Merab Dvalishvili opens as decent betting favorite to beat Sean O’Malley in future UFC title fight

Sean O'Malley fight with Merab Dvalishvili I don't know why everyone thinks I'm scared UFC

Despite missing out on the next bantamweight title fight, streaking Georgian grappler, Merab Dvalishvili has opened as a sizeable betting favorite to beat defending gold holder, Sean O’Malley in a UFC title fight next year – as he rides a dominant nine fight winning run.

Dvalishvili, who currently holds the number two rank in the official bantamweight pile, has been sidelined since turning in a one-sided division shutout win over former undisputed titleholder, Petr Yan in the main event of a ‘Fight Night’ billed card back in March in Las Vegas.

Suffering a hand injury which required a surgical procedure in the immediate aftermath of the bout, Dvalishvili has been linked with a title-eliminator with former two-division champion, Henry Cejudo as soon as the opening quarter of next year, missed out on a title fight with Montana native, O’Malley, however.

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And despite missing out on what would come as his premier title fight under the banner of the organization, Tbilisi native, Dvalishvili has opened as a -180 betting favorite to beat Dana White’s Contender Series alum, O’Malley – who sits as a +155 betting underdog, despite holding the bantamweight crown.

Many betting sites and markers, including a selection of sites to operate anonymously, are offering odds on a potential future fight between O’Malley and Dvalishvili – ahead of what promises to be a huge year for the promotion’s bantamweight division. 

Himself booking his own return atop at UFC 299 card in March – which is tentatively expected to take place in Miami, Florida, O’Malley is set to take on Ecuadorian contender, Marlon Vera in a title fight rematch, attempting to avenge his sole professional loss.

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Minting himself as the divisional crown holder back in August at UFC 292 in Boston, O’Malley, who featured in his first main event bout since landing in the Octagon, stopped Dvalishvili’s training partner and close friend, Aljamain Sterling in a spectacular second round TKO victory in Massachusetts.

Fighting promotional staple, Vera back in 2020 in the co-main event of UFC 252, O’Malley dropped his first professional loss, suffering an opening round ground strikes TKO loss to the Chone striker. 

Riding a dominant nine-fight winning run all the way toward the number two rank in the bantamweight division, Dvalishvili, has picked up hallmark wins over the likes of Brazilian duo, Marlon Moraes, and former undisputed featherweight champion – Hall of Fame inductee, Jose Aldo during his winning spree through the bantamweight ranks. 

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Himself fighting Russian striker and former undisputed champion, Yan back in October of last year en route to his title-fight with Sterling earlier this summer, O’Malley narrowly edged past the Dudinka striker with a close, split decision win in Abu Dhabi, UAE. 

Furthermore, despite opening as a betting favorite to beat current champion, O’Malley in a future title fight, Dvalishvili is the second current favorite to hold bantamweight gold by the end of 2024, boasting odds of +250, while current gold holder, O’Malley is the favorite at +150 odds on many markets and bookies. Amongst divisional peers, Umar Nurmagomedov, and the above-mentioned, Sterling, Dvalishvili remains a bigger favorite to land gold before the end of next year.