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Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili targeted for UFC 278

UFC 265: Aldo v Munoz Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

The Bantamweight division continues to heat up.

Ariel Helwani reported today (Tues., June 14, 2022) that a pivotal bout between former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, and top-ranked Bantamweight contender, Merab Dvalishvili is being targeted for UFC 278 on Aug. 20, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“UFC is working on Jose Aldo vs. Merab Dvalishvili for UFC 278 on Aug. 20,” Helwani said. “Not a done deal at the moment, but that’s the current direction.”

Currently ranked at No. 3 in the official 135-pound UFC rankings, Aldo has regained momentum with three strong performances after his first crack at gold in the division. Suffering a loss to Petr Yan in said title loss (watch highlights), Aldo now believes he’s once again earned his shot after current champion, Aljamain Sterling, achieved a redemptive split decision win over Yan at UFC 273 in April 2022.

For Georgia’s Dvalishvili, he’s also on quite a hot stretch, having amassed a streak of seven straight wins. “The Machine” earned a Performance of the Night bonus his last time out for his thrilling comeback effort against Maron Moraes, earning a technical knockout in round two after nearly being finished in the prior round (watch highlights).

With Dvalishvili three spots behind Aldo at No. 6 in the rankings, along with their strings of victories, it feels like a safe assumption that the winner could certainly have a title shot awaiting them. In the meantime, things appear to be trending toward Dvalishvili’s teammate, Sterling, defending against former two-time Bantamweight titleholder, T.J. Dillashaw. No official announcements have yet to be made.