UFC 164’s Nikita Krylov “Honored” to be Promotion’s Youngest Fighter
Rising Heavyweight Will Battle Soa Palelei
By FCF Staff
When UFC 164 goes down Saturday night in Milwaukee, much of the spotlight will be understandably focused on the co-main-event, which will feature Josh Barnett making his Octagon return versus fellow vet Frank Mir. Of course, not only are both men former heavyweight champions, but they are two of the sport’s most experienced.
Interestingly enough, however, the card will also feature the promotional debut of Nikita Krylov, who arrives in the UFC armed with an impressive 15-2 record. In addition, since the Ukrainian fighter was born in March, 1992, he is now the UFC’s youngest fighter at 21 years old. Until the addition of Krylov, featherweight Max Holloway had the distinction of being the promotion’s youngest competitor.
In a recent interview with UFC.com to discuss his upcoming debut, which will include facing Australia’s Soa Palelei, Krylov had this to say about his age.
“I am honored to be the youngest and it is a great responsibility,” he said. “For all the young guys I want to show that even though we may be lacking in experience and routine, we can make up for it with a big heart and an undying fighting spirit.”
Speaking of the “undying fighting spirit”, it’s also worth noting that Krylov has put together his 15-2 record in a span of approximately one year. The 6’3, 245 pound fighter made his pro debut in July, 2012, and stopped Alexander Umrikhin in the first round while fighting under the West Fight banner. Since then, Krylov has gone on to score 14 more wins via stoppage or submission.
While it remains to be seen how he performs against the top tier talent in the UFC heavyweight division, it certainly appears as though a lifetime of martial arts training has prepared Krylov well for a career in MMA.
“I’ve been doing karate since childhood and watching mixed martial arts, and I always kept a desire to try my hand at MMA and evolve in this direction,” Krylov noted in the aforementioned report. “I think the sport is the strongest, because an MMA fighter is a very versatile fighter – he can box like a boxer, kick like a karateka, and wrestle like a wrestler. That’s why I’m training MMA; I want to be the most versatile fighter of all.”
Another intriguing angle to Krylov’s upcoming debut is the fact that the fighter goes by the nickname “The Al Capone.” That’s not exactly the kind of moniker fight fans are used to. When asked about why he chose to cite the infamous mobster, Krylov told the promotion:
“I really like the mystery surrounding Al Capone and I read a lot and watched a lot of documentaries about him,” said Krylov, who holds a master of sports degree in Kyokushin Karate and hand-to-hand combat.. “He’s someone who managed to put his footprint on history. He was good and evil in one person; he did a lot of positive things for the people of Chicago, but obviously committed many outrageous crimes as well. I think that the nickname suits me well, because I plan on being one bad dude inside the Octagon, while still being a good person outside of it. I also want to leave my footprint in the history of MMA.”
If Krylov can get by Palelei at UFC 164, it certainly would be a compelling way to make his promotional debut. “The Hulk” is currently riding an eight fight win streak which includes a recent stoppage win over UFC vet Sean McCorkle. Palelei (18-3), it’s also worth noting, is 14 years older than Krylov at 35.
UFC 164 will be hosted by Milwaukee’s Bradley Center and will feature lightweight champion Benson Henderson taking on Anthony Pettis in the main event.