Morning Report: Merab Dvalishvili says ‘I can knock out Sean O’Malley’ in potential bantamweight title fight

Merab Dvalishvili is more than ready for a shot at UFC bantamweight gold.

If a 10-fight winning streak doesn’t earn a title shot in the UFC, nothing will, right? That’s the fear for Georgia’s Dvalishvili, anyway.

UFC’s No. 1-ranked contender in the men’s 135-pound weight class has been on a tear since he started his promotional run off on a two-fight skid in late 2017. Dvalishvili’s lengthy stretch of success became the new divisional record after he defeated Henry Cejudo via a unanimous decision at UFC 298 last month, his ninth decision of that streak.

The 33-year-old Dvalishvili (17-4) arguably would have fought for gold already had his best friend and teammate Aljamain Sterling not been the champion from March 2021 to August 2023. Now that Sean O’Malley is the division’s current king, it feels like a no-brainer for “The Machine” to get his shot. After a successful unanimous decision win of his own against Marlon “Chito” Vera at UFC 299 this past Saturday, O’Malley has noted how he can likely expect Dvalishvili next at bantamweight. If the fight is made, Dvalishvili sees a potential striking finish playing out in his favor over the notable knockout artist.

“His last fight was good against Chito, but now he has to challenge himself and fight me,” Dvalishvili told The Schmo.

“I’m just gonna fight. I’m just gonna do my best and of course, I’m gonna always focus on winning. I’m ready for everything. I’m getting better everywhere, even striking, grappling, jiu-jitsu. I put a lot of hard work [in] and we will see. Don’t be surprised, I may knock him out because he is very confident and I have some skills. I’m getting better and I’m training and I can knock out O’Malley, I believe so.”

Vera’s bid for UFC gold was a rematch with O’Malley at UFC 299 after he came out on top in their August 2020 encounter. In the eyes of most, O’Malley included, the pair’s history was the only reason the sequel was made at this juncture.

All drama outside the octagon aside, Dvalishvili has done what’s most important and that’s continue to win. There’s been brief banter and verbal jabs between the bantamweight division’s best in their recent years to reach the pinnacle. Ultimately, Dvalishvili still respects “Sugar” and has praise for the redemptive performance against Vera.

“He has very technical footwork,” Dvalishvili said. “His reach works. He’s working, getting better. I look at him as a good challenge. He’s a dangerous opponent for me. As a fighter, I have so much respect to him, but we all have to find out this. This is MMA.

“We all see him asking to fight like last Saturday, all strike fights, he did very good. He did very good against grapplers before. Let’s see how he’s gonna do with me, but I’m the next guy.

“We are the two best guys in the division,” he continued. “He’s champion, I’m No. 1. We all know I have 10-fight win streak. Let’s find out. Let’s give people what they want.”

Critique. Matt Brown trashes Jake Paul fighting nearly 60-year-old Mike Tyson: ‘This is just straight f****** garbage

Arrival. Kayla Harrison reacts to Cris Cyborg training with Holly Holm for UFC 300, sends message to bantamweights

Weird. Cedric Doumbe discusses controversial loss at PFL Europe: ‘Marc Goddard just stole the fight

Exposure. Conor McGregor talks nude scene in ‘Road House,’ inspiration from Arnold Schwarzenegger

Heroic. UFC legend Mark Coleman hospitalized for smoke inhalation after saving parents from house fire

Filthy. Sean O’Malley: ‘It was actually a disgusting feeling’ when knee strike blasted Chito Vera in the face

Crossover. Demetrious Johnson believes Anthony Joshua would also beat Francis Ngannou in MMA

Sound & Pound.

Best of Bam Bam.

Free fight.

Full fight.

ONE Friday Fight 54 Highlights.

The War Room: Tuivasa vs. Tybura.

Although Twin Temple deserves today’s selection as I’m seeing them tonight in Vegas, Reliqa’s just too good.


All aboard.



Tough crowd.

The rules: No rules.

Art of deception.

Cesar Almeida (4-0) vs. Dylan Budka (7-2); UFC Vegas 90, April 6

Gabi Garcia (6-0, 1 NC) vs. Barbara Nepomuceno (0-1); Centurion FC, April 25

Grant Dawson (20-2-1) vs. Joe Solecki (13-4); UFC 302, June 1

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the odds to be pretty high plus money on a Merab KO vs. O’Malley. His best hope there is a TKO from exhaustion. Have to believe in yourself, though.

Thanks for reading!


Who wins this weekend?

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