The non-title main event of UFC 278 will feature a bantamweight fight between José Aldo (31-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC) and Merab Dvalishvili (14-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC). UFC 278: Usman vs. Edwards 2 airs live from the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah this Saturday, August 20th. The main card will start on ESPN+ PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, with the ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ prelims beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and the early prelims kicking off on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Aldo: 35 years old | 5’7” | 70” reach
Dvalishvili: 31 years old | 5’6” | 68” reach
What have these two done recently?
Aldo: W - Rob Font (DEC) | W - Pedro Munhoz (DEC) | W - Marlon Vera (DEC)
Dvalishvili: W - Marlon Moraes (TKO) | W - Cody Stamann (DEC) | W - John Dodson (DEC)
How did these two get here?
The UFC bantamweight division has been on fire lately, and José Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili is a prime example of how exciting it continues to be.
Since moving from featherweight to bantamweight, Aldo has found his rhythm after two consecutive losses to Marlon Moraes and Petr Yan in his newfound venture. The King of Rio defeated former and future contenders in Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz and Rob Font across his next three appearances — a run that many believed was enough to warrant a second shot at gold. Alas, Aldo has to fight one more time to solidify himself as the next challenger, and he has quite a tough test to get through.
Though confident he can avoid being taken and kept down by his opponent, Dvalishvili could still pose a problem for Aldo with his phenomenal wrestling. With an apt fight moniker of ‘The Machine,’ Dvalishvili has outworked his opponents on the ground, holding the record for most takedowns in divisional history (50). The Georgian star enters the fight on a seven-fight win streak, and if he extends it with a win over Aldo, expect to see him at the top of the division soon.
Why should you care?
Either Aldo or Dvalishvili should get the winner of Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw next, right? For Aldo, he would be on a four-fight win streak, and a championship opportunity would be hard to ignore. For Dvalishvili, it gets more complicated since he has no interest in fighting his Serra-Longo Fight Team teammate Sterling (both men have a plan to avoid that, though). Still, he would be thrust into the top five of the division should he add a legend like Aldo to his resume, so his shot at gold is bound to come eventually.