UFC Fight Night Betting Preview: Eastern Europeans Take Center Cage

The Theater Showcases Some of The Region’s Best Fighters

Yan Favored in Main Event Against Dvalishvili

Former bantamweight champion Petr Yan meets surging contender Merab Dvalishvili. This UFC Fight Night betting preview is more than just a title contenders’ bout but a grudge match. Dvalishvili is Aljamain Sterling’s main training partner and has consistently thrown barbs Yan’s way. With the Russian-Ukrainian War as well, Dvalishvili is upping the ante by further insulting his opponent. This should make for a heated main event.

Yan vs Dvalishvili

Date & Time:
Location: The Theater at Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas, Nevada
Streaming: ESPN+

Dvalishvili Making Things Personal with Yan

Nothing spells out “bad blood” quite like someone calling out your character based mainly on your country of origin. That’s what Dvalishvili has done against Yan. He’s made this fight not only personal but political.

“First, this fight is not only a fight. It’s personal to me,” Dvalishvili said during a UFC Vegas 71‘s media day. “He’s from Russia, I’m from Georgia. We all know Russia what they’re doing to Ukraine now, what they did to Georgia. Russia is not a (politically) democratic country. I know I want to win for my people. I have so much support from my country and so much support from Ukraine, too.”

Whether this is Dvalishvili spitting his truth or simply trying to get into Yan’s head, the betting favorite (-260) is not swayed. The Yan vs Dvalishvili odds continue to favor the former champion who is coming off a controversial loss to Sean O’Malley. But a win here, especially if done emphatically, will push Yan back to the front of the line.

“I think he doesn’t have any other way to bring attention to himself,” Yan said through an interpreter during the media day. “He cannot do it with his fights. In his fights, all he does is, like a dog, take the leg and push his opponents up to the cage. So he’s just trying to get a little attention or something. No one is interested in him.”

Yan’s Striking Versus Dvalishvili’s Grappling

Yan is not wrong when it comes to Dvalishvili’s fighting style. In fact, if this UFC Fight Night betting preview was just entirely focused on the fighting styles, then Dvalishvili’s won’t do justice to his words. He “spams” takedowns and wins bouts by out-wrestling his opponents. Most of his fights go to a decision and the over 4.5 rounds total here is juiced to -220.

The Georgian actually lands more takedowns per 15 minutes (6.54) than he lands significant strikes per minute (4.21). UFC fighters land just 2.31 significant strikes per minute against him because they are either on their backs or defending takedowns. This style is unflattering and tends to elicit ‘boos’ from the crowd. But it is highly effective. Dvalishvili has won eight straight fights and will look to win a third straight over a former champion.

But Yan won’t be easy prey. He has a whopping 90 percent takedown defense. Sterling landed just three of his 37 takedown attempts in their two fights. Dvalishvili, the +200 underdog, will have to do better than that. Yan averages 5.31 significant strikes per minute and will gladly shove Dvalishvili’s words back in his mouth via his fists.

Contenders on the Cusp of Title Shots

Anchoring the co-main event is another striker versus grappler contest. Alexander Volkov fights Alexander Romanov with the former, a compatriot to Yan, as a +125 underdog. Oddsmakers expect Romanov (-155) to have his way on the ground thanks partly to a small cage giving Volkov little wiggle room. The fight is also set at just 1.5 rounds so a finish is expected here.

More Russians are featured at the event with Nikita Krylov (technically Ukrainian) and Said Nurmagomedov. Both are favored against Ryan Spann and Jonathan Martinez, respectively.

Krylov and Spann settle unfinished business with their earlier booking canceled two weeks ago. The former as the -170 favorite and Spann as the +140 underdog. Earlier UFC Fight Night betting previews maintain that this fight will finish quickly. ‘Under 1.5 rounds’ is the favorite bet at -165 in the sportsbook.

Nurmagomedov is unrelated to former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. But he’s still expected to dominate Martinez judging by his -260 betting line. Martinez is a +200 dog and the fight is favored to go over 2.5 rounds (-170) likely to a decision.

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