The final undercard fight for UFC 266 will see No. 6 bantamweight contender try to move up the rankings against No. 11 Merab Dvalishvili.
The final fight of the UFC 266 preliminary card Saturday from Las Vegas features ranked bantamweight contenders facing off in No. 6 Marlon Moraes and No. 11 Merab Dvalishvili. On the MMA odds, Dvalishvili is a -295 favourite to win with Moraes +210.
Marlon Moraes UFC 266 Odds
The 33-year-old Moraes is from Brazil and now calls Florida home. He’s 23-8-1 in his pro career. He is a black belt in both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a former Muay Thai national champion and ex-World Series of Fighting bantamweight champion. Moraes is ranked No. 6 in the UFC bantamweight division, which is currently ruled by Aljamain Sterling.
Moraes owns a win over Sterling via first-round knockout back in December 2017, but that was well before Sterling was the division champion. “Magic” has gotten one title shot in his UFC career and lost to now-retired Henry Cejudo by third-round TKO at UFC 238 in a terrific back-and-forth bout. Including that fight, Moraes has dropped three of four. He was last in the Octagon in December and beaten by first-round TKO (elbow and punches) by Rob Font, who is ranked fourth in the division. Font was brutalizing Moraes when it was stopped.
The average fight time for the 5-foot-6 Moraes is 8:18 as he has 10 wins by KO/TKO, seven by decision and six by submission. Most of his losses (63 per cent) are by KO/TKO. Moraes lands 3.38 significant strikes per minute with 39 per cent accuracy and absorbs 4.11 with 56 per cent defence. His takedown average is 1.00 per 15 minutes with 41 per cent accuracy, and his takedown defence is 66 per cent.
On the method of victory prop, Moraes by decision is +405, by KO/TKO/DQ +550 and by submission +1200.
Merab Dvalishvili UFC 266 Odds
We’re going to refer to Dvalishvili as Merab the rest of the way because spelling that last name correctly is a challenge. The 30-year-old from Georgia (country not state) who now fights out of New York is 13-4 in his career and ranked 11th in the bantamweight division. He’s a black belt in Judo and also has some wrestling in his background.
“The Machine” made his UFC debut in December 2017 with a split decision loss to Frankie Saenz and then lost his next bout via technical submission to Ricky Simon. However, Merab hasn’t lost since, as he enters on a six-fight winning streak. He comes off a unanimous decision win over Cody Stammen in May.
Decision is the usual route of victory for Merab, with 10 of his 13 wins coming by that route. Three of his four losses are by decision – his fights last an average of 15:00 with so many going to the judges. To win this by decision, he’s -105, by submission at +405 and via KO/TKO/DQ at +555.
Merab, who will have an inch of reach advantage, lands 4.02 significant strikes per minute with 39 per cent accuracy and absorbs 2.22 per minute with 61 per cent defence. His takedown average is 7.38 per 15 minutes with 43 per cent accuracy and his takedown defence 78 per cent.
UFC 266 Prediction: Moraes vs. Dvalishvili
Merab Dvalishvili by decision.