Tim Welch: Merab Dvalishvili never fought someone like Sean O’Malley, ‘who can put your lights out, one punch’

Tim Welch thinks Sean O'Malley’s power will surprise Merab Dvalishvili.

Bantamweight champion O’Malley (18-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is targeting Dvalishvili (17-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) for his next title defense – a matchup that his head coach Welch knows will be tough.

Dvalishvili was rocked badly in his finish over Marlon Moraes at UFC 266, and was stumbled in his most recent win over Henry Cejudo at UFC 298. But Welch says if O’Malley lands clean on Dvalishvili, it will be a different story. He sees O’Malley’s height posing problems.

“Merab is a serious tank,” Welch said on his YouTube channel. “(He has a) 10-fight win streak, and it’s against guys like this: John Dodson 5’2; Cody Stamann 5’2; Marlon Moraes 5’6; Jose Aldo, I think, what, 5’6, 5’7?; Petr Yan 5’2; Henry Cejudo is a clean 5’0. So it’s guys that are a little bit shorter than ‘Sugar.’

“Sean’s a solid 5’10, knows how to control the distance, loves when people load up on punches – and Merab loads up. It’s going to be an interesting fight. We’ve never fought no one like Merab. Obviously, he’s a machine and he’s not going to stop. But Merab’s never fought no one like ‘The Sugar Show’ who can put your lights out, one punch.”

(Tapology lists Dodson’s height as 5-foot-3, Stamann 5-foot-6, Moraes 5-foot-6, Aldo 5-foot-7, Yan 5-foot-7 and Cejudo 5-foot-4. The site lists O’Malley as 5-foot-11, as does

O’Malley, who’s fresh off avenging his loss to Marlon Vera in the UFC 299 headliner earlier this month, wants to dismiss the notion he’s avoiding Dvalishvili. He initially called out featherweight champion Ilia Topuria, but quickly pivoted to the streaking Dvalishvili.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie