We’ve got ourselves a high-octane bantamweight scrap here between two top-10 fighters in Marlon Moraes and Merab Dvalishvili reportedly set for UFC 266.
As reported by Ray Longo on the Florian & Anik Podcast, the #6-ranked former title challenger Marlon Moraes will lock horns with the #10-ranked Merab Dvalishvili on September 25. This event is currently expected to be headlined by the recently moved Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixera light heavyweight title bout.
Marlon Moraes is in dire need of a victory after dropping two straight major fights against fellow ranked bantamweights Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font. It doesn’t help matters that Moraes was finished in both fights in under two rounds. In this contest, Moraes will look to revert to being the finisher instead of the finishee when he takes on the rising Merab Dvalishvili.
Moraes’ last victory came over José Aldo in 2019 in a bout that many, including UFC President Dana White, scored for Aldo. If not for this win, Moraes would be on a four-fight losing streak. All things considered, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to consider this pay-per-view bout to be a must-win for the Brazilian.
Surging Georgian bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili is not exactly someone ideal to be placed in a must-win situation against. The man is currently riding a six-fight winning streak, with his most recent loss happening three years ago in a very controversial incident that took place during his bout against Ricky Simon.
This fight will no doubt serve as Dvalishvili’s biggest opportunity to date, as a win over a #6-ranked fighter that would be a seventh straight victory could land the 30-year-old Dvalishvili neatly in the top-5 and right in the thick of the bantamweight championship mix.
As of this writing, the current UFC 266 lineup contains the following two bouts:
UFC Lightweight Championship Bout: Jan Blachowicz (c) vs Glover Teixeira
Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Who do you think comes out on top of this high-level bantamweight encounter? Marlon Moraes or Merab Dvalishvili??