BREAKING: Merab Dvalishvili Set to Take on a Former Title Challenger on September 25 at UFC 266

Published 06/15/2021, 11:15 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 14: Merab Dvalishvili of Georgia poses on the scale during the UFC 252 weigh-in at UFC APEX on August 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


Streaking UFC bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili will take on Marlon Moraes at UFC 266 on September 25. ‘The Machine’ called out for this fight and he’s on track to make a run towards the title. Dvalishvili is the number 10 ranked 135-pounder going against Moraes who comes in with the number 6 ranking.

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The news of the booking came through Dvalishvili’s coach, Ray Longo, on an appearance of the Anik and Florian podcast.

Details about a venue and location are currently unknown as UFC 266 is still being put together. Some marquee fights announced for the fight card include a title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira and Jessica Andrade vs Cynthia Calvillo.

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UFC 266: Marlon Moraes vs Merab Dvalishvili

‘Magic’ Moraes is currently undergoing the hardest stint in his professional career with a 1-3 record in his last four fights. Prior to the slump, he was on a 4-fight tear with sensational wins over top contenders in the bantamweight division. Ever since losing to Henry Cejudo for the 135-pound strap, things have only gone downhill for Moraes.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 11: (L-R) Cory Sandhagen kicks Marlon Moraes of Brazil in their bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After being violently TKO’ed in his last two outings, ‘Magic’ desperately needs a win. Facing a dominant force like Dvalishvili could be a recipe for disaster if he doesn’t come in with the right game plan. Dvalishvili isn’t known for his explosive striking, giving Marlon Moraes some amount of leeway on his feet.

Merab ‘The Machine’: Here to take over

Merab Dvalishvili is on a 6-fight win streak in the UFC. He bounced back from his early losses in the organization. ‘The Machine’ put forward a comprehensive beat down of Cody Stamann in his last fight, opening the door to fight Moraes. Facing a former title challenger is exactly what he needs right now heading into the territory of a title shot.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 15: (L-R) Merab Dvalishvili of Georgia punches John Dodson in their bantamweight bout during the UFC 252 event at UFC APEX on August 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The bantamweight division is crowded at the very top and the current hold-up with the title doesn’t help. Once Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan handle their business in a rematch, things are expected to clear up. After the dust settles, Merab Dvalishvili could be looking at a shot at gold if things fall into place.

Watch this story: Five Unkown Facts About the MMA GOAT Georges St-Pierre 

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Darryl Pinto

1760 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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