Georgia’s Merab Dvalishvili won against former bantamweight champion, Russia’s Petr Yan, over the course of five rounds in the main event of the UFC Las Vegas gala. Afterwards, the fighter expressed his support for Georgia, Ukraine, freedom and peace.
Throughout the course of the bout, Dvalishvili attempted an astounding 48 takedowns, breaking the previous record. The Georgian fighter celebrated the biggest victory of his career after the judges’ 50-45 decision in his favor.
#Georgian fighter Merab #Dvalishvili, after defeating Russian fighter Petr Yan, called for an end to the war. pic.twitter.com/HfY3WVpq4F
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 12, 2023
Petr Yan was unable to successfully position his attacks because of Dvalishvili’s strategy of relentlessly pursuing takedowns. The odds of Yan making a comeback were limited with five minutes left in the last round, and Dvalishvili kept moving forward, punching and attempting takedowns.
What a symbolic victory! Georgian professional MMA @MerabDvalishvil defeats the Russian rival at @ufc. Dvalishvili tattooed 🇬🇪 on his chest after being denied to bring 🇬🇪 flag to the octagon. He supported recent protests in #Tbilisi emphasizing that Georgia’s future is in Europe. pic.twitter.com/q0rwB4vs2o
— Katie Shoshiashvili (@KShoshiashvili) March 12, 2023 –
Dvalishvili’s victory is also a symbolic win against Russia, as Moscow is constantly trying to take over Ukraine by force and destabilize a number of surrounding countries, including Georgia.
The Georgian fighter made it plain that he would not compete for the championship while his buddy Aljamain Sterling is still the current UFC bantamweight champion. Instead, he hopes to hold off on challenging for the title until Sterling advances to a higher weight class.