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Nikita Krylov hoping to make UFC return at Moscow event

The light heavyweight talent left the UFC back in 2017 in order to fight closer to home, but a year and a half later it sounds like he’s looking to negotiate his return to the promotion.

MMA: UFC 206 Weigh Ins Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Nikki Thrillz may be on his way back to the UFC. The Russo-Ukranian light heavyweight left the promotion back in early 2017, following a loss to Misha Cirkunov. However, in a rare move, he didn’t go because the UFC wasn’t interested in keeping him around.

Nikita Krylov negotiated an early end to his UFC contract claiming that he was spending too much time away from his family and wanted to compete closer to home. Soon afterward he signed a contract with Russian promotion Fight Nights Global. Krylov competed four times under the FNG banner between 2017-2018, going undefeated – with all wins coming inside the distance.

Now, MMA Fighting has confirmed a report from MMA Team Dagestan that Krylov has been released from his FNG contract in order to pursue a return to the world’s largest MMA promotion. The move was apparently prompted by the announcement of the upcoming UFC card in Moscow, headlined by Mark Hunt vs. Alexei Oleinyk. FNG president Kamil Gadzhiev spoke to Fighting about the decision.

“Krylov’s contract is up in August and the UFC is coming to Russia on September 15th,” said Gadzhiev.

“As a result of that, [Krylov’s] management contacted Fight Nights Global and asked for a release so they could negotiate a deal for him for September. As his contract was up in August, Fight Nights Global did not want to prevent Krylov from fighting in the UFC in Russia, so he has been released to allow him to negotiate.”

Reportedly, should the deal fall through, FNG will be more than happy to welcome Krylov back with a new contract.

Also worth noting, Krylov’s exit from FNG comes just a few months after the arrest of the promotion’s owner, on charges of embezzlement. As reported back in April, Ziyavudin Magomedov – one of the richest men in the Russian Federation – could be facing as much as 20 years in prison for the reported theft of $35 million dollars. The reported embezzlement is under investigation surrounding the construction of a World Cup stadium in Kaliningrad, which Magomedov’s company won the rights to build.

Magomedov is a notable figure in the Russian MMA scene. Not only as the owner of FNG, but also as the principal investor behind Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagles MMA fight team. Perhaps Krylov’s exit could be indicative of the ripple effects of Magomedov’s arrest.

Either way, the return of the ‘Miner’ would be a welcome breath of life into a division that needs all the fresh talent it can get.