Merab Dvalishvili overwhelms Petr Yan in UFC Fight Night main event

A massive fight in the bantamweight division between former two-time champion Petr Yan and No. 3 ranked Merab Dvalishvili headlined Saturday’s UFC Fight Night.

Yan was looking to rebound after back-to-back split decision losses. Dvalishvili entered the fight riding an eight-fight winning streak with his eyes on championship opportunity.

Dvalishvili quickly looked to get the fight to the ground, but Yan defended the first two attempts. Yan delivered leg kicks and repeatedly shook off takedowns. Dvalishvili kept an unbelievable pace in the opening round. Late in the frame, Yan tried to take Dvalishvili down but ended up on the bottom. He got to his feet and the round closed with Dvalishvili doing work with Yan against the cage.

Yan pressed forward to start the second. He quickly found himself defending a takedown attempt from Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili connected with a leg kick that seemed to hurt Yan. Dvalishvili changed levels and put Yan on his back for the first time in the fight. Yan quickly got back to his feet. He caught a kick and put Dvalishvili on the canvas but couldn’t keep him there. In the closing minute, Dvalishvili scored a takedown. The round ended with Yan on top of Dvalishvili.

They exchanged leg kicks to start the third. Dvalishvili continued to bring constant pressure. Over and over Dvalishvili looked to get the fight to the ground. Yan defended nearly all of them, but Dvalishvili didn’t giving Yan the space to mount an effective striking offense.

Heading into the fourth round, Yan was clearly down three rounds. Before long, he was in the clutches of Dvalishvili. They battled for position along the cage. They exchanged knees to the body and separated. Dvalishvili’s output continued to be high. He connected with a combination before working to get a takedown.

Dvalishvili entered the final round seemingly pitching a shutout. Yan needed a finish in order to win. Dvalishvili pressed forward with leg kicks. He’s not giving Yan time or space to do anything other than defend. He took Yan down several times, but Yan kept getting back up. Yan fought until the end, but it was a one-sided fight. All three judges scored it 50-45 for Dvalishvili.

“The Machine” extended his winning streak to nine consecutive fights. He could emerge as the top contender in the division during the next rankings cycle. For Yan, it was his third loss in a row.

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