Merab Dvalishvili landed a record breaking 13 take downs last night in a unanimous decision win over Gustavo Lopez. This performance by Merab was good enough to claim the record for most take downs in a bantamweight bout, a mark he set himself just a few months back. Dvalishvili previously scored 12 take downs in a victory over Casey Kenney this past February, which was a division best at the time. After this latest victory, Merab holds both the one and two slots for most take downs in a bantamweight bout and has 25 over his last two appearances.
Last night marked the third time Dvalishvili has landed 10+ take downs in just six UFC fights. The only other bantamweight to accomplish this has been Demetrious Johnson, which was pointed out by Brendan Fitzgerald during the broadcast.
All told, the Georgian born Merab Dvalishvili has scored 52 take downs across six UFC bouts. If he can keep up anything resembling this pace, there is a strong change that Merab could end up breaking GSP’s all time take down record of 90. It ultimately took GSP 22 UFC appearances to reach that number.
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Following the win, Dvalishvili called for a fight with Sean O’Malley. “Big respect for Sean O’Malley, but I want (to) fight next with him. Let’s make this happen, I’m ready,” Merab said to Paul Felder in his post-fight interview.
O’Malley of course recently knocked out Eddie Wineland at UFC 250, securing a performance bonus and another first round stoppage. O’Malley personally called for a main event following the victory, so a potential match-up between he and Merab Dvalishvili could play out over five rounds. The match-up would be an intriguing clash of styles between two ascending names in an increasingly stacked bantemweight division. Merab’s thus far unsolvable take down game would be pitted against O’Malley’s thus far unsolvable striking, which could provide a rigid test for each fighter.
A clash between Dvalishvili and O’Malley was already being discussed in the media and among fans, so expect that speculation to only intensify following this latest performance.