The UFC bantamweight division is heading toward some potentially dramatic waters in the aftermath of Merab Dvalishvili’s dominant win over former champion Petr Yan in the UFC Fight Night 221 main event.
Dvalishvili (16-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC), who is primary training partner of current 135-pound champion Aljamain Sterling, extended his winning streak to nine fights on Saturday when he earned a unanimous decision win over Yan in their headlining bout at The Theater at Virgins Hotels in Las Vegas.
With Dvalishvili coming off back-to-back wins over former UFC champs in Yan and Jose Aldo, the realities of his relationship with Sterling are starting to settle in. UFC president Dana White sent a warning to “The Machine” that his path forward is about to get very complication if he and Sterling (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) stick true to their promise to never fight each other.
When proposed with questions about a potential matchup, Dvalishvili has said he has no problem taking out fellow contenders while Sterling reigns, with a back up plan to drop down to flyweight. Sterling, for his part, has said a move up to featherweight is likely in his future if he can clear the queue of current contenders, which includes a UFC 288 title defense against Henry Cejudo on May 8, then a presumed matchup with Sean O’Malley after.
A number of circumstances could shake up the whole saga, but what should the UFC do with Dvalishvili given his position?
Our “Spinning Back Clique” panel of Farah Hannoun, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Danny Segura broke it down with host “Gorgeous” George Garcia. Check out their discussion in the video above, and don’t miss this week’s full episode below.
“Spinning Back Clique” is released each Monday LIVE on MMA Junkie’s YouTube channel.