Merab Dvalishvili set to serve as backup to UFC 299 main event

Merab Dvalishvili hopes to get his title shot sooner rather than later but until then he’ll take on the backup role for the main event at UFC 299.

The top-ranked bantamweight contender, who secured his own opportunity to become champion with a win over Henry Cejudo at UFC 298, will fly to Miami on Wednesday and hit the scale on Friday as the backup for the title fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon “Chito” Vera.

Dvalishvili’s manager Oren Hodak of KO Reps confirmed his status as the backup on Tuesday when speaking to MMA Fighting.

It’s become standard practice for the UFC to maintain a backup for fights like this one just in case disaster strikes in the days or hours leading up to an event. While Dvalishvili is already expected to face the winner sometime later this year, the Georgian native will get a good look at his potential opposition during UFC 299 fight week.

Currently riding a 10-fight win streak in the division, many believe Dvalishvili should actually already be fighting in the main event but O’Malley will get the chance to avenge his only loss in the UFC instead. Vera beat O’Malley back in 2020 and he’ll look to duplicate that success in the title fight on Saturday.

As part of his duties, Dvalishvili will weigh in on Friday alongside both main event fighters where he’s expected to make championship weight at 135 pounds in case his services are needed.

O’Malley and Vera are scheduled to meet in the five-round main event on Saturday with the bantamweight title bout headlining UFC 299 from the Kaseya Center in Miami.

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