Merab Dvalishvili Wins UFC Main Event by Shutting Out Petr Yan

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Merab Dvalishvili is referred to as “The Machine” for a reason.

At UFC Fight Night inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels on Saturday, Dvalishvili (16-4) defeated former champion Petr Yan (16-5) by majority decision after dominating the fight for five rounds. This was the biggest victory of his career. Dvalishvili, who started as a 2-1 betting underdog, won the 135-pound contest 50-45 on the unanimous decision of the three judges.

Upon winning, the Georgian bantamweight put on a legendary performance. In total, he attempted 49 takedowns, breaking the previous record of 33 held by former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in 2012. Of those, 11 were successful. UFC Data show that Dvalishvili also connected with 202 of 401 total strikes, as opposed to Yan’s 87 of 155.

It was personal for me, as I’ve previously stated, Dvalishvili remarked. “I made an effort to act professionally. My team informed me that I was approaching this conflict in a unique way. Thank God, I performed competently. He described me as a zero. Now who is the zero?”

There was unquestionably ill will between the two throughout fight week. Dvalishvili made a point to speak out against Russia’s current conflict with Ukraine. He wears a tattoo of the Georgian flag on his chest as a result of the UFC recently banning fighters from entering the Octagon while carrying their national flag. Yan flees the Russian city of Yekaterinburg to fight.

A sizable audience of Georgian supporters attended Dvalishvili’s performance on Saturday and delighted in his victory over a former UFC champion and contender in the pound-for-pound category.

Dvalishvili remarked, “I am really proud. Thank you to all Georgians who came here and watched from home. “Although we only number five million, we are powerful. I’m happy to represent my nation here.”

Even those who predicted a Dvalishvili upset would have found it difficult to picture it this way. From bell to bell, Dvalishvili remained on Yan, relentlessly attempting single-leg takedowns and encircling him in combative exchanges. He attacked Yan with leg kicks, elbows, right hands, knees from the clinch, and punches throughout every minute of the fight.

In the second round, he appeared to injure Yan’s lead left leg with a kick, and in the fourth round, he appeared to injure Yan’s right eye with punches. Yan didn’t seem too bad.

What Dvalishvili’s victory on Saturday means is less certain. Aljamain Sterling, the reigning champion, and Yan are close friends and training partners. Sterling defeated Yan twice in their competition between 2021 and 2022. The two pals, who compete under the names Ray Longo and Matt Serra, have made it plain that they would not engage in combat, even if a belt is at stake.

The world champion and brother of mine, Sterling was in Dvalishvili’s corner on Saturday, the Georgian stated. “After that, I’ll compete for the championship whenever he chooses to go up in weight class and face whoever is there. I have no doubt that I want to win.”

At UFC 288 on May 6 in Newark, Sterling will defend his championship against two-weight champion Henry Cejudo.

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