Merab Dvalishvili Determined to ‘Prove His Striking’ Against Sean O’Malley: ‘I’m Going to Punch’

Dvalishvili knows he has the wrestling, but he plans on showing off his stand-up game against 'Sugar' later this year.

Merab Dvalishvili
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Merab Dvalishvili plans to test out his striking skills against Sean O’Malley—or so he says. 

With a big unanimous decision victory over former two-division titleholder Henry Cejudo at UFC 298, ‘The Machine’ extended his unbeaten streak to 10 and, more importantly, solidified himself as the next man in line to challenge for the bantamweight world title, currently held by reigning champion ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley. 

Offering some insight into his game plan, the top-ranked contender suggested that he intends to stand and bang with O’Malley rather than relying on the wrestling skills that carried him to his first title opportunity. 

“This is my dream fight and the perfect time to fight him,” Dvalishvili said on the “Believe You Me” podcast with Anthony Smith and Michael Bisping. “What’s going to happen is now I’m going to show everybody my striking. Yeah, I have wrestling, but now I want to prove my striking. And I want to go punch his face because he thinks I’m going to wrestle him. No, I’m going to punch.”

Smith and Bisping immediately called bullsh*t on Dvalishvili’s claim.

“I don’t believe you,” Smith replied before Bisping added, “Merab, you are full of sh*t.” 

Merab Dvalishvili Offers a More Realistic Game Plan for His Fight with Sean O’Malley

After being called out by ‘Lionheart’ and the UFC Hall of Famer, Dvalishvili gave a much more realistic answer, acknowledging that to defeat O’Malley, he will likely have to do it with his wrestling.

“Stylistically, I have to beat him wrestling, good cardio, close the distance, and clinch,” Dvalishvili continued. “I have to respect his striking, but I believe in myself. I respect all my opponents, especially him. He is the champion, he has the confidence, he has the reach, he has experience, he has knockout power, he has good technique, a good coach, but I have to beat his coach too.”

No official announcements have been made, but all signs point toward O’Malley vs. Dvalishvili going down this September when the UFC heads to Sphere in Las Vegas for an event unlike any other in combat sports history. 
Watch the full episode below:
Published on July 10, 2024 at 3:38 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