A pivotal bantamweight bout between Marlon Moraes and Merab Dvalishvili will take place on September 25 at UFC 266.
Dvalishvili’s coach, Ray Longo, broke the news on the Anik and Florian podcast on Monday. The fight is not official but is targeted to take place on the pay-per-view card at a location TBD.
— Anik & Florian Podcast (@AnikFlorianPod) June 15, 2021
“Also on that note, it looks like Merab has a huge fight coming up, huge. Are we allowed to talk about it… Looks like he’s fighting Marlon Moraes at the end of September, what a great fight,” Longo revealed.
Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) is coming off back-to-back TKO losses to Rob Font and Cory Sandhagen. Prior to that, the sixth-ranked bantamweight contender earned a split decision over Jose Aldo in his first fight after a TKO loss to Henry Cejudo for the vacant bantamweight title. Before the loss for the belt, he was on a four-fight winning streak with wins over Raphael Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera, Aljamain Sterling, and John Dodson. He’s also the former WSOF bantamweight champ.
Merab Dvalishvili (13-4), meanwhile, is on a six-fight winning streak after starting out his UFC tenure 0-2. In his first two fights, he dropped a controversial split decision to Frankie Saenz and a controversial submission loss to Ricky Simon. In his last fight, he beat Cody Stamann and on the run, he also holds wins over John Dodson, Brad Katona, and Casey Kenney.
The winner of Moraes-Dvalishvili will likely be in line for a top-five contender. For Moraes, this is a crucial fight as if he loses three in a row, he may be on the chopping block or his next fight could be do-or-die for his UFC career. Dvalishvili, meanwhile, has been campaigning to get a top-10 foe for quite some time and he now gets his wish at UFC 266 in an intriguing bantamweight clash.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime