It’s fireworks this weekend as former UFC bantamweight champion Petr “No Mercy” Yan looks to re-enter the win column against Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili. Interactions between the two ranked fighters have been strained, culminating in an altercation that took place at their ceremonial weigh-in face-offs on March 10.
Yan shook things up by giving Dvalishvili a sharp shove to the collar, in response to some insulting remarks that were directed at him. They were quickly separated by event officials, and Dvalishvili pretended to chase Yan backstage before turning around and defusing the situation.
‘He’s Not a Great Human’ Merab Dvalishvili Comments on Petr Yan
Dvalishvili told MMA Junkie: “It’s personal, as we all know, he’s from Russia and I am from Georgia,” Dvalishvili mentions the Russian/Ukrainian war as a source of tension in his fight with Yan. “Petr is a good fighter, he’s a former champion, we all know [he’s the best]. [He’s a great fighter], he’s dangerous, and [he doesn’t have holes] anywhere; he’s a good striker; he defends wrestling good; his cardio is good; this is my toughest fight.”
Dvalishvili continued: “He’s not a humble guy, and he’s not [a great human]. But it doesn’t matter how good a fighter you are; you have to be a good person; you have to treat [people well]. I just want to be a good man [and to give] a good example for other people.
He is a cheater, you know, he was champion, he [didn’t know the rules] and then he disrespects [Aljamain Sterling]. And he didn’t use his platform when he was champion; he wasn’t doing great things, [he wasn’t doing any charity work]. I don’t think he’s a good guy.”
‘He Fights Like a Dog’ Petr Yan Slates Merab Dvalishvili
“In all his fights [everything he does is like a dog], you know? Take a leg and push the opponents to the cage, so he’s just trying to [get] a little attention with something else.” Yan remarks about Dvashvili’s inability to promote the fight with his in-cage performances, during an interview with MMAFighting, “[nobody] is interested in him”.
“You always want to finish the fight early, you don’t want to leave it in the hands of the judges,” Yan alludes to his most recent loss to Sean O’Malley.
One thing is certain: the tension and animosity in this matchup of top bantamweights is palpable. A win for either man would propel them into title contention as a possible challenger for Aljamain Sterling, who is expected to fight either Henry Cejudo or Sean O’Malley later this year.
Petr Yan vs Merab Dvalishvili: Start Time & Bout Order
- Prelims: 15:00 p.m. Et
- Main Card: 18:00 p.m. Et
- Welterweight – Carlston Harris vs Jared Gooden
- Flyweight – Tyson Nam vs Bruno Silva
- Women’s Flyweight – Ariane Lipski vs JJ Aldritch
- Bantamweight – Victor Henry vs Tony Gravely
- Bantamweight – Mario Bautista vs Guido Cannetti
- Middleweight – Sedriques Dumas vs Josh Fremd
- Bantamweight – Raphael Assuncao vs Davey Grant
- Heavyweight – Karl Williams vs Lukasz Brzeski
- Main Card
- Light Heavyweight – Vitor Petrino vs Anton Turkalj
- Bantamweight – Said Nurmagomedov vs Jonathan Martinez
- Catchweight – Nikita Krylov vs Ryan Spann
- Heavyweight Co-Main – Alexander Volkov vs Alexander Romanov
- Bantamweight Main Event – Petr Yan vs Merab Dvalishvili