Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan had a long and rather ugly feud with Aljamain Sterling throughout their championship rivalry, which began with a disqualification at UFC 259 in Las Vegas and escalated. ended in a split decision at UFC 273 in Jacksonville – which ended in favor of “Funk Master”.
Fellow UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili was in Sterling’s fight camp when Yan threatened to kill everyone on his team (read those inflammatory comments here). Unsurprisingly, Dvalishvili took this personally, but “The Machine” was able to keep his cool and no hotel hand sanitizer took off.
“If he wasn’t fighting, of course I would slap him,” Dvalishvili told MMA Fighting. “Especially he said just before, when he was coming to Aljo, Petr said – I’m just going to repeat his words – ‘When I see Aljo and Aljo’s team, we’ll kill and crush his team.’ That’s what he mentioned. Like what the fuck? I’m his team, I’m Aljo’s team. He wants to crush me.
It wasn’t the only time Dvalishvili had a problem with the former champion. Yan also attempted to mock and discredit ‘The Machine’ during a brief interaction with Sterling ahead of ‘No Mercy’s’ showdown with Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Once again, Dvalishvili let the talk slip away as Yan was at the fight camp.
“When I saw him in Abu Dhabi, he was getting ready for the fight with O’Malley – it was like three days before the fight, and I was respectful,” Dvalishvili said. “I was standing by myself on the other side, but he was talking to Aljo, and I don’t want to come near him. He had a fight, he was losing weight. He was just doing his own thing, and I was respectful. He pointed at me and said, “He’s small. I’m going to stand [near him] like it was funny, i tried to size him up, then he pointed at me again and he said i’m a zero.
“When he said that, the first time, I just laughed and got closer and measured him,” Dvalishvili continued. “After that, I just smiled big. I was respectful and he had a big fight. I don’t want to waste his fight or his energy or anything. No matter how stupid he is, he had a big argument and I don’t want him to deal with anything.
Yan lost his fight against O’Malley by split decision.
Dvalishvili will have his chance to exact revenge on Yan when they collide in the main event of UFC Las Vegas, scheduled for this Saturday. night (March 11, 2023) inside the theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. A win for “The Machine” could put him at the top of a very short list of eligible bantamweight title contenders, just behind O’Malley.
To see who else is fighting at UFC Las Vegas, click here.
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