UFC Las Vegas: Yan vs. Dvalishvili Main Event Prediction
UFC LAS VEGAS: YAN VS. DVALISHVILI MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – The UFC’s bantamweight division is the best it’s ever been with an abundance of talent and high level fights being made seemingly on a monthly basis. This weekend is no different.
Petr Yan tries to buck the trend of his 1-3 run over his last four fights this weekend.
Merab Dvalishvili tries to solidify himself as top three bantamweight by defeating another former champion, one that is likely closer to his prime than his previous opponent, Jose Aldo.
We cashed some tickets at the historic UFC 285 last week. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the bantamweight battle at UFC Las Vegas.
Can Yan reclaim the success and respect of his run to the title? Or will Dvalishvili break through and earn the biggest victory of his career? We have you covered for how these blistering bantamweights match up and if there is any bet-worthy options for this fight, read on!
I was well-aware of Yan’s greatness even before he made his UFC debut back in 2018. He was the reigning ACB bantamweight champion (one of the more notable Russian MMA promotions) and had avenged his only loss.
A feared striker, Yan had showcased a high level wrestling game that he was able to lean on if he felt fights were playing out too closely on the feet. It took him six dominant performances to earn a title shot, which he made good on by demolishing former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo.
Yan’s Striking Approach
When performing at a high level, Yan is hyper focused with his calculated striking approach.
Some have criticized his lack of output at times, but he makes up for it with big power and landing knockdowns. He throws in solid combinations and carries an endless gas tank so he can stalk you for the entirety of the fight, never letting you off the hook.
His wrestling game is elite and he has destructive power from the top position when he can assert a dominant position.
Yan’s True Losses
His only true losses were his last two fights against Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley.
Even those have been marred in controversy considering many believe they were bad decisions. The root cause of this at times was the aforementioned low output style.
If Yan can turn it up a little more, he will surely be able to hurt his opponents more often and make it look better for the judges for fights that reach the scorecards. He also just turned 30. He has plenty of years left to compete at a high level. I don’t expect him to let these recent losses deter him at all.
After starting his UFC career 0-2, Dvalishvili has absolutely turned the tide of his career by going on a eight fight winning streak and now positioning himself just outside of the top three.
Unfortunately for him, his best friend is the current belt holder and they have long stated they would never fight each other. The rumor is that Dvalishvili will eventually go down a division if he seeks gold and if he continues to get his hand raised. With a win this weekend, he ties his championship-holding teammate, Aljamain Sterling, for the longest winning streak in the bantamweight division (8).
Dvalishvili is a unicorn in the sense that no one has been able to replicate his style.
He is all offense, all the time, with an endless gas tank to fuel a high activity approach.
In 10 UFC fights, he is already 10th all time in the UFC with most takedowns landed (63). He does hold the record for most takedowns amongst bantamweights with 50.
That is his style. He takes you down and, although he isn’t the greatest at holding you down, he can continuously get you to that position. He doesn’t hold many finishes on his UFC record because he just looks to overwhelm you rather than putting you away.
Questions on the Striking Game
The striking game of Dvalishvili can use a little work at times as he leaves plenty of openings for his opponents to counter him.
Luckily he has a brick of a head and has been able to eat all the shots his opponents put on him. His main goal is to crash the pocket and get in on your hips.
Even when he can’t take you down, like he was unable to against Aldo on 16 takedown attempts, he is still very high volume and can keep his opponents on their heels fearing for the inevitable takedown that is coming their way.
It’s always hard to pick against the high output and volume style of Dvalishvili, especially at underdog odds.
However, the technical mistakes he makes will catch up to him against high level opponents. That is what he faces this weekend in Petr Yan.
I backed Aldo against Dvalishvili knowing he would be able to stop the takedowns, but I overestimated Aldo’s willingness to throw. It seemed as though Dvalishvili muzzled him and Aldo was just fearful of the takedowns that were going to come his way if he started opening up.
I don’t have that fear with Yan. I am certain he will stuff the majority of takedowns coming his way. He will work back to his feet rapidly if he is taken down, and he will exploit the shortcomings of Dvalishvili’s striking game.
This will open up plenty of knockout opportunities for Yan or, at worst, knockdown opportunities that will sway the judges his way over the control time that Dvalishvili will look to accrue.
It’s a little chalky, but I don’t mind the juice on Yan this weekend. Mix that in with a little of his inside the distance prop and the under and I think we can have ourselves a fruitful weekend.