Former UFC bantamweight champ Petr Yan came back to fight Merab Dvalishvili in the UFC Las Vegas co-main event. Fans were really interested in seeing Merab’s wrestling vs Petr’s striking. So how did the bout go? Let’s find out!
Petr Yan, who is usually a slow starter, almost conceded a takedown in the very first minute of the bout. But as fans have seen over and over again, Petr has great defensive wrestling skills and he scrambled his way back to his feet. Although the two traded some good strikes throughout the rest of the round, the bout hit the mat in the final minute as a failed takedown attempt from Yan led to Merab getting top control.
Yan looked a bit tired on the stool ahead of round 2. He was breathing heavily, while Merab was standing in his corner and seemed to be enjoying the occasion. The Georgian fighter started the second round on a very aggressive note with leg kicks and takedown attempts. Merab’s kicks seemed to be hurting Yan, whose leg seemingly went numb for a bit.
Merab lived up to his nickname, “The Machine” as he kept on putting the pressure and walked forward with some vicious elbows. By the time the second round was coming to an end, Merab was all over the former champ with 4 takedowns already. But Yan finished the round on top as Merab slipped on the mat. The tension was visible on Yan’s face as he was sitting ahead of Round 3.
Merab Dvalishvili dominates Petr Yan at UFC Las Vegas
Yan seemingly switched on his offensive button in the third round, as he landed some hard leg kicks. However, they had no impact on Merab, who just spammed Yan with one takedown attempt after another. After a certain point, Yan started to throw haymakers in the hope of catching Merab on the chin. But Yan just could not find anything meaningful despite trying his level best.
To Yan’s credit, he stayed up on his feet as much as he could. Although Merab attempted more than 25 takedown attempts even before the third round ended, the Russian fighter only went down to the mat a handful of times. Even when he was on the ground, the Georgian fighter could not do much. However, all the takedown attempts and leg kicks helped Merab keep Yan quiet on the feet.
Dvalishvili once again started round 4 with a brief takedown. But this time, Yan got up and managed to engage Merab in the clinch for a few moments. But Yan’s right eye was swelling up very rapidly and it encouraged Merab to smother the Russian even more. By the time the fourth round ended, Merab broke the record for the most takedown attempts in a fight. The previous record was held by Cain Velasquez with 33.
Although Yan managed to survive a vast majority of the takedown attempts, he need to finish Merab in the final round to win the fight. However, it was Dvalishvili who started the final round as if he was looking for a finish. He pushed Yan to the edge and pinned him against the cage for the majority of the first 3 minutes of the fight. After a brief separation, Merab went straight back to work and manhandled Petr “No Mercy” Yan once more.
The bout ended with Yan trying his best to land some big overhead punches. But, at that point, it was clear who won the bout and it was just a matter of formality. The decision was never in doubt and he won the bout via unanimous decision as all three judges had the fight 50-54 for Merab.
Will Dvalishvili fight Aljamain Sterling for the UFC bantamweight title?
The win over Petr Yan was perhaps the most impressive in the UFC. With 44 takedown attempts, he also created a new UFC record too! So there is no doubt that fans would love to see him fight for the belt next. However, as many know, Merab and the current champ Aljamain Sterling are best of friends.
He gave Aljo all the credit for improving him. He maintained the same position after beating Yan and stated he would wait for Aljo to leave bantamweight before demanding a title shot.
Merab added, “Hey man, he is my brother and he is real champion. Only me and him knowns, who’s real champion. You know he is the real champion. But whenever he decide go up in weight class and fight to next challenger, whoever will be there and then after I will fight title. Of course, I want to be champion and now I prove again.”
Following his last fight against Jose Aldo, UFC President Dana White slammed Merab for a lackluster performance. However, with the display against Yan, it can be safe to assume that Dana will not have the same complaint this time around. While Merab extends his winning streak to 9, Yan has lost 3 fights in a row now. So it will be interesting to see what the future holds for him as well.
Aljamain Sterling will defend his title against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288. Perhaps, depending on the result, Aljo may clear the path for Merab and move up to featherweight.