The new year, 2023, just seems to be getting better and better with each passing day in terms of the upcoming fights. Recently, fans found out that Jon Jones will make his heavyweight debut for the championship at UFC 285. Now, Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that former UFC bantamweight champ Petr Yan has his next opponent in sight and it is none other than Merab Dvalishvili!
While Merab is coming off a good win over former UFC featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo, Petr Yan suffered a loss in his last fight. The Russian fighter took on Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in October 2022. Although many thought he was the rightful winner of the fight, the judges scored the bout in favor of O’Malley. However, it was a hard pill to swallow for Yan and he blasted the judges later.
Not only did Yan express his displeasure, but the 29-year-old apparently wanted to leave the UFC as well! Former UFC double champ and commentator Daniel Cormier added that Yan was devastated by the judging. Petr apparently even felt “betrayed” by the lack of action from the UFC. But it looks like the former champ has moved past it and is ready to move on with his career.
Petr Yan vs Merab Dvalishvili: Who wins the fight?
The bout between Petr Yan (MMA record 16-4) and Merab Dvalishvili (MMA record 15-4) will not take place on the undercard of a PPV. Instead, it will headline a Fight Night card on March 11, 2023. The match-up makes a ton of sense as Merab is ranked 3rd in the bantamweight division. Petr, on the other hand, is ranked just ahead of him at 2nd. So the winner of the bout will perhaps be just one fight away from a title shot.
Yan has lost 3 of his last 4 fights. However, the recent results are not an indication of how good of a fighter Yan really is. He felt short-changed by the results of his last two bouts. Yan will be motivated to get back to the winning column come March. But Merab is a dominant wrestler, with attributes similar to the current champ Aljamain Sterling.
Can Yan overcome it and finally prove that the recent results were a fluke? Only time will tell. But the picture is much brighter on Merab’s side. Dvalishvili is on an 8-fight win streak and has a ton of momentum behind him. So the Georgian fighter may just be the favorite heading into the fight. However, Merab’s win poses questions of its own!
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Aljamain Sterling is best friends with Merab. Sterling previously stated that he would leave bantamweight to let Merab grab the belt. So the result of the fight has huge ramifications for the division. So who do you think wins? Let us know in the comments down below.