jordan Leavitt vs. Victor Martinez
Ode Osbourne vs. Charles Johnson
Rafael Alves vs. Nurullo Aliev
Hailey Cowan vs. Ailin Perez
Jose Johnson vs. Garrett Armfield
Trevor Peek vs. Erick Gonzalez