UFC Fight Night Preview: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Gustavo Lopez


Serving as the meat sandwiched within the main card is a bantamweight battle Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili and newcomer Gustavo Lopez.

Makings of “The Machine”

Dvalishvili’s pre-UFC career was a stellar one at 7-2. Five of that bunch were by way of decision and two via KO/TKO. Dvalishvili’s UFC career started a bit rocky, thanks to consecutive losses to Frankie Saenz (split decision) and Ricky Simon (Technical Submission via Guillotine choke). He eventually gathered his footing thanks to a string of decision wins over Terrion Ware, Brad Katona and Casey. Dvalishvili aims to swim in the deeper waters of the bantamweight division, which includes present training partner Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling

Lopez Doesn’t Linger

Gustavo Lopez has a tall task ahead of him, facing a fighter in Merab Dvalishvili who’s humanity should be in question. His relentless pace from beginning to end is uncanny. His threshold for pain can only be likened to an android. If you don’t believe that, please watch his fight with Ricky Simon. No spoilers!!!

Now as for Lopez, he too brings a supernatural trait to this clash bantamweights, which serves as his UFC debut. Seven of Lopez’s 11 wins have come in the first round. His last three just under 2:20 minutes of said round. Three are by way of knockout; four via decision. Clearly, Lopez has a knack for quick finishes. Two methods of victory to finish a guy; choose one.

Keys to Victory

With Lopez’s ability to keep fights out of the judges’ hands, it would behoove Lopez to cautiously blitz Dvalishvili. Grasp Dvalishvili’s tendencies as soon as possible, find an opening and take it. One cannot grant “The Machine” any opportunity to get his motor revved up. Then again, his motor is already going upon arrival.

Dvalishvili has the luxury of welcoming Lopez to the UFC. As much as Lopez has closed shop early, he hasn’t dealt with anyone of Dvalishvili’s caliber. Landing roughly four significant strikes per minute, and eight takedowns per bout will cause problems for anyone. How will a fighter making his UFC manage such pressure?

Who Wins?

As admirable as Lopez’s acceptance of this fight is, there isn’t an instruction manual detailed enough to figure this “Machine” out. I’ll take Dvalishvili to unceremoniously welcome Lopez to the UFC.  I did mention somehow, he’s a product of Serra-Longo Fight-Team, didn’t I? So yeah, there’s that!

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