What Happened Between Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili? Will We See a Potential Fight Between Bantamweight Stars Post UFC 292?

Published 08/18/2023, 3:29 PM EDT

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There is a rivalry brewing in UFC town, and it all started with a jacket. UFC 288 set in motion the clash between Sean O’Malley and Aljamain Sterling. While the showdown will headline the upcoming UFC 292, there is another thread to the story- the bubbling animosity between ‘Suga’ and Merab Dvalishvili

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The #1 and #2 ranked bantamweight fighters have been at each other’s throats ever since ‘The Machine’ laid claim to O’Malley’s MJ jacket. The amusing incident took place at UFC 288 after Sterling had just beaten Henry Cejudo. O’Malley then barged into the cage and, in the heat of a moment, handed over his MJ’s Thriller-themed jacket to Dvalishvili. What followed next was a series of back-and-forth exchanges and some hilarious sightings.

Merab Dvalishvili, Sean O’Malley, and the tussle of a jacket

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The visuals of Dvalishvili donning O’Malley’s jacket instantly went viral on the internet. An irked O’Malley turned to his X handle and called the Georgian fighter a “coat boy”. Previously, on ESPN’s post-show, he declared, “Merab’s just a little goofball. I don’t take that dude too serious.” However, Dvalishvili remained unfazed and even asked for a tip from the American fighter.

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Amidst the trash-talking between Sterling and O’Malley, the memories of the amusing incident had almost faded away. At least, that’s what O’Malley thought when he headed to the UFC 292 presser. Despite the star-studded lineup on the stage, it was Dvalishvili who stole the show, as he wore the same jacket.

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“The only reason anyone knows Merab’s name is because I handed him my jacket,” O’Malley announced. “That’s it.” But where do the sporadic attention-grabbing stunts and the digs lead?

Is all this leading to a clash in the future?

The bantamweight champion has made his intentions known to move up and try for a new challenge. ‘Funk Master’ and Dvalishvili share a close-knit bond, and both have declined to face each other despite being the champion and the number one contender.

via Imago

“After Merab’s next win, I will probably have to move up,” Sterling expressed. With the win against O’Malley, he will relinquish the title to have a crack at Alexander Volkanovski. Meanwhile, Dvalishvili will eagerly wait for a favorable decision to realize his dream. Further, only a win or two will separate O’Malley from a title shot if he fumbles the opportunity at UFC 292.

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Therefore, a fight between the two contenders close to the top is not a stretch, but a realistic probability. The only question that remains is when.

What do you make of this rivalry between the two bantamweight stars? Do you believe Sean O’Malley and Merab Dvalishvili will settle their differences in the Octagon? Let us know in the comments below.

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Watch this story: Jorge Masvidal Wins the Race Against Mike Tyson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Triple H to Become Dwayne Johnson’s Successor at UFC 291 for the BMF Title

 

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Written by:

Rohit Lohan

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Rohit Lohan is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports, with a passion for the sport that has spanned over a decade. His fascination with MMA stems from the thrill of knockouts, and he strives to bring that same level of excitement to his writing. Rohit's love for gripping stories is reflected in his articles, where he masterfully weaves together the latest news with compelling narratives.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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