The latest UFC Fight Night’s main event is a bantamweight fight. In the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night, former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan will face Merab Dvalishvili.

Although a title shot may be in the cards for the victor of the contest on Saturday, Dvalishvili has previously stated that he would not force a title contest if Sterling were to hold the belt because of their longstanding friendship.

Despite participating in incredibly difficult battles, Petr Yan is now on a two-fight losing streak. He lost his No. 1 ranking to “Sugar” Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in what many thought was a disputed decision. Current champion Aljamain Sterling faced previous champion Petr Yan in a rematch prior to his loss at UFC 280, where Sterling easily defeated the Russian.

The contest this weekend between Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili poses a special difficulty. After a rocky beginning in the UFC, when he suffered two straight losses, “The Machine” went on to win his next eight fights. José Aldo, Marlon Moraes, and Cody Stamann were all defeated by Dvalishvili in his most recent three contests. Moraes was defeated at UFC 266 by “The Machine” via TKO in the second round.

Given that he is up against the in-form Dvalishvili, the 30-year-old Russian is mindful that he cannot afford to leave any space for doubt at this time.

The 32-year-old Georgian has fought eight times in a row and last contested in August, defeating Jose Aldo, a legend in the UFC, by a wide margin.

‘This is Russia vs. Georgia’

Dvalishvili believes that his matchup with Yan will have far greater impact than just a title bout. He sees it as a battle between Georgia and Russia.

Aware that his fellow Georgians would be eagerly watching his performances in the octagon, The Machine feels a great sense of duty in representing his nation. He is adamant about winning for his country since he feels that this battle affects not just him personally but also the entire country.

The third-ranked UFC bantamweight contender, Merab Dvalishvili, recently spoke with The Schmo about his impending bout with Petr Yan and the tremendous responsibility he feels to represent his native Georgia. By referring to the conflict as a battle between Russia and Georgia, Dvalishvili underlined the importance of the conflict. In order to succeed and prove himself against “No Mercy,” he exhibited a strong feeling of duty. 

As said by Merab Dvalishvili: “I just want to win this fight that’s it. That will better than win title you know, because despite it not only fight this is personl fight for me. My country supporting me you know. It’s not secret that, Russian they are not treating Georgia and Ukraine good. And this is like Russia vs. Georgia and this is a sport but this is big-big modern fight for me.”

Although beginning his UFC career in 2017 with two defeats to Ricky Simon and Frankie Saenz, the Georgian fighter has since rebounded with an outstanding string of triumphs inside the cage. Dvalishvili seems to be totally committed to extending his winning streak in the UFC now that he has apparently put those early losses behind him.

Merab Dvalishvili might be in a great position to compete for the bantamweight title if he can successfully navigate the difficulties posed by his future opponent, Petr Yan. But whether or not he gets the chance to do so may ultimately depend on Aljamain Sterling, the current champion.