Merab Dvalishvili Dominates Combat Sambo Tournament, Takes Home Gold on Short Notice

While waiting for his first shot at bantamweight gold, 'The Machine' took home the top prize at the U.S. National Combat Sambo Championship in Texas

Merab Dvalishvili
Courtesy of @merab.dvalishvili on Instagram

Merab Dvalishvili is staying busy while he waits for his first UFC bantamweight title opportunity. 

Following a big win over former two-division champion Henry Cejudo in February, ‘The Machine’ expects his next challenge to come against reigning 135-pound king, ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley. When and where that fight takes place remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Dvalishvili is more than happy to continue kicking ass and taking gold elsewhere. 

Recently, Dvalishvili took to social media, revealing that he had entered the U.S. National Combat Sambo Tournament in Denton, Texas. There, he went on to dominate the competition, taking home the top prize. 

“Hungry for competition! Took a short notice opportunity and competed in Texas,” Dvalishvilie wrote on X. “Took home GOLD for the U.S. National Combat Sambo Tournament”

Merab Dvalishvili Will Be Sean O’Malley’s Toughest Test Yet

While Dvalishvili has been killing it in Sambo competitions, Sean O’Malley has been leveling up his game for what will undoubtedly be the toughest test of his mixed martial arts career.

After claiming the bantamweight belt with a stellar second-round KO of Aljamain Sterling last August, ‘Sugar’ returned at UFC 299 to defend his belt against the only man to have handed him a loss inside the Octagon, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. Through five rounds, O’Malley dominated the Ecuadorian, running away with all three scorecards and b bagging his first successful defense. 

Following the win, O’Malley called for a champion vs. champion clash with new featherweight titleholder Ilia Topuria. ‘Sugar’ was immediately met with backlash from fight fans, accusing the Helena, Montana native of ducking the next man in line at 135.

“A lot of people said I’m ducking him—I just really am not ducking that little dude,” O’Malley said on an episode of his TimboSugarShow podcast. “I like the fight for me. There’s multiple ways to win. I’m excited about the fight now, finally. I was never ducking him, I was just never excited to fight him. He’s just such a, I don’t know — now, is it the right time?

“Like the ‘Chito’ rematch, the time will come where it’s the right time to fight certain people. Merab’s next, and be careful what you wish for, buddy.”

Published on June 24, 2024 at 7:59 pm
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