A little over a month since Fight Nights Global confirmed the release of Nikita Krylov to MMA Fighting, the highly-touted Ukrainian has been booked for his promotional return against Jan Blachowicz at UFC Moscow on Sept. 15.
UFC announced the booking through its social media channels on Wednesday morning as well as a middleweight tussle between Krzysztof Jotko and promotional newcomer Adam Yandiev, and a bantamweight bout between Merab Dvalishvili and Terrion Ware.
Blachowicz (22-7-0) is coming off a win over Jimi Manuwa in their back-and-forth rematch at UFC London back in March. The Polish light heavyweight has been in the best form of his life under the UFC banner since returning to his old coach, claiming victories over Devin Clark, Jared Cannonier and Manuwa. The former KSW champion has compiled a record of 5-4 with the UFC since his signing in 2014.
Krylov (25-5) is on a four-fight win streak since he left the UFC following a defeat to Misha Cirkunov at UFC 206. In his last outing, he scored a knockout win over fellow UFC veteran and notoriously durable Fabio Maldonado to claim the Fight Nights Global light heavyweight title. The 25-year-old clocked up a 6-3 with the UFC during his first spell with the promotion.
Jotko (19-4-0) is in a must-win situation heading into the Moscow event after taking three losses in his last three outings against David Branch, Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares. He boasts a 6-4 record with the promotion and went on a notable five-fight unbeaten run from 2014 to 2016, taking his biggest victory against former middleweight title challenger, Thales Leites.
Yandiev (9-0-0), known as “Beard” to Russian MMA fans, makes his debut under the UFC banner on the night. The former M-1 fighter has stopped all nine of his opponents in a professional career spanning back to 2014. He boasts six wins via submission and three wins via TKO.
Dvalishvili (7-4-0) is coming off his controversial loss to Ricky Simon at UFC Atlantic City. After winning two rounds against Simon, the Georgian was caught in a guillotine in the third round. Despite fighting gamely against the choke for as long as it was on, officials for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board ruled that he was unconscious at the end of the bout, and handed Simon a victory by technical submission. He lost a split decision to Frankie Saenz in his debut last December.
Although he has yet to claim a win with the UFC, Ware (17-7-0) has proved to be a game opponent against some of the bantamweight division’s most promising proponents. In his last outing he was edged out by Tom Duquesnoy via unanimous decision at UFC London. In his first two bouts with the promotion, he lost decisions to standouts Sean O’Malley and Cody Stamann.
Late on Tuesday night, M-1 Global announced that the promotion’s welterweight champion, Alexey Kunchenko (18-0-0) would make his UFC debut against established Brazilian campaigner and former title contender Thiago Alves (22-12-0) at the Moscow event. The Russian has claimed 14 finishes in 18 test in MMA. Alves is coming off his second round loss to Curtis Millender at UFC Austin.