Merab Dvalishvili has just joined Aljamain Sterling on his recent criticism of their shared BJJ opponent’s tactics on the mats. The two men are among the top bantamweight fighters in the UFC roster so it’s quite unusual to see them both feuding with someone completely outside of their sport. In fact, the current rankings have Sterling as the number one contender after losing his title and Dvalishvili sitting in the second spot just behind him. Both of them are also known for employing their wrestling skills to great effect in their MMA careers, so they are both competent grapplers too.
Wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu competition are vastly different worlds though and even though there’s a lot of crossover in the skills required to succeed, they still employ different rulesets. The biggest difference is that most Jiu-Jitsu rulesets actually allow for pulling guard, which is actually a great tactical choice when dealing with an opponent who has better standing grappling. Although it might be conceding the bottom position, it’s also doing so on your own terms and many elite BJJ competitors are perfectly happy accepting playing guard.
That rule is something that infuriated Aljamain Sterling at Fury Pro Grappling 8, as his opponent Kevin Dantzler was happy to play guard during their match instead of standing and wrestling with him. When Sterling wasn’t able to pass Dantzler’s guard and appeared unwilling to open up to do so, he lost a decision against him. It turns out that Sterling isn’t the only MMA veteran to find himself in this predicament though, as Dvalishvili apparently still has some hard feelings after he also lost a decision to Dantzler back at Fury Pro Grappling 2.
Merab Dvalishvili joined in with Aljamain Sterling and his criticism of Kevin Dantzler’s approach to their BJJ matches in a recent post to his official Twitter account:
— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) January 9, 2024