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Petr Yan almost got slapped in Abu Dhabi after stepping to Merab Dvalishvili

Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan had a long and rather ugly feud with Aljamain Sterling throughout the course of their championship rivalry, which started with a disqualification at UFC 259 in Las Vegas and concluded with a split decision at UFC 273 in Jacksonville — both of which ended in favor of “Funk Master.”

Fellow UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili was a part of Sterling’s fight camp back when Yan threaten to kill everyone on their team (read those incendiary comments here). Not surprisingly, Dvalishvili took that personally but “The Machine” was able to maintain his composure and no hotel hand sanitizer took flight.

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“If he didn’t have a fight, of course I would slap him,” Dvalishvili told MMA Fighting. “Especially he said right before, when he was getting to Aljo, Petr said — I’m just going to repeat his words — ‘When I see Aljo and Aljo’s team, we will kill and smash his team.’ That’s what he mentioned. Like what the f*ck? I’m his team, I’m Aljo’s team. He wants to smash me.”

That wasn’t the only time Dvalishvili had an issue with the former champ. Yan also tried to mock and discredit “The Machine” during a brief interaction with Sterling ahead of “No Mercy’s” showdown opposite Sean O’Malley at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Once again, Dvalishvili let the remarks slide because Yan was in fight camp.

“When I saw him in Abu Dhabi, he was getting ready for the fight with O’Malley – it was like three days before the fight, and I was respectful,” Dvalishvili said. “I was standing by myself on the other side, but he was talking to Aljo, and I don’t want to go close to him. He had a fight, he was cutting weight. He was just doing his own thing, and I was respectful. He pointed at me and he said, ‘He’s small.’ I go and stand [near him] like it was funny, I tried to size him up, and then he pointed to me again and he said I’m a zero.”

“When he said that, the first time I just laughed and got close and sized him up,” Dvalishvili continued. “After that, I just smiled big. I was respectful and he had a big fight. I don’t want to mess up his fight or his energy or anything. It doesn’t matter how stupid he is, he had a big fight, and I don’t want him to deal with anything.”

Yan lost his fight to O’Malley by way of split decision.

Dvalishvili will have an opportunity to get revenge on Yan when they collide in the UFC Las Vegas main event, scheduled for this Sat. night (March 11, 2023) inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. A victory for “The Machine” could put him atop a very short list of eligible bantamweight title contenders, right behind O’Malley.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Las Vegas fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 6 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Las Vegas: “Yan vs. Dvalishvili” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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