The bantamweight bout opened the main card for UFC 252 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view after preliminaries on ESPN / ESPN +.
Dodson came out and took the center of the octagon and escaped Dvalishvili’s first backfist attempt. Dodson walked around the cage, but it was only a matter of time before Dvalishvili took him. He secured a waist lock and spent a fair amount of time holding Dodson against the fence, using his knees to the legs to take the steam off the winner of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Dodson escaped late, but there wasn’t much he could do in the final 50 seconds.
Dvalishvili started to apply pressure again at the start of the second period. He grabbed Dodson and slammed him to the mat, but he couldn’t secure his position on the floor. Dodson managed to open punch and kick combinations in times when he had space, but Dvalishvili was always close and kept up the pressure while avoiding massive shots.
With momentum shifting in favor of Dvalishvili heading into the final round, Dodson showed more urgency in the final frame. Dvalishvili’s movement and aggression kept him at bay, however, and the frustration was evident. Dvalishvili’s confidence in his shot increased dramatically in the home stretch. He scored Dodson with a number of hard knocks to score the bout, winning every round.
Dvalishvili has now won five consecutive fights, including four at bantamweight. Afterward, he called Sean O’Malley, who meets Marlon Vera in the UFC 252 co-main event.
“It was the biggest test of my career, but it was easy – I’m not even tired,” Dvalishvili said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. “Good luck, Sean O’Malley. I wish him the best. I hope he wins and I want to see him.
The most recent results from UFC 252 include:
Merab Dvalishvili def. Merab Dvalishvili by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Vinc Pichel beats. Jim Miller by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27) Virna Jandiroba defeats. Felice Herrig via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:44 Danny Chavez beats. TJ Brown by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Livinha Souza defeats. Ashley Yoder via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) Chris Daukaus defeats. Parker Porter via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:28 Kai Kamaka III beats. Tony Kelley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)