Cody Stamann (19-3-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC) will seek to avoid the wrestling heavy approach of Merab Dvalishvili (12-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and return to the wins column when the two bantamweight collide at the UFC event on May 1.
Cody Stamann vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Stamann noted Dvalishvili as a tough fighter who has been able to implement his fight over everyone he has fought in the UFC so far. “The Spartan” also gave props to Dvalishvili’s cardio, although Stamann believes he has experienced Dvalishvili’s approach throughout his own career.
“I came to the Midwest where everyone is primarily a wrestler who is all good,” Stamann told MMASucka. “I fought tough wrestlers in the UFC before Merab. Maybe not someone who will shoot you 30 times. I fought Bryan Caraway and he shot me 25 times. As an adversary, I have been here before.
Stamann made a split decision over Caraway in March 2018 in what was only his third UFC appearance. He noted that Caraway and Dvalishvili both exhibit different wrestling styles, as Caraway is an American, while Dvalishvili is from the country of Georgia who has since moved to Long Island, New York.
“Caraway is more of an American style wrestler,” Stamann said. “He’s going to shoot for your legs. A lot of Russians and Georgians are upper body guys. They’re better at melee than maybe Caraway. It’s the same kind of deal. You have a guy who is a bit sloppy. All of his offense on his feet is a way to get a takedown. “
Stamann said he grew up fighting opponents who sought to defeat him.
“If there’s one aspect of my MMA game that I trust and rely on, it’s my takedown defense,” Stamann said. “It brought me to the show. It got me to where I am today. For me stylistically, this fight is a great game. I couldn’t quite understand why Merab wanted to take it. I don’t know if he had anything to prove or what the deal was, or maybe I was the only person offered to him. I do not know. If I were Merab, I would have fought anyone but me.
Stamann’s response to Georgian fans
Stamann said the only time he had felt a comparable motivation to win a fight was when he was fighting. Brian Kelleher in June 2020 after the sudden death of his 18-year-old brother, Jacob Stamann, a week and a half before the fight. Cody Stamann defeated Kelleher by unanimous decision in what was one of his sharpest performances in the UFC.
When Stamann signed on to fight Dvalishvili, some Georgia fans took to Stamann’s social media accounts to leave comments that targeted his family.
“My family is something I hold and cherish,” Stamann said. “It’s the most important thing in my life for me. A lot of Georgian fans, when this fight was originally signed, they said some nasty things about my deceased brother and my mother. Stuff unrelated to the fighting. It really burned a hole in me. It bothered me deeply. I’m hanging on to that, as unhealthy as that might be, because if I’m having a hard time motivating myself to fuck ass, work hard, I think about what these people said, and all of a sudden , I am the most motivated human on Earth. “
Stamann made it clear that he was not generalizing the Georgians as a whole.
“I believe 99.9% of Georgians are probably great people,” he said. “I don’t know the culture. I don’t know the people. The people who fell under my skin, they took him to a place where there was no need to go. It really started a fire under my ass.
When asked what his message was to fans who were targeting his family, Stamann said:
“Bet your house on this fight. Bet your whole house. Bet everything you own.
Being the underdog
Stamann is currently an underdog of +175, according to several punters listed on BestFightOdds.com. Dvalishvili is a -220 favorite on some bookies.
Stamann said the underdog etiquette was not a familiar sentiment to him. He was seen as the underdog against Tom duquesnoy, current champion Aljamain Sterling and Song yadong. Stamann beat Duquesnoy and drew with Yadong in a fight that many believe Stamann won.
Stamann, however, said the label of outsider was justified against Dvalishvili.
“If you look at my last performance and Merab’s last performance, that makes sense. I had an absolutely terrible performance against Jimmie rivera. I didn’t look good at all. If that’s what people rely on, I understand why I would be an underdog. I would make me an outsider too. I think anytime you’ve got someone as stubborn as a wrestler like Merab there’s a good chance you’re not a favorite in that fight.
Stamann thinks bettors may have forgotten that he is a top wrestler himself.
“I’m known for taking guys down,” he said. “If you look at the level of opponent that Merab and I faced, it’s not even close. I only fought ranked opponents. Merab has a ranked opponent under his belt in John Dodson. Other than that, he hasn’t really fought anyone at my level.
Stamann holds UFC wins over Duquesnoy, Caraway, Kelleher, Alejandro perez and Terrion Ware. Dvalishvili’s CV features prevail over Dodson, Casey kenney, and Ware, to name a few.
Stamann laughed when he heard that Dvalishvili had called a rising prospect “Sugar”. Sean O’Malley for a fight in July – two months after he and the Georgian have to fight.
– Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) April 14, 2021
“I think he makes a huge mistake calling anyone after fighting me,” Stamann said. “The chances of Merab getting Sean O’Malley are slim to none. It is quite surprising. Merab seems like a pretty humble guy, but maybe I was looking down on him.
“He thinks he’s going to have Sean; I mean, maybe. After they beat it really well, they’ll give it to Sean O’Malley, because that’s the kind of fights Sean O’Malley has… IIf you win and you’re on a roll, you’re not fighting Sean O’Malley. You have to lose a few in a row to get the fight against O’Malley. If you were good, but lost four fights in a row, Sean O’Malley is your guy.
Stamann’s last fight was against Rivera in July 2020. He took the fight on five days notice across the ocean to Abu Dhabi.
“It was the shell of a human who went over there and fought it,” Stamann said. “I know I have improved. I’ve been training with the same guys for a year and a half. I can see the gap. It is getting bigger and bigger every day. I know I am better. I know I can compete with the best. I’m dying to be able to prove it.
Preparation of Cody Stamann
Stamann was originally scheduled to fight Dvalishvili in December before the fight failed. He was next to fight Andre Ewell in February before Ewell stepped down. Askar Askar almost stepped in to fight Stamann on that same event, but Askar was not medically cleared.
“It takes a long time to prepare for something. I have never been so disappointed or so active in the gym for so long. I am the best athlete of my life. “
Stamann says Dvalishvili would have held up better if they had fought in December. From now on, Stamann feels he has had plenty of time to prepare for the Georgian’s pace.
“It’ll either be a 15-minute wrestling match or a five-minute wrestling match, and then I’m going to dance on Merab’s unconscious fucking body,” Stamann said.
Cody Stamann and Merab Dvalishvili are scheduled to face off on Saturday May 1 at a UFC event where the venue has yet to be released, according to the Tapology roster. The event is expected to be headlined by a light heavyweight match between Dominick reyes and Jiri Prochazka.
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