Merab Dvalishvili decisions Jose Aldo at UFC 278 to continue winning streak

Former featherweight kingpin and currently No. 3 ranked bantamweight Jose Aldo faced No. 6 ranked Merab Dvalishvili on the UFC 278 main card on Saturday.

The fight between the Brazilian legend and the rising Georgian had major implications in the UFC’s 135-pound title picture.

Dvalishvili looked to get the fight to the ground early but Aldo shook off the attempt. Aldo defended a second takedown attempt. Dvalishvili used punches to close the distance again but was unable to get Aldo to the ground. Dvalishvili had more output than Aldo in the first round, but Aldo finished the frame strong with a flurry at the end.

Dvalishvili continued to look for takedowns in the second round and Aldo continued to defend them. Dvalishvili delivered knees to Aldo’s legs in the clinch position. Once they separated, Aldo went on the offensive. Before long, Dvalishvili went back to trying to get Aldo to the ground. Dvalishvili spend most of the round pressing Aldo against the cage.

Dvalishvili immediately closed the distance but Aldo defended the takedown attempt to start the final round. Dvalishvili connected with a right hand. Aldo delivered a knee to the body, but Dvalishvili continued to press forward. Dvalishvili landed a combination midway through the round. Aldo was unable to put together any effective offense. Late in the round Dvalishvili finally got Aldo to the ground, but Aldo immediately got back to his feet. Dvalishvili didn’t let Aldo free and finished the round delivering knees to Aldo’s legs inside the clinch.

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The fight went the distance and the judges scored the fight for Dvalishvili by unanimous decision. The scorecards read 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.

“Oh my God. This is a dream,” Dvalishvili said after the biggest win of his career.

With the win, Dvalishvili seems to be on a collision course with training partner and champion Aljamain Sterling. He credited Sterling for his success and said the two will not fight each other.

“I am on a seven-fight winning streak because of Aljo,” Dvalishvili said. “We are not fighting each other. We are brothers.”