UFC’s Merab Dvalishvili Details Why He Doesn’t ‘Chase The Finish’ In Fights Anymore

Dvalishvili changed up his fighting style after going 0-2 in the UFC.

Merab Ufc
(via @merab.dvalishvili - Instagram)

Merab Dvalishvili is a decision machine, but he wasn’t always that way.

Years before he emerged as the #1 UFC bantamweight contender, Dvalishvili was racking up a few finishes and wins on the regional scene, earning his shot in the big show with a 15-second KO of Bellator Champion Raufeon Stots. Though, the whole game changed for Dvalishvili when he stepped into the Octagon in 2017.

Dvalishvili’s Old Fighting Style – And How It Cost Him

Dvalishvili lost his UFC debut by split decision to Frankie Saenz, blaming the loss on an illness, but it wasn’t until his second fight against Ricky Simon in 2018 that really changed his career trajectory. Dvalishvili was largely dominating Simon across three rounds…. until he wasn’t.

“My second fight, I was [facing] very tough guy Ricky Simon,” Dvalishvili said on ‘Raw Talk‘. “He was good everywhere, and I was trying to finish him and then I was going and going and punching him, and then, I even dropped him, [tried to] knock him out. I tried some submission. Nothing was working, but I was winning the fight.

“It was 1 minute left and I take him down, I make him [go to a] decision. I’m going to take him down and finish on top. And when I lift and when I jump, I hit my head to the floor. I knocked myself out, and at that time, he grabbed my neck and tried to choke me out on top. I don’t tap, I don’t sleep. I was still fighting, but referee say, ‘Oh, he was in and out [of consciousness]’. They give him technical TKO or something.”

From Then On, Dvalishvili Decided Not To ‘Chase The Finish’

Dvalishvili TECHNICALLY survived to hear the final bell for the three-round fight, but referee Liam Kerrigan decided to award Simon the technical submission stoppage due to Dvalishvili apparently going to sleep inside Simon’s guillotine choke and then waking up later on. Moral of the story for Merab? Don’t go for broke and play it safe.

“After that, I make decision, like, you know what? I’m gonna take people down and I’m gonna have fun with it. I’m not gonna chase the finish, and I’m not going to risk. After that, I became more smart fighter. Before, I used to be wild, but now, I play with my opponents.”

If Merab Dvalishvili hadn’t chased the finish against Ricky Simon in round 3, he likely would’ve been on a 11-fight win streak and wouldn’t have waited so long for his UFC title shot. Though, losses tend to teach more than wins and Dvalishvili’s lesson from the Simon fight definitely helped him bag nine unanimous decision wins against some of the best fighters in the division.

“The Machine’s” first and only UFC finish was a TKO victory over Marlon Moraes in 2021 – a wild fight which almost saw Dvalishvili get knocked out multiple times, had it not been for his incredible recovery time and endurance.

Want to know more about how UFC stars changed up their fighting styles? Read how UFC ‘Wrassler’ Ben Askren’s Striking Game Went ‘Down The Drain’ here.

Published on June 11, 2024 at 8:38 pm
Stay up-to-date with the latest MMA news, rumors, and updates by following the RED Monster on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, don't forget to add MiddleEasy to your Google News feed Follow us on Google News for even more coverage.


Leave a Comment