Merab Dvalishvili couldn’t picture a scenario where he wouldn’t get his hand raised in a fight with Petr Yan.
Dvalishvili and Yan clashed inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 11 for a “UFC Fight Night” event. It was clear that Dvalishvili’s grappling and pressure left Yan confused on the feet. While Yan is usually loose and creative with his striking, the threat of the takedown, as well as Dvalishvili’s ability to mix it up made it difficult for the former UFC Bantamweight Champion to mount any sort of offense.
The fight went the distance and all three judges scored it 50-45 in favor of Merab Dvalishvili. During the post-fight press conference, the Serra-Longo Fight Team standout revealed just how determined he was when it came to defeating Yan.
Merab says he would have killed himself if he had lost to Petr Yan #UFCLasVegas
— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) March 12, 2023
“Merab says he would have killed himself if he had lost to Petr Yan #UFCLasVegas”
Going into their clash in Sin City, Dvalishvili and Yan had some bad blood brewing. Yan even shoved Dvalishvili after the two exchanged words during the ceremonial weigh-ins. Ultimately, it’s Dvalishvili who sees his stock soar, but the question of what he will do next looms.
The general consensus is that Dvalishvili should clearly be in line for a UFC Bantamweight Championship fight against the winner of titleholder Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo, which is set to headline UFC 288 on May 6.
There’s a roadblock, however, as Dvalishvili and Sterling are training partners and close friends. The two have said they will never fight each other. UFC President Dana White recently told reporters that he feels Dvalishvili is going down a path that can do irreparable damage to his career.
Sterling has flirted with the idea of moving up to featherweight to allow Dvalishvili to fight for UFC gold. A Cejudo win over Sterling would also open the door for Dvalishvili to compete for the bantamweight hardware.