UFC 298 Preview: Henry Cejudo – Merab Dvalishvili

MMA: UFC 249-Cejudo vs Cruz
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 298, we are going to see a title eliminator in the bantamweight division. Former two-division champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo (16-3) will look to bounce back as he takes on top contender Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (16-4).

Starting with Cejudo, he’s going to look to bounce back in this one. After retiring as champion in 2020, Cejudo returned last May to take on Aljamain Sterling for the bantamweight title. It was a very close fight and I leaned towards Cejudo but two judges gave the fight and the win to Sterling.

After the loss, Cejudo wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue or not. He decided to fight on and wanted to face Dvalishvili. However, Dvalishvili had a hand injury so Cejudo booked a fight with Chito Vera for August. Unfortunately, Cejudo injured his shoulder and also had to pull out. Now, we are getting the fight the UFC and both men wanted from the beginning.

Merab Dvalishvili has been the true definition of a machine over the past few years. He got off to a rocky start in the UFC losing his first two, but man has he turned the corner. Dvalishvili has won nine straight fights and his last two have been incredibly impressive. His last two wins came against former champions Jose Aldo and Petr Yan.

In both of those fights, Dvalishvili just suffocated both men with his relentless forward pressure and activity. He will look to break the will of another former champion tomorrow night.

UFC 298 Prediction

If you would’ve told me about this fight a few years ago, I would’ve laughed thinking Dvalishvili would beat Cejudo. However, after the past few years, there’s a clear reason as to why Dvalishvili is the sizable favorite entering tomorrow night’s matchup.

Cejudo is an Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling, however, Aljamain Sterling was able to get him down. Dvalishvili is a much better wrestler than Sterling and he’s much more suffocating with his pressures in trying to get takedowns. While he doesn’t have the most pop on his shots, he throws constantly and then he constantly mixes in takedowns.

He never lets his opponents get comfortable. Cejudo can neutralize a lot of the attacks from Dvalishvili, but I just don’t see him being able to get enough offense off in this one. I just think the pressure and volume is going to be too much for Triple C. I think Dvalishvili takes this one and as Cejudo mentioned this week, I think Dvalishvili sends Triple C into retirement at UFC 298.

Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Decision

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