The UFC Georgian Takeover is Real

Merab Dvalishvili And Giga Chikadze

I turn on the news and everybody is worried about Russia on Monday, China on Tuesday, and UFCs on Wednesday.

I could keep going with this but I’ll quit while I’m ahead and stay out of trouble.

I don’t hear any award winning anchors on CNN or FOX News talking about the Georgian takeover that is currently going on inside of the UFC as we speak.

This is front page stuff and if you are a betting man or woman then this is even more important. Betting on a Georgian fighter is almost always cash money. There are exceptions to this rule, ehem Liana Jojua, but for the most part, we are correct.

Getting matched up with Maverick was a tough one and that poor nose got split wide open. I hope Liana continues to improve as a mixed martial artist. We know she has it in her blood.

If you missed UFC Fight Night on ESPN this past Saturday night, you didn’t witness two of Georgia’s best secure catapulting wins in their respective divisions. Giga Chikadze landed what he calls the Giga Kick to the liver of Cub Swanson and that fight was a wrap before it even got cooking.

Merab Dvalishvili, down at 135 pounds, looked like an even better version of himself landing some powerful strikes. Usually, Merab is throwing for volume and just to keep the pressure up but he had some seriously bad intentions on the end of his shots this past Saturday night.

Fortunately for us who bet on Merab to win a decision and had the fight goes to a decision prop tied into a parlay, Cody Stamann was able to absorb the shots of the Georgian and last until the final bell.

Merab and Giga lead the way in the Georgian invasion but there is another name who may be more talented than both of them. Ilia Topuria has looked absolutely sensational in his first two UFC bouts.

He put a halt to the Youseff Zalal hype train pretty quickly but I think this was more of a case of Zalal running into a better fighter than it was him being overrated.

His betting odds certainly were and we took advantage of Ilia as a dog to get that win. We also hit a method of victory play when Ilia finished off Damon Jackson with strikes with relative ease.

I have bet Giga in his last 4 fights I think. I have bet Merab in his last 3. Then both of Ilia’s fights, I have gone with him.

Liana Jojua, though, we have successfully faded her two out of three times.

If it wasn’t for an uncalled-for silly takedown attempt, Liana would still be without a win in the UFC.

Let’s look at what is next for these Georgian fighters and also attempt to make the call of whether or not any or maybe even the entire big 3 are capable of being world champion in the UFC.


Guess what you get to enjoy today?

I had to. I’m pretty sure I posted this video a while back when we were behind Giga early in his still undefeated UFC career.

These guys are just made of something different. I know why the Dagestanis are dominating like they do but what is the reason behind the Georgians winning such a high percentage of their fights?

It isn’t a wrestling thing or a submission thing or a knockout thing.

They each have their own styles. It’s not like Khabib’s team and all of the fighters’ names who end in “Ov”. I know there are some good striking Nurmagomedovs out there but primarily wrestling, particularly cage wrestling, is what they do.

  • Giga is a kickboxer.
  • Merab uses his wrestling.
  • Liana does great work off her back with submissions.
  • Ilia Topuria appears to be good everywhere.

Roman Dolidze is another name. He, like Liana, is much more of an unfinished product but he has the heart, determination, and physical ability to get a whole lot better.

Roman is coming off the first loss of his career to Trevin Giles who fought a very smart fight to get the win. I think the Georgian will have checked himself and thus rebound well from this loss. He does have a fight scheduled and it will be against fellow European, Alessio Di Chirico.

I have got the Italian in this spot. I know Roman brings power and a lot of explosion but that can be said about many men that have stepped in there with Alessio.

Giga has called out Max Holloway for his next bout. I think that is a bit arrogant considering he just beat an aging vet and he himself is not even in the top ten.

And you want Max?

I would rather see him fight Bryce Mitchell or Sodiq Youseff. Maybe even Movsar Evloev. You’re going to have to give the guy a wrestler soon enough so you might as well let Evloev dominate him on the mat for three rounds.

I like Giga and he has surprised everyone still being undefeated fighting inside of the Octagon but his style has limitations without a strong wrestling base or being named Max Holloway. If Chikadze can show us he can defend takedowns from some of the top grapplers in the division, then we can talk about a potential Max Holloway fight.

As for Merab Dvalishvili, he is closer to the top of the division at this moment than any of his countrymen. Merab just beat Cody Stamann who was ranked 13th.

Now, Merab is staring at the top ten like…who’s next?

Who can handle that pace, that pressure, and that strength?

I think he CAN beat everyone in the division. This includes Petr Yan who showed us that when he isn’t the forward fighter on the front foot, he struggles. The same or similar is probably true for Dvalishvili but nobody has been able to expose him yet.

They can keep giving him fighters one or two spots ahead or let him skip those who have already had a shot at the title. With a new champion, though, that isn’t likely and Merab will have to work his way to the top.

Ilia Topuria, now, this guy can also be the world champion.

I was very very impressed and we are 2-0 betting on the kid at the UFC betting sites.

He just turned 24 this year and is now 10-0 in pro MMA including two dominant wins inside of the Octagon. Zalal was the only opponent to last 3 rounds with Ilia and he showed a lot of heart and toughness to do it.

Ilia has a very interesting matchup in his next fight. He takes on BJJ living legend and super specialist in MMA, Ryan Dr. Ryangle Hall.

I first saw this guy at my first grappling tournament in Richmond, Virginia. He was a purple belt training with Lloyd Irvin in the Washington DC area and we were traveling east from Lynchburg, VA. I will never forget the frustration and disgust so many black belts had for him and his inverted guard that day.

He would just spin upside down and backward and start the grappling match that way. One would think he was putting himself in a disadvantageous spot but quite the contrary. Every time, it was only seconds before he spun like a top while securing a triangle choke in the process.

Ryan has evolved his BJJ game since as well as become a solid MMA fighter who remains awkward on the feet and fairly safe from getting knocked out. Hall uses a lot of side kicks to keep his opponents at bay and score points.

The reverse psychology works well too when this makes them want to get to him even more. Well, he is a BJJ world champion so how close do you really want to get?

Just ask BJJ world champion, BJ Penn if he regrets getting as close as he did.

Hall is a problem but I don’t think he will have enough sauce to get Ilia Topuria to the mat. Ilia can really crack and Ryan cannot. Hall also cannot wrestle very well and is built like a stick. Ryan will need an Iminari roll into a heel hook to defeat Topuria.

Betting odds aren’t out yet for this one but I’m all over the Georgian here to continue the takeover.

In Conclusion

Georgia is on the map now and is leading the way for the budding European MMA scene. I guess Russia is Asia and the republics are Europe.

The Brits are pretty awesome at striking but the lack of wrestling has held them back in the UFC for years.

They are coming along, though, now.

You are seeing more Germans fighting inside of the Octagon today more than ever.

Conor McGregor, of course, led the way for the Irish…well let’s just say the Irish fans.

His team didn’t fair so hot inside the Octagon but that’s okay. They certainly embodied the fighting spirit of the nation.

The Georgians aren’t high in numbers in the UFC but the big three have won a combined 15 fights in a row inside of the Octagon. The quality of fighters coming out of this small country is astounding.

I am sure Georgia isn’t finished either.

There will be another Topuria like tank coming out of there with better wrestling/cardio than Merab and his own “Giga Kick”. Get your bets in on these fighters now!


Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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