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Petr Yan gets dominated by Merab Dvalishvili at UFC Fight Night in Vegas

Merab Dvalishvili is referred to as "The Machine" for a reason.

At UFC Fight Night inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels on Saturday, Dvalishvili (16-4) defeated former champion Petr Yan (16-5) by unanimous decision after dominating the fight for five rounds. This was the greatest victory of his career. Dvalishvili, who started as a 2-1 betting outsider, won the 135-pound contest 50-45 on the unanimous decision of the three judges.

In winning, the Georgian bantamweight put on a legendary display. In total, he attempted 49 takedowns, breaking the previous mark of 33 held by former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in 2012. Of those, 11 were successful. UFC Stats show that Dvalishvili also connected with 202 of 401 total punches, as opposed to Yan's 87 of 155.

"I said before -- it was personal for me," Dvalishvili said. "I tried to keep it professional. My team was telling me that I was taking this fight different. Thank God, I did professional. He called me a zero. Who's the zero now?"

There was clearly bad blood between the two all fight week. Dvalishvili made a point to voice out against Russia's ongoing conflict with Ukraine. He has a tattoo of the Georgian flag on his chest as a result of the UFC recently banning fighters from entering the Octagon while carrying their national flag. Yan flees Yekaterinburg, a region in Russia.

A sizable audience of Georgian supporters attended Dvalishvili's performance on Saturday and delighted in his victory over a former UFC champion and contender in the pound-for-pound category.

"I am so proud, thank you all Georgians who came here and watching from home," Dvalishvili said. "We are only five million, but we are strong. I'm so happy to be here and represent my country."

What Dvalishvili's victory on Saturday means is less certain. Aljamain Sterling, the reigning champion, and Merab are close friends and training partners. Sterling beat Yan twice in their rivalry between 2021 and 2022. The two friends, who compete under the names Ray Longo and Matt Serra, have made it plain that they will not engage in a bout, even if a belt is at stake.


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