Output was the name of the game when Merab Dvalishvili and Petr Yan met in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Dvalishvili overwhelmed Yan with wrestling and striking to take a one-sided decision over the former UFC bantamweight champion.
Yan is infamous for his ability to slowly make reads before assembling a winning game plan against his opponents. Dvalishvili overloaded Yan with information, muting Yan's typically terrifying boxing. Big moments were few and far between in the fight, but Dvalishvili wobbled Yan with a leg kick in Round 2 and had Yan's eye swollen completely shut by the time the fight wrapped. Yan was certainly well-conditioned, but Dvalishvili never tired.
Dvalishvili blew past the record for takedowns attempted in a single UFC fight, trying an astounding 49 takedowns and securing 11. He is now tied with former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson with 74 takedowns landed in the UFC and is within 10 takedowns of tying record holder Georges St-Pierre.
Merab broke the record for the most takedown attempts in a UFC fight with 49. The previous record was 33.— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 12, 2023
What a performance at #UFCLasVegas 👏 pic.twitter.com/UEUjYetzqh
Dvalishvili (16-4) extended his winning streak to nine and will likely be ranked No. 2 in the UFC's bantamweight rankings next week. There are only two viable challengers between Dvalishvili and reigning champion Aljamain Sterling: scheduled challenger Henry Cejudo and No. 1 ranked contender Sean O'Malley. There is a predicament if Dvalishvili and Sterling continue to excel. They are close friends and close training partners that refuse to fight each other. Sterling and coach Ray Longo have previously stated that Sterling would rather move up to featherweight than defend his title against Dvalishvili.
"He is my brother and he is the real champion," Dvalishvili said of Sterling during his post-fight interview from The Theater at Virgin Hotels. "Whenever he decides to go up a weight class and fight the next challenge, afterwards I will fight for the title. Of course, I want to be the champion. I proved it again. I'm hungry!"
😳 #UFCLasVegas pic.twitter.com/mFgaMjdDiN— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 12, 2023
Former UFC bantamweight champion Yan finds himself freefalling. Yan (16-5) is on his first career losing streak in 21 professional fights. What's more, Saturday marks his most decisive loss yet. Yan was swept 50-45 by Dvalishvili on all three judges' scorecards. He had only ever been defeated by split decision or disqualification prior to Saturday