Ex-bantamweight champion Petr Yan is expected to face Merab Dvalishvili in a five-round main event fight scheduled for a UFC Fight Night card taking place at The Theater in the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas on March 11.
Multiple people who were aware of the plans for the promotion confirmed it to MMA Fighting Wednesday. Verbal agreements have been made, but no contracts or signatures have yet been signed. The Las Vegas Review-Journal initially reported the matchup.
After suffering two losses in recent bouts, Yan returns to UFC action in March. He lost to Aljamain Sterling (current UFC bantamweight champion) and dropped a close split to Sean O’Malley in October. Now the Russian born bantamweight looks to get back on track while facing one of the fastest rising contenders in the entire division.
Dvalishvili has rattled off eight consecutive wins in a row including his most recent victory over Jose Aldo at UFC 278. He also holds statement wins over Marlon Moraes, Cody Stamann and John Dodson.
The fight will give Dvalishvili an opportunity to possibly secure a future title shot. However, he has repeatedly stated that Sterling, his friend and longtime teammate, won’t be facing him.
Yan and Dvailishvili headline the first ever UFC card at the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas with the venue touting a capacity crowd of up to 4,600 people for a live concert, although it’s unknown how much that number will change for a sporting event.
Mike Heck contributed to this report.