An interesting bantamweight matchup between one-time title chaser, the #6 ranked, ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes and the #9 ranked streaking contender, Merab ‘The Machine’ Dvalishvili has been booked for UFC 266 on September 25th. — with a location or venue for the event yet to be determined by the organization.
Faltering in three of his last four Octagon walks, Moraes suffered a UFC Vegas 17 first round knockout loss to the streaking recent headliner, Rob Font last December.
For Tiblisi-born grappling standout, Dvalishvili — he’s in the midst of an impressive six-fight undefeated run, which most recently featured a unanimous decision win over Cody Stamann in a rescheduled matchup at UFC Vegas 25 on May 1st. News of the intriguing pairing was intially reported by UFC play-by-play lead, Jon Anik and PFL colour commentator, Kenny Florian on The Anik and Florian podcast.
Moraes, a former WSOF bantamweight champion, has compiled a promotional record of 5-4 since his transition to the Octagon back in June of 2017. Initially debuting with a close decision loss to Raphael Assuncao, Moraes would go on to avenge his judging loss to his compatriot with a guillotine win back in February of 2019.
Prior to his loss to Font in December, Moraes dropped an October knockout loss to Cory Sandhagen, after a close judging win of his own over former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. Headlining UFC 238 in June of 2019, Moraes started well against Henry Cejudo, however, suffered an eventual third round ground-and-pound stoppage in a vacant bantamweight title fight.
On route to his title challenge, Moraes bested John Dodson, before a trio of eye-catching finishes over current champion, Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera, and the above-mentioned, Assuncao.
With a pair of contentious losses to both Frankie Saenz and then Ricky Simon coming as the only two losses on Georgia native, Dvalishvili’s promotional record, he’s blitzed through contenders on route to his #9 perch in the official bantamweight pile.
Before his win over Stamann, the 30-year-old had lodged shutout victories over common-foe, Dodson, Gustavo Lopez, Casey Kenney, Brad Katona, and Terrion Ware.
UFC 266 takes place on September 25th. with a light heavyweight title fight between Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira set to land on the card. A featherweight championship bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega is also expected to take place at the pay-per-view showing.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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