After a fight week full of bad blood, Merab
got the last laugh.

The Serra Longo Fight Team product relied on relentless pressure
and the constant threat of the takedown to wear down Petr Yan and
capture a unanimous decision triumph in the
UFC Fight Night 221
headliner at the Theater at Virgin Hotels
in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday night. Dvalishvili (16-4, 9-2 UFC)
received a trio of 50-45 tallies from the cageside judges to secure
his ninth straight victory in the Octagon.

While Dvalishvili didn’t come close to landing all of his takedown
attempts, the constant threat of his wrestling created openings for
“The Machine” to succeed in other aspects of the bout. That was
especially evident on the feet, as Dvalishvili attacked with
punching combinations, standing elbows and kicks to various levels.
Most notably, a calf kick from the Georgian seemed to compromise
Yan’s left leg in the second stanza, and the Russian was often
forced to switch his stance as a result. Additionally, the former
bantamweight champ had heavy swelling above his right eye by the
end of the contest — the product of absorbing numerous punching

To his credit, Yan (16-5, 8-4 UFC) never lacked resolve. He landed
some hard shots to the body — especially early on — and defended
numerous takedowns, but he simply couldn’t match the pressure and
pace of a relentless opponent. Yan has lost four of his last five
UFC appearances.

Volkov Overwhelms Romanov

made short work of Alexander
in the heavyweight co-main event. The former Bellator
and M-1 Global champion finished the fight with ground-and-pound
from back mount 2:16 into the opening round to complete a dominant
performance. After beginning his professional career with 16
straight victories, Romanov (16-2, 5-2) has lost back-to-back
Octagon appearances.

Volkov (36-10, 10-4 UFC) attacked with confidence from the start,
and Romanov had no option but to shoot for takedowns. The Russian
defended the initial attempt well — with the aid of a fence grab —
and rocked Romanov with a big right after the heavyweights
separated. That prompted a desperation shot from “King Kong,” and
Volkov stuffed it with ease while transitioning to take his
opponent’s back. From there,
Volkov unloaded with heavy shots — including several under the
armpit — before referee Mark Smith stepped in to end the

Krylov Outgrapples Spann

survived a frantic grappling battle with Ryan Spann to
win via first-round submission in a 215-pound catchweight affair.
“The Miner” ended the contest with a triangle choke at the 3:38
mark of Round 1 — his 16th career submission victory. The bout was
originally supposed to take place as the UFC Fight Night 220
headliner on Feb. 25 before Krylov (30-9, 11-7 UFC) fell ill on the
day of the bout.

The combatants traded wildly after the opening bell sounded, but
the definitive action happened on the canvas. In a contest that
featured multiple submission attempts and scrambles, Krylov put his
stamp on the fight after Spann slid off of his adversary while
attempting a rear-naked choke. Spann (21-8, 7-3 UFC) elected to
dive right into Krylov’s guard,
where he found himself trapped in a triangle choke almost
“Superman” had no choice but to tap in a
matter of seconds.

Martinez Upsets Nurmagomedov

pulled off a minor upset in the bantamweight division,
ending Said
’s four-bout winning streak with a hard-fought
unanimous decision triumph. The Factory X standout secured a trio
of 29-28 scorecards for his fifth consecutive UFC victory.

Nurmagomedov (17-3, 6-2) nearly made it an early night when he
followed a combination with a rear-naked choke in the opening
stanza, but Martinez (18-4, 9-3 UFC) was able to escape the
position. It was a dogfight from there. Nurmagomedov relied on
spinning attacks and kicks to all levels when at range, but he
appeared to fatigue as the bout progressed.

Martinez, meanwhile, did much of his best work with leg kicks and
elbows in close quarters. The final stanza was extremely close, as
Nurmagomedov assumed top position early but had to defend a
triangle armbar attempt from his opponent. Nurmagomedov took the
back in an ensuing scramble, but Martinez would return to his feet
to make his foe work from the clinch for much of the remainder of
the period.

Bautista Wins Fourth Straight

earned his fourth consecutive triumph in UFC
competition, as he submitted Guido
with a rear-naked choke in their bantamweight
showdown. The 29-year-old MMA Lab representative brought the show
to a close 3:18 into Round 1. Bautista (12-2, 6-2 UFC) has earned
six of his 12 career victories via submission — including three
straight within the Las Vegas-based promotion.

Bautista wasted little time taking his 43-year-old foe to the
canvas. While Cannetti (10-7, 4-6 UFC) was able to escape a body
triangle and initial back take from his adversary, Bautista
responded with a belly-to-back suplex in short order. From there,

he quickly slid the arm under the Argentina native’s neck to elicit
the tapout.
Cannetti sees a modest two-bout winning
streak snapped in defeat.

Petrino Outlasts Turkalj

blended power punches with wrestling and grappling to
garner a unanimous decision triumph over fellow Dana White’s
Contender Series competitor Anton
in a light heavyweight affair. All three judges scored
the bout for the Brazilian: 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.

Petrino began the contest by rocking Turkalj with punches at range,
but he nearly met disaster late in the first round, when he was
rocked by an upkick as he attempted to enter his opponent’s guard.
Turkalj (8-2, 0-2 UFC) also briefly hurt Petrino (8-0, 1-0 UFC)
with a flurry of punches in the waning moments of the second
stanza, but the CM System export was able to survive the barrage.
Much of the fight was contested in the clinch and on the canvas,
however, and it was Petrino’s ability to land takedowns, overpower
his opponent and explode out of bad positions that ultimately made
the difference.

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Relentless Merab Dvalishvili Outworks Petr Yan in UFC Fight Night 221 Headliner