Bantamweight rivals Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili will attempt to stake their claims for a title shot when they clash on 11th March in Las Vegas.
Yan, priced at 10/17 To Win, was crowned bantamweight champion in 2020 after beating Jose Aldo via TKO at UFC 251.
He lost the belt when making his maiden defence against Aljamain Sterling following a disqualification after he landed an illegal knee in round four.
During Sterling's absence, requiring time off to recover from concussion due to the illegal knee, Yan won the interim title with a unanimous decision win over Cory Sandhagen, subsequently earning a rematch with Sterling, however, he lost via split decision at UFC 273.
The Russian returned to action in October at UFC 280, but he suffered his third defeat in four fights as Sean O'Malley prevailed on a split decision.
That loss saw Yan slip to #2 in the rankings with O'Malley moving to #1 and a further defeat against Dvalishvili would leave him unlikely to get back in the title frame this year.
Dvalishvili, available at 7/5 To Win, is yet to compete for a UFC title, but he's in the ascendancy and many predict he will eventually get his chance.
The Georgian lost his first two fights in the UFC, suffering defeats to Frankie Saenz and Ricky Simon, but he's now riding an eight-fight win streak. He is ranked #3 in the division and a ninth successive triumph would put him on the verge of a shot at the gold.
|What||Petr Yan v Merab Dvalishvili|
|Where||The Theater at Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas|
|When||From 21:00, Saturday 11th March 2023|
|How to watch||BT Sport|
|Odds||Petr Yan 10/17, Merb Dvalishvili 7/5|
The fight is scheduled to take place on Saturday 11th March and into the early hours of Sunday 12th March.
The preliminary card gets underway at 21:00 and the main card is due to begin at 23:00, with Yan and Dvalishvili expected to walk to the octagon at around 01:00.
The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, originally known as The Joint, hosts the card.
The venue initially held a capacity of 2,000 when it opened in 1995, but it has since expanded to 4,500.
Primarily a music venue, the likes of Deftones, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones have performed there, while Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses and Kiss have all had residencies.
The UFC is often based out of Las Vegas but this will be the first time the organisation has booked an event at The Theater at Virgin Hotels.
Yes. Both the preliminary card and the main card are available to watch on BT Sport.
No. Champion Sterling is expected to defend his belt against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 on 6th May and the winner of that contest will likely take on O'Malley later in the year.
The winner of Yan and Dvalishvili may need to come through one further fight to secure a shot at the title towards the end of 2023.
20 fights, 16 wins (7 KOs), 4 defeats.
19 fights, 15 wins (3 KOs), 4 defeats.
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