ROC 59’s Dvalishvili looking to hand first loss to Stots

Merab Dvalishvili has belt wraped around his waist as Ring of Combat 58 on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. Photo Credit: Ring of Combat.

Defending his strap for the first time in his career is not the only goal current Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion Merb Dvalishvili is looking to accomplish at ROC 59.

The fighter out of team Serra Longo is looking to hand Raufeon Stots (8-0 MMA, 0-0 ROC) his first career defeat. The event is scheduled for the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey June 2, 2017..

Although Dvalishvili is preparing for an opponent who never tasted defeat before, the champion is sticking to his regular routine.

“I approach every fight with the same dedication and determination, whether it is for a title or not,” Davalishvili said. “I always study my opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and maybe change my own technique a bit accordingly.”

Fighting out of Roufus Sports in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Stots comes into the bout with experience against former UFC and WEC fighters. He is a type of fighter, Dvalishvili has yet to face.

Most recently, Stots earned a unanimous decision against former UFC fighter Rob Emerson at Victory Fighting Championships 56 April 14, 2017. Previously, Stots earned another decision against former WEC veteran Jeff Curran at VFC 53 Nov. 23, 2016.

For the first time in his career, Dvalishvili will enter the ROC cage as a belt holder. In his last outing at ROC 58, the Tbilisi, Georgia native captured the strap by tapping out Sukhrob Aydarbekov with a second-round arm-bar Feb. 24, 2017.

The win marked Dvalishvili’s fifth straight victory. During his streak, he defeated Aydarbekov, Tony Gravely, Paul Grant, Matt Tullos and Geoffrey Then.

The last time Devalishvili suffered a loss came at the hand of Ricky Bandejas.

Bandejas won via unanimous decision at Cage Fury Fighting Championships 43 Nov. 1, 2014. At the time, Bandejas entered the bout the same way Stots will come into the ROC cage, undefeated.

As the bout grows closer, Dvalishvili is doing what he can to have his hand raised against Stots.

“Otherwise it is status quo for me,” Dvalishvili said. “Committing myself to long hours of well rounded training with the Serra Longo Fight Team in Garden City, New York.”

Since losing to Bandejas, Dvalishvili faced one another undefeated opponent in Tullos as he entered the bout against Dvalishvili with a (1-0) record. The Georgian fighter earned a decision in that bout at Classic Entertainment and Sports 36 June 10, 2016.

Although Tullos is less experienced than Stots, Dvalishvili is hoping for the same result. In the end, he welcomes the challenge.

“I do believe the results of June 2nd will change his status,” Dvalishvili said. “I am more then ready to take on Stots and look forward to share a win with my teammates, coaches, friends, family, fans, and most importantly my home country of Georgia.”

By NJ MMA News Staff




Writing for NJ MMA New since 2011, Connor is passionate about covering local mixed martial arts. He graduated from Temple University’s School of Media and Communications with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. His love for MMA stems from his past as a high school wrestler and jiu-jitsu blue belt. Former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino coached Connor in his senior year of high school. He worked as a Rally Sports Desk report for The Philadelphia Inquirer and interned as a sports reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.