Chael Sonnen is putting in his pick for the upcoming bout between Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili.
The UFC bantamweight division is beginning to heat up as the top five fighters of the division are searching for title shots. There is a proposed title fight heading to the Octagon later this year and now the possible contenders are all looking to get their ducks in a row. Two men who make a very good case for title shots are the two men involved in the UFC on ESPN+ 79 main event. Depending on the outcome of Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo, either Petr Yan or Merab Dvalishvili could be next for the champ with a win on Saturday night.
On paper, this is a very tough matchup for both men. Yan is a former champion who is currently ranked number two in the division, while Dvalishvili is ranked number three. Chael Sonnen took to his YouTube channel to discuss this bout and who he sees winning.
Chael Sonnen sees Petr Yan vs. Merab Dvalishvili playing out much like Dvalishvili vs. Jose Aldo
Sonnen is taking a look at this bantamweight title contender fight. He takes to YouTube weekly to break down fights and give his two cents. In looking at the track record and tendencies of Yan, he thinks Dvalishvili may have the advantage on the ground, much like he did in his last fight, the only difference is getting Yan to the mat can be difficult.
“Merab basically just thought Petr Yan, he did in the form of Jose Aldo,” he said. “Before you tell me that Petr Yan is better standing up it doesn’t matter, Merab didn’t stand up with Jose Aldo, doesn’t matter if Yan is better at standing up. Merab thought Jose’s was more than he could deal with. So if Yan is better, which only means he’s going to do the same thing which is push him into the fence, try to get below his waist, try to pick him up, and try to bring him down to the campus. You want to know who’s hard to take down? Jose Aldo, you want to know who else is hard to take down? Peter Yan. I’m telling you guys it’s the same fight.”
Dvalishvili’s last bout was a unanimous win over Jose Aldo. He dominated the ground game and used his wrestling to get past the former champ. Sonnen thinks the same game plan will be successful against Yan and therefore has Dvalishvili winning.
“I’m taking Merab and there is a but with Merab, because Merab is very good, Merab is very skilled, Merab is very disciplined, Merab is very gritty, none of those things are the spotlight. Nowhere in Petr Yan’s camp has he thought about any of those things,” he said. “The thing you look at when you’re dealing with him, he goes so damn hard. That’s the thing. If you were Jose Aldo in his last fight if you’re studying Merab and what you got to be ready for and what you got to deal with is a guy who is in shape and he is going to be coming at you so hard, harder than anyone you’ve ever faced.”
Petr Yan vs. Merab Dvalishvili goes down on Saturday, March 11 live from the APEX Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The winner can make a great case for a title shot next, however, if Sterling wins that may negate both of these men. Yan has fought Sterling twice already and Dvalishvili is a good friend of his. If Cejudo wins it could be a perfect fit for both.