Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight contenders Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili will face off TONIGHT (Saturday, March 11, 2023) at UFC Las Vegas inside the Virgin Hotels Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada .
Yan’s recent run was unfortunate to say the least, as two consecutive split decisions went against him. Fortunately, he remains ranked in the Top 5 and recognized as one of the best bantamweights on the planet. “No Mercy” still isn’t too far off the track mix, and knocking out Dvalishvili helps right the ship. “The Machine,” meanwhile, is riding an eight-fight winning streak in his first main event slot. Dvalishvili exists in a weird vacuum in that he won’t fight teammate and division champion Aljamain Sterling (here’s why). Thankfully, Sterling seems eager to test the waters at featherweight sooner rather than later, so the current stalemate may soon be over.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Main wins: Cory Sandhagen (UFC 267), Jose Aldo (UFC 251), Jimmie Rivera (UFC 238), Urijah Faber (UFC 245), John Dodson (UFC Fight Night 145), Douglas Silva de Andrade (UFC 232)
Key losses: Aljamain Sterling (UFC 273, UFC 259), Sean O’Malley (UFC 280)
Keys to Victory: Yan is one of the best strikers in the sport. A brutal pressure fighter, Yan can throw aggressive combinations from both stances and strike from any distance, and his attack only intensifies as the fights continue.
In this fight, Yan must be the man who advances. Dvalishvili may be an excellent wrestler, but Yan can’t let the threat of withdrawal deter him from his usual approach to kickboxing. He needs to be confident in his own takedown defense, which remains one of the best in the division.
Dvalishvili does not have good defensive boxing. Its defense comes in the form of aggression and struggle. If Yan methodically takes him down with clever combinations, cutting angles and changing stances without overextending himself, the relative lack of fundamentals in Dvalishvili’s shot will start to become very apparent.
Dvalishvili will only become easier to hit as the damage builds up. There’s no way to get past the cardio of plenty of hard tears in the legs, midsection, and face.
Main wins: Jose Aldo (UFC 278), Marlon Moraes (UFC 266), Cody Stamann (UFC Vegas 25), Casey Kenney (UFC Fight Night 167), Brad Katona (UFC Fight Night 151)
Key losses: Ricky Simon (UFC Fight Night 128), Frankie Saenz (UFC Fight Night 123)
Keys to Victory: Dvalishvili is an agent of chaos. He attacks with wild kicks, spinning punches and big swings. He’ll knock his opponent down and let them go up, just so he can land a few strikes and another big slam takedown. Once he traps his opponent in his fighting style, it is very difficult to break his form.
Dvalishvili needs to earn Yan’s respect here. If he can score a takedown right away that would be great, but even that might not be enough. Realistically, Dvalishvili needs to land a punch that gets Yan noticed, even if it doesn’t necessarily stun the former champion.
Like Sterling did, Dvalishvili would be wise to mix up his offense. Hitting the body against Yan’s famous high guard is always a good idea. Any missed takedowns should be considered an opportunity to score with a punch or a knee during the break. If Yan intends to walk straight towards Dvalishvili, front kicks could be a good weapon even if Dvalishvili is a bit shorter.
If Dvalishvili lands enough for Yan to start reacting to his punches, the takedown will be so much easier.
Only one man leaves this fight still in contention for the title.
Yan’s performance is stronger than his recent results suggest…but results still matter. If he fails here in any way, he is effectively kicked out of the title picture. No excuses will matter: no disqualification or bad decision from the judges will erase a three-game losing streak. Yan would have to go on a serious winning streak to get back into the mix, when currently a strong performance tonight could put him in a strong position.
As for Dvalishvili, an eight-fight winning streak is usually enough to earn a title shot. Until Sterling leaves the division or loses the belt, he has no chance of becoming champion. All he can do is keep winning and make sure he’s in a great position when one of those two events happens.
At UFC Las Vegas, Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili will go to war in the main event. Which man will come out of the cage with his hand raised?
remember that MMAmania.com will provide live, round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Las Vegas fight card right herestarting with the ESPN+ “Preliminary” matches, which are due to start at 3 p.m. ET, then the remaining balance on the main card (also on ESPN+) at 6 p.m. ET.
For all the latest and greatest news and notes from UFC Las Vegas: ‘Yan vs. Dvalishvili’, be sure to check out our comprehensive event archive. here.
#UFC #Las #Vegas #Clash #Yan #Dvalishvili