In terms of impact, I’d say Dolidze did more in the second half of 2022 than Kevin Holland did in his entire 2020 run, but with about half the fanfare.
Entering the year after a lukewarm unanimous decision over Laureano Staropoli a year earlier, Doldize recorded his first of three wins in June by knocking out Kyle Daukaus with a punishing knee to the face along the fence just 73 seconds into the game. fight. Four months later, he notched a second straight first-round finish and a Performance of the Night bonus by knocking out Phil Hawes, only getting there after nearly ripping his leg out of his body moments earlier.
UFC 286 fight-by-fight preview
And then five weeks later, the Georgian jumped at the chance to replace Derek Brunson against Jack Hermansson and scored a second-round stoppage victory over ‘The Joker’, pinning him belly to the canvas with a calf slicer before unleashing a series of unresponsive bombs that ended the fight.
Three fights, three wins, three finishes and three bonuses, leaving Dolidze on a four-fight winning streak and placed in the Top 10 in the middleweight division. This weekend in London, he is looking to crack into the Top 5 as he continues his winning streak with a win over Marvin Vettori.
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The 29-year-old Italian walks into a bit of a weird spot, having only lost to Israel Adesanya (twice) and Robert Whittaker in the last five years, but only recorded two wins and four appearances since the end of 2020. He’s a durable, grimy veteran despite still being south of 30, and should provide a stern test for Dolidze on Saturday.
As great as the 34-year-old has seemed recently, this weekend’s pairing with Vettori is the real measuring stick – it’s the one he needs to earn to rise to the next level in the 185 ranks. pounds, and if he does that, he could find himself in a second-half title eliminator.
Christian Leroy Duncan