What’s next for Dominick Cruz after UFC 269?

Dominick Cruz

This past Saturday at UFC 269 Dominick Cruz (24-3) took on Pedro Munhoz (19-7, 1 NC) on the prelims. It was the second fight of the year for Dominick Cruz who was looking to inch his way back up the bantamweight ladder.

In the first round, Cruz was looking like vintage Cruz. The footwork looked sensational and he was beating Munhoz to the punch virtually the entire round. However, Munhoz completely changed everything with one shot.

Cruz darted in after landing a shot and ran right into a left straight from Munhoz. The shot put Cruz down and really hurt him badly. Munhoz would go on to drop Cruz again shortly after and the referee was close to stopping it.

However, the fight was allowed to continue and Cruz fought on. As the round progressed, Cruz got his legs back underneath him and looked solid. The rest of the fight was all Dominick Cruz.

The former UFC champion looked sensational in the second and third rounds. His combinations were on point and his speed was giving Munhoz a ton of problems. In the end, it was a lopsided decision win for Cruz.

What’s next after UFC 269?

This was a really big win for the former UFC champion. Dominick Cruz returned earlier this year and got a close decision win over Casey Kenney. However, he really didn’t look like himself in that fight.

He looked a lot like himself at UFC 269. In fact, you could say that he looked a lot like prime Dominick Cruz and prime Dominick Cruz can still be a factor near the top of the UFC’s bantamweight division.

So, with that, what does the promotion do with Cruz next. Well, I’ve seen some people suggest that he fight Cory Sandhagen next. However, I’m not a fan of that at all. I think Sandhagen – Font is a much better route to go.

For Cruz, I look right above him in the UFC rankings. The opponent I’m thinking is Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Merab has won seven fights in a row and he could use a fight with a former UFC champion.

For Cruz, he needs to beat someone like Merab who’s on a big winning streak and is proving to be a threat at 135. Whoever could win that fight would provide one half of a future title eliminator bout in 2022.

Marlon Moraes continued to fall at UFC 266

In the featured prelim at UFC 266, we saw a bantamweight matchup between “Magic” Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) and Merab Dvalishvili (14-4). Both of these men entered the contest going in completely opposite directions.

Dvalishvili was souring heading into UFC 266 and looked like he was ready to take the next step into serious title contention. Meanwhile, Marlon Moraes has been tail spinning ever since he lost to Henry Cejudo in a battle for the UFC bantamweight championship.

The fight on Saturday couldn’t have started better for Moraes. Moraes was lighting Dvalishvili up with powerful kicks and then he landed vicious shots that had Dvalishvili out on his feet. For a moment, it looked like a Moraes finish was in the bag.

However, Dvalishvili somehow survived and the fight continued at UFC 266. Once Moraes didn’t get the finish, you could actually see the desire and fight inside of him completely leave his body.

After nearly finishing Dvalishvili, Moraes almost got finished by Dvalishvili late in the first round. The rest of the fight was completely dominated by The Machine and Dvalishvili went on to score a second round TKO.

What’s next for Moraes after UFC 266?

Marlon Moraes lost his UFC debut to Raphael Assuncao (27-8). After that loss, he won four straight which included avenging that loss against Assuncao. He also knocked out Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera during that stretch.

Those four wins gave him a UFC title shot against Henry Cejudo. In that fight, Moraes dominated the opening round. However, when it became clear that Cejudo wasn’t going away, Moraes started to break.

Cejudo would go on to stop Moraes in the third round. After that, Moraes got a win over Jose Aldo, however, the majority people thought he lost. Then, he was knocked out in back-to-back fights by Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font.

Those losses led him to UFC 266. Again, Moraes started great, but broke when he couldn’t get the finish. There are spots in Moraes’ fights where he looks like one of the best in the world. However, if his first gameplan doesn’t work, he completely falls apart.

There’s so much talent there, but he’s becoming so predictable. If you can survive the onslaught early, you’re going to finish him more than likely. He has some real soul searching to do ahead of his next UFC fight.

In terms of what’s next, I’m honestly not sure. He’s dropped to tenth in the rankings and the only fight that I can think of that makes sense is Raphael Assuncao again. The two are 1-1 in their series and the trilogy makes a ton of sense.

Now, Assuncao is fighting Ricky Simon in December. Regardless of that result, I think Assuncao should be the fight for Moraes.

Merab Dvalishvili survives early scare to finish Marlon Moraes at UFC 266

In the featured prelim at UFC 266, we saw a big time matchup in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger and top contender Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) was trying to get track as he took on the surging Merab Dvalishvili (13-4).

Just a couple of years ago, Marlon Moraes was looked at as potentially the best bantamweight in the UFC. After submitting Raphael Assuncao in the first round at a Fight Night in 2019, Moraes got a title shot against Henry Cejudo.

After starting well in that fight, Moraes faded badly and it’s been all downhill sense. Cejudo would finish him and then Moraes would go 1-2 in his next three after with the one win being a very questionable decision. In the eyes of the public, Moraes had lost four straight coming into tonight.

While his career has gone down, Merab Dvalishvili’s career has surged. After losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has really taken off. The bantamweight from Georgia has won six fights in a row including wins over Casey Kenney, John Dodson, and Cody Stamann.

UFC 266 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 266 featured prelim kicked off with a touch of the gloves and a yell from Dvalishvili. Moraes started in the center with Dvalishvili bouncing on the outside. Dvalishvili lands a low kick to start his striking.

Moraes answers with a massive low kick that spins Dvalishvili. Another brutal kick from Moraes and that draws Dvalishvili to fire back. The two exchange big shots in the pocket and Dvalishvili lands a takedown.

Moraes defends well and gets back to his feet. Nice 1-2 from Dvalishvili. Huge right hand from Dvalishvili but Moraes seems very composed. Powerful left hook from Moraes stiffens up Dvalishvili briefly but he shakes it off.

Another brutal left hook and Dvalishvili looks out on his feet. Moraes is pouring it on here and Dvalishvili is wobbling all over the octagon. This fight looks very close to being stopped but Dvalishvili is somehow surviving.

Somehow Dvalishvili is going to survive and now you have to question the cardio of Moraes. Dvalishvili pushes Moraes against the fence and lands a takedown. Now it’s Dvalishvili who’s starting to work his ground and pound.

Big shots from Dvalishvili from the guard. Now it’s Dvalishvili who’s nearing a finish. My goodness what a round and I have now idea who should get it. Somehow, Dvalishvili might be up 1-0 at UFC 266.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 266 and all the momentum is with Dvalishvili. Moraes looks a little wobbly to start the second round and he doesn’t look confident at all. Huge right hand from Dvalishvili sits Moraes down.

Dvalishvili settles in the guard and he’s hurting Moraes badly on the ground. Big shots to the body and then he’s coming up top. It’s all Dvalishvili here in the second round. Brutal elbows from the guard from Dvalishvili and Moraes looks broken here.

More elbow from Dvalishvili and this fight looks like it’s going to get stopped. After Dvalishvili takes a little bit of a break, he goes right back to work with brutal elbows. Moraes is just laying there on the guard not doing much to defend.

Hammer fists from Dvalishvili and Moraes explodes to try and get back up. Moraes gets up and presses Dvalishvili up to the fence. However, Dvalishvili reverses and takes Moraes back to the ground.

Big shots from Dvalishvili and Moraes gets warned by the referee to defend himself. Moraes moves but is still taking more shots and this one is over. Merab Dvalishvili has finished Marlon Moraes at UFC 266.

Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes by TKO – Round 2

UFC 266 Preview: Marlon Moraes – Merab Dvalishvili

Saturday night in the featured prelim at UFC 266, we will see an incredible matchup in the bantamweight division. Former title challenger and top contender Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) will try to get back on track as he takes on the surging Merab Dvalishvili (13-4).

Just a couple of years ago, Marlon Moraes was looked at as potentially the best bantamweight in the UFC. After submitting Raphael Assuncao in the first round at a Fight Night in 2019, Moraes got a title shot against Henry Cejudo.

After starting well in that fight, Moraes faded badly and it’s been all downhill sense. Cejudo would finish him and then Moraes would go 1-2 in his next three after with the one win being a very questionable decision. In the eyes of the public, Moraes has lost four straight.

While his career has gone down, Merab Dvalishvili’s career has surged. After losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has really taken off. The bantamweight from Georgia has won six fights in a row including wins over Casey Kenney, John Dodson, and Cody Stamann.

UFC 266 Prediction

It is truly crazy how quick the narrative change change when it comes the UFC. If this fight was two years ago, I would’ve laughed at anyone saying that Dvalishvili would defeat Marlon Moraes.

Now, I’m almost finding myself on the complete opposite side. I really don’t know what to expect from Moraes right now. When he’s at his best, he’s fantastic. Incredible striking technique with good power in his hands and feet.

He also has very good grappling. Dvalishvili is going to bring a ton of energy into this fight and he won’t stop moving forward. I’m expecting a lot of takedown attempts from Merab in this fight.

Ultimately, I think the energy level of Dvalishvili is going to be the key at UFC 266. We’ve seen Moraes break a number of times and I think Dvalishvili’s suffocating style doesn’t match well with him. I think you’re going to see Dvalishvili take a big step forward on Saturday.

Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Unanimous Decision

After loss at UFC Vegas 25, what’s next for Cody Stamann?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 25, Cody Stamann (19-4-1) was tasked with trying to stop Merab Dvalishvili (13-4). Dvalishvili had won five fights in a row leading into Saturday and The Spartan was trying to stop that winning streak.

These two men were scheduled to fight a couple of times over the last year. However, the fight always fell through. But, at UFC Vegas 25, we finally got to see these two talented bantamweights go to war.

Stamann was looking to bounce back after a loss in his last outing. On the UFC‘s first trip to Fight Island, Stamann took on Jimmie Rivera. It was a huge fight for Stamann, but he came up just a bit short.

Stamann started out his UFC career going 3-0. However, since then he was 2-2-1 heading into Saturday night. Well, unfortunately for Stamann, he wasn’t able to turn away the storm that is Merab Dvalishvili.

While Stamann was the one stepping forward throughout the fight, there was just nonstop action from Dvalishvili on Saturday night. Stamann had moments including getting the better of the grappling a few times, but ultimately, Dvalishvili controlled the fight. Ultimately, Stamann dropped a unanimous decision which brings him to just 2-3-1 in his last six fights.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 25?

Despite the loss, Cody Stamann remains in the UFC’s top fifteen at bantamweight. With the updated rankings coming out today, Stamann clocks in at the thirteenth position which is where he was before Saturday night.

With Stamann still inside the top fifteen, what should the UFC do with him next? There is one fight that I love for Stamann and the bantamweight division. That is a matchup with Casey Kenney (16-3-1).

Kenney is coming off of a loss to Dominick Cruz back at UFC 259. That loss snapped a three-fight win streak. Since making his octagon debut back in 2019, the only two men to have defeated Kenney inside the octagon are Cruz and Dvalishvili.

Kenney and Stamann find themselves in a very similar position. I think the best move would be the pair them up against each other to see who the better prospect is. Given the way their last fights went, I think the UFC could make this fight sooner than later.

After another win at UFC Vegas 25, what’s next for Merab Dvalishvili?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 25, a good bantamweight contest kicked off the main card. Merab Dvalishvili (13-4) took on Cody Stamann (19-4-1). These two were paired up twice before, but the fight fell through both times.

Finally, at UFC Vegas 25 we saw the two of them go head-to-head. Stamann was looking to bounce back after just his second loss in the octagon. Dvalishvili on the other hand was looking to pick up his sixth straight win in the UFC.

When Dvalishvili made his octagon debut a few years ago, it didn’t start well. Dvalishvili lost his first two fights inside the octagon. However, since that second loss, Dvalishvili has completely turned things around.

Dvalishvili pushes a pace that very few can match and he’s showing that he can be a handful in the UFC‘s bantamweight division. I was so intrigued by the grappling of these two considering how good of wrestlers they both are.

Throughout the fight, we saw the wrestling of each man cancel the other out at times. However, Dvalishvili was still able to get Stamann down several times. He had issues keeping him on the ground, but he was relentless with his attacks.

The activity, the pressure, and the pace that Dvalishvili is a problem for all UFC bantamweights. In the end, Dvalishvili walked away with the unanimous decision victory and now he’s won six straight.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 25?

The UFC rankings just updated and Dvalishvili moved up to the eleventh spot in the rankings. Having won six in a row, it’s a tad surprising he didn’t crack the top ten, but he’s right there.

So, what should the UFC do with him next? Well, I really like a potential matchup between Dvalishvili and Pedro Munhoz (19-5, 1 NC). Munhoz just defeated Jimmie Rivera back in February which snapped a two-fight losing streak.

He’s currently ranked eighth in the UFC’s bantamweight division and he needs a quality next opponent. A matchup between Dvalishvili and Munhoz would really tell you a lot about both men.

Considering their spots, whoever would win a potential matchup between the two would be in a great position at 135. Perhaps a top five opponent would be waiting the winner. Dvalishvili needs a step up in competition, and I think Pedro Munhoz is it.

UFC Vegas 25 Results: Merab Dvalishvili defeats Cody Stamann by decision

One of the more highly anticipated matchups at UFC Vegas 25 was the bantamweight showdown between Cody Stamann (19-3-1) and Merab Dvalishvili (12-4). These two top bantamweights have been paired up before, but this is the first time that the fight actually went down.

Stamann was looking to bounce back after he suffered defeat in his last fight. He took on Jimmie Rivera during the UFC‘s first trip to Fight Island. Since that loss, we haven’t seen Stamann inside the octagon.

Stamann made his octagon debut back in 2017. Since joining the UFC a few years ago the only two men to have defeated Stamann are Rivera and the current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling is one of the lead training partners of Merab Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili got off to a rough start in the UFC losing his first two. However, a switch has been flipped with the native of Georgia.

Dvalishvili has now won his last five fights in the UFC. If he could pick up a win over Stamann tonight, it would likely net him someone in the top ten for his next matchup. There was a lot on the line for both men tonight.

UFC Vegas 25 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 25 main card opener started off with a quick touch of the gloves and immediate pressure from Stamann. A beautiful head kick lands for Stamann to start the striking.

Dvalishvili opens his striking with a big 1-2 and then he connects big with an uppercut. Stamann throws another kick, but Dvalishvili catches it and takes Stamann down. Dvalishvili was heavy on the pressure, but Stamann was able to get back to his feet.

More pressure for Stamann who shoots in for his first takedown. Dvalishvili just shrugs him off, but Stamann goes right back in for a takedown. Again, Dvalishvili defends well and Stamann throws some shots on the break.

Dvalishvili lands a brief takedown, but Stamann pops right back up. A nice jab lands for Dvalishvili, but Stamann staggers him with a big straight right hand. A beautiful 1-2 lands for Merab Dvalishvili.

Straight right hand lands for Dvalishvili and then again. Stamann was heavy on the pressure and Dvalishvili lands a brief takedown. A nice scramble to end the right has Stamann on top. Good round but it’s 1-0 Dvalishvili at UFC Vegas 25.

Round 2

The second round at UFC Vegas 25 started with more pressure from Cody Stamann. Stamann opens the striking with a body kick and he pushes forward. Cody Stamann lands his first takedown and is able to keep Dvalishvili down for about thirty seconds.

Dvalishvili gets back to his feet but eats a clean left on the break. A nice jab lands for Stamann, but Dvalishvili pushes forward and lands a takedown of his own. A scramble gets the fight back to the feet and both men exchange shots.

Dvalishvili times a jab beautifully and takes down Stamann. Stamann reverses the position, but Dvalishvili locks in a deep guillotine choke. Dvalishvili cranks it, but Stamann pops his head out. Another scramble has the fight back to the feet.

Big combination lands for Dvalishvili and he’s turning up the pressure. Stamann pops the jab, but Dvalishvili gets in deep on a takedown and slams Stamann down. Stamann defends well and gets back up.

Dvalishvili has his back up against fence and he’s winging his shots. Stamann is very heavy on the pressure, but he’s not landing. The two come together and Dvalishvili lands a hip toss. The round closes and it’s 2-0 Dvalishvili at UFC Vegas 25 on my scorecard.

Round 3

Heading into the final round at UFC Vegas 25 and I think Cody Stamann needs a finish. The final round opens with a touch of the gloves and Stamann is right back on the pressure of Dvalishvili.

Solid 1-2 lands for Merab Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili pushes forward and both men exchange big shots. Another big combination lands for Dvalishvili and Stamann was starting to look a little tired here in the third.

However, he was still pressing forward looking for big shots. Dvalishvili bounces off the cage and comes forward with a nice right hand. There is just so much activity from Merab Dvalishvili here in the final round. A nice left seems to stagger Stamann.

Stamann throws a flying knee which seems to land, but Dvalishvili just smiles at him. Uppercut and left hook lands for Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili follows it with two straight crisp jabs and it’s all Dvalishvili here in the third.

Dvalishvili goes for a takedown, but Stamann defends extremely well. Stamann is able to get top position and both men start trading shots on the ground. A nice scramble sees the two men in a neutral position. The round closes and despite the top control, I give the third at UFC Vegas 25 to Merab Dvalishvili.

Merab Dvalishvili def. Cody Stamann by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

UFC Vegas 25 Preview: Cody Stamann – Merab Dvalishvili

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 25, we will see a showdown between two bantamweights in the top fifteen. Thirteenth ranked Cody Stamann (19-3-1) takes on the surging contender, Merab Dvalishvili (12-4).

For Stamann, he will be looking to bounce back after suffering a loss in his last outing. In his last fight, Stamann took on Jimmie Rivera on one of the UFC‘s first cards on Fight Island. It was a competitive fight, but Rivera definitely got the best of Stamann.

That was just the second loss since Stamann joined the UFC back in 2017. His only other loss came against the current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. Sterling is also one of the main teammates of Merab Dvalishvili.

Dvalishvili didn’t get off to a hot start in the UFC. The native of Georgia lost his first two fights inside the octagon against Frankie Saenz and Ricky Simon. However, since those two losses, Dvalishvili has been nothing short of dominant.

Coming into UFC Vegas 25, Dvalishvili has won five fights in a row. Not too mention, he also set the bantamweight record for takedowns in his fight against Gustavo Lopez.

UFC Vegas 25 Prediction

I’m so intrigued by this matchup at UFC Vegas 25 because both guys are so similar. They both have tremendous wrestling and they both have ever-improving striking. It makes for such an interesting matchup.

For Stamann, he’s got to be able to withstand the pressure from Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili is going to come forward right away with a lot of pressure. The game plan for Dvalishvili is going to be to get Stamann tired with activity and pressure.

Usually with two grapplers, the fight ends up being a standup fight. If it is purely striking, I think Stamann has looked a tad more polished. However, Dvalishvili throws a lot and he’s always heavy on the activity.

I think this UFC Vegas 25 matchup is going to be decided early. There is going to be some grappling sprinkled in with this fight and whoever gets the better of it should win a decision. I don’t see a finish in this one, but I have to say, I like Merab Dvalishvili to pick up his sixth straight win in the octagon.

Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Unanimous Decision

UFC books Cody Stamann – Merab Dvalishvili

The UFC is finalizing a fun matchup in the bantamweight division for the third time. MMA Junkie was first to report this afternoon that the promotion has verbal agreements in place for a bantamweight matchup between Cody Stamann (19-3-1) and Merab Dvalishvili (12-4).

The matchup will take place at the UFC‘s Fight Night on May 1st. As mentioned, this is the third time that the promotion has tried to pair Dvalishvili up with Stamann. However, the previous two matchups fell through.

Now, the UFC is hoping to finally put these two top fifteen bantamweights against each other. For Cody Stamann, he’s going to be trying to get back on the winning side of things. Stamann last fought on Fight Island against Jimmie Rivera.

That night, Stamann lost a decision. That loss put Stamann at 6-2-1 in his nine fights in the UFC. The only two men who have gotten the better of him have been Rivera and the current bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling.

Dvalishvili looks to continue UFC winning streak

Speaking of Aljamain Sterling, he’s one of the lead training partners for Merab Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili got off to a really rocky start in the UFC. The bantamweight from Georgia lost his first matchups inside the octagon.

However, that is when his career started turning around. Since September of 2018, Dvalishvili has won five consecutive fights including wins over Casey Kenney and former UFC title challenger and Ultimate Fighter winner, John Dodson.

Dvalishvili’s wrestling has made him a problem for all of the opponents that have stood in his way. He’s also been showing some improved striking in his last couple of matchups which make him even more dangerous.

This is going to be a fun matchup of grapplers. Usually when you see these kind of matchups in the UFC, you’ll see more striking because the grappling will cancel each other out. These guys are ranked 12th and 13th and I’m excited to finally see them square off inside the octagon.

After coming up short at UFC Vegas 20, what’s next for Jimmie Rivera?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 20, Jimmie Rivera (23-5) and Pedro Munhoz (19-5, 1 NC) went to battle for the second time. The two men had previously fought back in 2015 with Jimmie Rivera edging out a split decision victory.

It was apparent from the opening bell that this fight would go a little differently. Like the first fight, this fight was very competitive. However, from the first round at UFC Vegas 20, Pedro Munhoz had the advantage.

Rivera was able to land some big punches early on, but Munhoz was doing serious damage with calf kicks. By the end of the first round, Rivera was walking with a limp and was trying to disguise how badly he was hurt.

From that moment on, Rivera couldn’t get any momentum going. Munhoz seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges due to the fact that Rivera couldn’t plant down on his shots.

In the final round at UFC Vegas 20, Jimmie Rivera did go for it. He was swinging with everything he had trying to get the finish he needed, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, Pedro Munhoz walked away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 20?

Jimmie Rivera started his UFC career at 5-0. At that point in his career, he was 21-1 heading into a matchup against Marlon Moraes. Since that matchup, Jimmie Rivera is just 2-4 in six matchups.

However, it is worth noting that all four of the losses came against guys who are inside the UFC’s top eight at bantamweight. Rivera has only lost to some of the elites in the division so it’s not time to write off El Terror just yet.

With the loss, I think you need to look down in the divisional rankings for his next matchup. One fight I would be interested in is seeing Rivera take on Chito Vera (16-7-1). Vera has looked great over the last couple of years and he’s 15th in the division.

He’s coming off of a loss as well so the timing makes sense. Another potential matchup could be Rivera against Merab Dvalishvili (12-4). Merab has won five in a row and he’s currently ranked 12th. From a rankings perspective, this could be the angle the UFC goes with.