UFC 298 Results: Merab Dvalishvili retires Henry Cejuto, celebrates next title with Metta's Mark Zuckerberg

The Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., erupted into two 135-pound wrestling powerhouses — Merab Dvlishvili And Henry Cejudo — entered the Octagon today (Saturday, February 17, 2024) during UFC 298's pay-per-view (PPV) main card.

Dvalishvili — riding a nine-fight winning streak with the fallen champions — should have a 135-pound title shot tattooed on his forehead. Blame it on faith — or Dana White's opinion — but gold has so far remained elusive. However, with his former teammate, Algemeine SterlingCompeting at featherweight, „The Machine” needed to prove his worth against another legend.

It's not going to be easy.

Cejudo – a former dual champion – hears Father Time whispering. His shot at reclaiming last year's crown fell just short. At 37 years old, „The Messenger” knew this fight would be his redemption arc.

However, in 15 minutes of non-stop, back-and-forth action, it was Duvalishvili who overcame a tough first round and dominated the final 10 minutes to take a unanimous decision.

With early pressure, Cejudo puts Merape on his back foot, an unusual sight. After feeling each other out for a minute, Merab finally unclasped a ringed right hand that grasped nothing but air. Cejudo caught Merab with a nice uppercut and briefly tripped him up, but „Triple C” didn't really go after a finish … just kept jumping and looking for another opening. But before he could figure it out, Merab grabbed a single leg and knocked the former Olympian to the ground, then drilled him with a hard right hand as he got back to his feet. After another exchange, with 90 seconds left on the clock, Cejudo was able to drop Merape to the mat. Merab fought back with a wristlock so he couldn't really punch, so Cejudo went back and tried to control the Georgian from behind. However, Merab managed to get to his feet and make his way to the fence, where he broke Cejudo's hold and turned him over the fence. Cejudo landed a nice knee to the body during the break, which ended the opening frame. A solid five minutes from the former champion.

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Merab kept the pressure on Cejudo and appeared to talk a little between rounds. Cejudo tried to keep him at bay with a low kick, and then when Merab angled for a takedown attempt, Cejudo ducked and almost came after him once again. A restart saw Merab hit a hard shot which Cejudo repaid moments later. Later, Merab served a clean mixture to the floor, and Sejudo ate it without actually reacting. Merab started to cook and secured another takedown in the center of the cage, Cejudo crawling back to the cage and back to his feet. Cejuto tries to turn, but Merab throws him back to the floor with a trip. Merab's front kick, he breaks free once again, Cejudo looking to make up for a while now. He shoots for a takedown, but Merab locks in a standing guillotine and hits Cejudo with a knee, forcing Cejudo to drop to both knees to avoid shots. Merab huddled tightly with Cejudo on all fours, talking to Meta's Mark Zuckerberg through the cage, smiling at the same time. A strong round for Merab.

With 10 minutes in the can, it was down to the third and final frame. Cejudo scored early with a short right hand, but Merab was on him like a dog on the bone. Cejudo's forearm was grotesquely mangled, and he struggled to break Mera's grip around his waste. Low kick from Cejudo on the break, but right eats a hard left jab. It was still close in the middle of the round, but Merab was definitely the hotter fighter. He managed to get back on one leg. Collected Cejudo, lifted him across the cage and threw him on his back. That's all he needed to get the big win … and the next bantamweight title shot.

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Good luck, Sean O'Malley (or Marlon Vera). And if that's the last we've seen of Cejudo in the cage, thanks for the memories, hero.

Check out the latest and greatest UFC 298: “Volganovsky Vs. Topuria” news and tips hit our extensive event archive to the right. Here.

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