Urijah Faber: Merab Dvalishvili is a bad matchup, but ‘Sean O’Malley’s grappling is really good’

Urijah Faber says don’t underestimate Sean O'Malley’s grappling against Merab Dvalishvili.

UFC bantamweight champion O’Malley (18-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) is projected to make his next title defense against Dvalishvili (17-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in what many expect will be his toughest matchup to date.

Dvalishvili’s relentless grappling pace has posed problems for many – including Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo at UFC 298. “The Machine” is on a 10-fight winning streak.

“I think it’s going to be hard to say,” Faber told LowKick MMA. “You would think so, but no one else has been able to (stop the wrestling), even Henry Cejudo. Honestly, that’s a bad matchup for O’Malley because Merab is so durable.

“That dude is durable. He’s gone against some killers, and just kind of walked through their best offense. The only time he’s really been hurt is when he knocked himself out, slamming himself.”

O’Malley knocked out Dvalishvili’s training partner Aljamain Sterling to claim the bantamweight title at UFC 292. He was able to fend off Sterling’s two takedown attempts and keep the fight on the feet.

Faber isn’t counting O’Malley out if the fight hits the mat.

“O’Malley has got that ‘it’ factor,” Faber said. “He’s got a finesse about him. He’s got a matador type of style. Merab is definitely a bull, and if O’Malley can have his perfect fight, he’ll just be tagging him with clean shots and staying on the outside.

“O’Malley’s grappling is really good. I’ve trained with some of his training partners, really high-level training partners. They know how to wrestle, they know jiu-jitsu. It could go either way.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie