UFC 298: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo Prediction, Pick and Odds

Look for 'The Machine' to add another former champion to his resume.

Aug 20, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Merab Dvalishvili (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Jose
Aug 20, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Merab Dvalishvili (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Jose / Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
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In a clash of similar styles, Merab Dvalishvili and Henry Cejudo will throw down with the potential opportunity for UFC gold on the line.

Sharing many similarities on paper, Dvalishvili and Cejudo align with each other's respective skill sets fairly closely. Though with the talk of the fight surrounding Cejudo's potential retirement, there is little we can do as bettors to predict which version of the former champion will show up.

Though opening as an underdog, Dvalishvili has now swelled to over 2-1 as the favorite with Cejudo coming back as high as +215 on some sites.

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Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo odds, total

Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo best bet

As we mentioned, this matchup appears close on paper but a lot of the intangibles lean heavily toward Dvalishvili who has too much to lose to fall flat in his third straight No. 1 contender fight.

With friend and teammate Aljamain Sterling now out of the divisional title picture, the bantamweight belt is now in sight for Dvalishvili who has essentially been the best bantamweight in the world since dominating Petr Yan nearly one year ago.

Expect a motivated Dvalishvili to have two elite advantages against anybody that all fighters want on their side: cardio and defense.

As a pressure fighter, Dvalishvili has never been the best pure wrestler despite using that skill as his primary base. Against similar wrestling-heavy fighters who were actually better pure wrestlers than him, Dvalishvili succeeded against Cody Stamann, Ricky Simon and Brad Katona. Nobody mixes up wrestling in an MMA setting better than Dvalishvili, who uses it as more of a threat to his true weapon of cardio.

As a striker, Dvalishvili is less polished but Cejudo is not the type of fighter to exploit his openings. What many seem to overlook is how confident the Serra Longo Fight Team was in preparing Sterling for Cejudo at UFC 288, making this fight essentially the second time Dvalishvili has prepared for the former Olympic gold medalist.

Against Sterling's former opponents, Dvalishvili is 3-0 including his eye-opening dominance against Yan.

We do not want to read too much into the retirement talk from Cejudo, but it cannot be ignored. Cejudo has already retired once before and the fact that he can see a light at the end of the tunnel is never a good sign in MMA.

Rarely do fighters ever win retirement fights and Cejudo has different priorities in his life now as a father after over 20 years in combat sports.

When Dvalishvili wins, it has tended to be by decision with 75 percent of his wins of that nature. Cejudo has not been finished since 2016 against Demetrious Johnson, a much better finisher than Dvalishvili. Take Dvalishvili by decision as the best prop bet of this matchup with the Over 2.5 providing great value as well.

Prediction: Dvalishvili by decision

Best bet: Merab Dvalishvili by decision (-125)


Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change