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UFC 278 fight card primer: José Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili

Get up to date on the featured non-title event of UFC 278 between José Aldo and Merab Dvalishvili. 

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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.

LIVE! Watch UFC 279 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER WELTERWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Sept. 10, 2022, with a must-watch updated Welterweight thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, Nate Diaz now battles former top-ranked Lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson, who will return to the 170-pound weight class for this last minute, upgraded assignment. Meanwhile, In UFC 279’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we now get the undefeated No. 3-ranked contender, Khamzat Chimaev, opposite Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

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.