A big bantamweight fight is coming to Southern California.
Former UFC double champion Henry Cejudo will face Merab Dvalishvili at UFC 298 on Feb. 17 in Anaheim, California, sources confirmed to ESPN on Sunday. Cejudo discussed the fight Sunday in a YouTube video. Sources said nothing has been signed, nor have bout agreements been received. But the fight is verbally agreed to by both sides.
ESPN has Dvalishvili ranked No. 3 and Cejudo ranked No. 4 in the world at 135 pounds. Dvalishvili is known as one of the best and most dominant wrestlers in the division, while Cejudo is a former freestyle wrestling Olympic gold medalist.
Cejudo (16-3) is one of four fighters to hold two UFC divisional titles concurrently, winning both the flyweight and bantamweight belts. The California native who lives and trains out of Arizona is coming off a very close split-decision loss to Aljamain Sterling, Dvalishvili’s teammate, at UFC 288 in May. It was the first bout in three years for Cejudo, 36, who retired in 2020.
Dvalishvili (16-4) has won nine in a row, including eight straight at bantamweight, the second-longest such streak in division history. The Republic of Georgia native who trains out of New York and Las Vegas owns the most takedowns landed in UFC bantamweight history (61). Dvalishvili, 32, is coming off a unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Petr Yan in March.