This past Saturday night in the main event of UFC Las Vegas, we saw a big time matchup in the bantamweight division. Former champion Petr Yan (16-5) returned as he looked to get back in the win column against Merab Dvalishvili (16-4).
Entering Saturday night, the former champion had his back up against the wall. It’s been a bit of a tough stretch for Petr Yan. Back in March of 2021, Yan was dominating Aljamain Sterling and was well on his way to his first successful title defense. Then he hit Sterling with an illegal knee that caused him to lose the belt.
After winning an interim title against Cory Sandhagen, Yan was once again paired against Sterling. This bout would see Sterling win by split decision, however, there are many people who thought the fight should’ve been a draw and many scored it for Yan.
Then, there was the fight last August against Sean O’Malley. It goes without saying, Yan should’ve gotten the decision that night. Outside of two judges and one media member, I don’t know anyone who scored that fight for O’Malley. Nevertheless, the former UFC champion suffered another split decision loss.
Entering Saturday, he said he didn’t want to leave it to the judges. He wanted to make a statement. Well, a statement was made, it was just made by Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili completely dominated Yan over the course of five rounds to win a sweeping 50-45 decision.
What’s next for the former UFC champion?
Yan’s previous two losses given the manner he lost really didn’t hurt his momentum. However, this one is going to be one that stings. He was dominated from the opening bell by a guy that many believe he should’ve defeated.
Now, he’s forced to look at a three-fight losing streak and figure out what’s next. Earlier today, I said that the winner of Chito Vera – Cory Sandhagen should fight Merab Dvalishvili. Honestly, the loser of that bout makes a lot of sense for Yan.
If it’s Vera, it’s a fresh fight for both men. If it’s Sandhagen, it’s a rematch between two of the very best in the world and I don’t think anyone would complain. This is the direction I think the UFC should go with the former champion opposed to him stepping back in competition.