UFC Fight Night 127: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Paul Craig fight preview

Name: Magomed Ankalaev
Age: 25
Nationality: Russian
MMA Record: 9-0
UFC Record: Debut
Notable Wins: Wagner Prado
Notable Losses: None
Last Fight: KO win over Celso Ricardo da Silva

Fighter Profile: Ankalaev looks like one of the next big thingss out of Russian. He's won his last three fights by knockout and is undefeated in his career. He comes from a grappling background so we know he can hold his own in the wrestling and submission departments. But the fact he's shown such improved striking is a good sign. Ankalaev has the potential to be a serious prospect and at age 25 the sky is the limit for him. The UFC is constantly looking for new light heavyweight talent, and it looks like they've found a good prospect here.

Name: Paul Craig
Age: 30
Nationality: Scottish
MMA Record: 9-2
UFC Record: 1-2
Notable Wins: Henrique da Silva
Notable Losses: Khalil Rountree, Tyson Pedro
Last Fight: KO loss to Khalil Rountree

Fighter Profile: Craig opened up his UFC career with a beautiful submission win over Henrique da Silva. It was a great win for him and it made some think he had potential in the light heavyweight division, but since then, things have not gone well for Craig. He's lost his last two fights by TKO and doesn't look like he's got what it takes to hang at the UFC level. To his credit, he showed tremendous submission ability on the regional circuit and it makes sense that the UFC was interested in him. But it's also fair to say he's been a disappointment since then. At this point, it looks like he's locked into gatekeeper duty in the light heavyweight division, and the UFC is giving him a newcomer in this fight.

Fight Breakdown: This looks like a mismatch with the UFC hoping to create a new light heavyweight contender out of Ankalaev by matching him up with one of the worst fighters in the division in Craig, who has shown he does not have the chin to keep up with the power punchers at 205lbs. It's true that this is a step up in competition for Ankalaev, but it's a winnable fight for him. Ankalaev has won his last three fights by knockout and he should continue to roll here against Craig, who has lost his last two fights by knockout. Maybe Craig can make things interesting by taking the fight to the ground, but I doubt it. I think Ankalaev wins this fight by knockout in the first round.

Prediction: Ankalaev via TKO

Tags: betting preview

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About the Author

Adam Martin

Mixed martial arts journalist. Lead writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com and also featured at @MMARatingsNet, @mmanews_com and @fightodds_io.

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