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Midnight Mania! Al Iaquinta and Merab Dvalishvili respond to Petr Yan’s threats: ‘Big mistake!’

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UFC 223: Nurmagomedov v Iaquinta Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

UFC 273’s co-main event has enough bad blood to carry the show.

Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling have made it clear they don’t like one another, nor is there any mutual respect. Yan believes Sterling a cheater and quitter, whereas “Funkmaster” is understandably rather pissed about the illegal knee and subsequent s—t talk. Earlier today, Yan took it up a notch by threatening to “kill” Sterling and his team.

Easier said than done! In Sterling’s corner will be longtime team mates and UFC fighters Al Iaquinta and Merab Dvalishvili, both of whom can handle themselves in a scrap. Similar to Sterling himself, Iaquinta reacted by doubting that Yan would make a scene in any way.

“He’s not going to do anything,” Iaquinta told MMA Junkie. “Fight’s on Saturday night and he’s got a lot to be worried about. He should leave the teams out of it … Bad idea. Aljo’s doing his thing Saturday night. Good luck.”

Dvalishvili was a bit more fired up. “The Machine” wants Sterling to take care of business first, but afterwards, he’s down for some team-on-team combat.

“He made big mistake,” Dvalishvili said. “Aljo will show him, Aljo will finish him. .. We gonna let him fight first then we’re going to take care of him and his team after.”

Finally, top Lightweight prospect Ilia Topuria threw himself into the mix! Topuria is friendly with fellow Georgian Dvalishvili, and he wrote on his Instagram story that he’s plenty willing to get involved if there’s a brawl.

“In his team, there is someone who I consider my brother,” Topuria wrote. “Therefore we are from the same team so I hope you behave yourself ... we don’t want to crush your head. Thank you.”

Screenshot via Reddit /u/TomatoTeapot

All this trash talk is unlikely to do more than keep things spicy for another few days, but Topuria is no stranger to altercations at the fighter hotel.

LIVE! Watch UFC 288 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Newark, N.J., for the first time in more than three years on Sat., May 6, 2023, with a blockbuster Bantamweight collision inside Prudential Center that will see Aljamain Sterling attempt another successful title defense against returning two-division titleholder and former gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler, Henry Cejudo. In UFC 288’s last-minute pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, former Welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns, locks horns with No. 4-seeded contender, Belal Muhammad, in a five-round, 170-pound No. 1 contender eliminator match.

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


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Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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