The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns with a massive fight night that will include Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili in the main event. Both fighters have the same ambitions as the #2 and #3 in the division – to get a chance to fight for the belt again.
Here are our UFC Fight Night 221: Yan vs Dvalishvili predictions.
UFC Fight Night 221: Yan vs Dvalishvili Predictions
Petr Yan Preview
Petr is a 29-year-old fighter from Russia. He made his UFC debut in June 2018 against Teruto Ishihara, whom he knocked out in the 1st round. In total, in the UFC, Yan had 11 fights: 8 won, 3 lost.
In July 2020, Petr, who was on a series of 6 victories in the UFC, became the main contender in the fight for the vacant belt. His opponent was José Aldo. Yan won by TKO in the 5th round and became the new champion.
Petr made his first title defense in March 2021. The challenger was Aljamain Sterling. Yan dominated during the meeting, but broke through an illegal knee strike, he was disqualified, and Sterling became the new UFC champion.
Petr then got a rematch in April 2022 against Aljamain Sterling. Yan lost by unanimous decision.
Petr Yan is a master of sports in boxing, intensively engaged in Muay Thai. Because of this, he is most dangerous on his feet. Peter does a lot of work, hitting precise and fast combinations. In addition, the champion works well in the clinch, where he delivers dangerous punches. I note that the Russian is distinguished by aggressive pressing, good stamina, and knockout power.
I note the good protection against takedowns from Petr. He stands firmly on his feet and keeps his balance well, making it very difficult to bring him to the ground.
Yan has practically no flaws. The only thing to note is that he lacks footwork and mobility, because of which his defense suffers. Letting his opponent run wild at the start of the fight, he misses a little more than necessary. Also, Petr has practically no protection against low kicks.
Merab Dvalishvili Preview
Merab is a 31-year-old fighter from Georgia. His UFC debut came in 2017 against Frankie Saenz, whom Dvalishvili lost via split decision. It was not possible to quickly close the defeat, because, in the 2nd fight in the UFC, Merab was strangled by Ricky Simon. This was Dvalishvili's last defeat. After losing to Simon, Merab went on a streak of 7 victories in a row.
The whole gameplay of Merab is based on the control of opponents on the ground and in the clinch. Thanks to his impressive physical strength, he is able to carry out spectacular amplitude throws.
The Georgian has a rudimentary stance. He has an awkward punching technique, he hits inaccurately, and punches do not deal damage. The only one he was able to shake was Marlon Moraes, known for falling from the jab. Trying to quickly close the distance, Merab forgets about defense, which is why he misses a lot of punches. In the fight with Moraes, this movement technique led to the fact that Dvalishvili flew into a knockdown and miraculously survived under a hail of blows from the Brazilian.
Yan vs Dvalishvili Prediction
A year ago, I would have considered Petr the undisputed favorite. He was then clearly at the peak of his form and could run over any opponent in a tactical 25-minute bout. Now, like many others, we are worried about the endurance of Yan, who is unlikely to be able to stylistically repeat the 1st or 2nd fight with Sterling without obvious drawdowns. But Merab still does not inspire confidence. He beat the slow and tired Aldo and the merged Morais, but the levels of these fighters definitely should not be compared with the preparation of Yan.
In addition, even Dana White criticized the fight between Dvalishvili and Aldo, saying that neither one nor the other showed proper resistance. And I have no doubt, as soon as the technical base of the Georgian exhausts itself, he will start to panic and make a lot of mistakes.
As aggressive as Merab is, he will definitely not be able to knock out Jan in the first 15 minutes of the fight. And the Russian will definitely spend this time on searching for a suitable moment to strike when his opponent is already tired and not focused. We expect a long fight and potentially a win for Petr Yan.