UFC 292 TIPS
Aljamin Sterling vs Sean O’Malley
Sterling – 23-3 (3 wins by KO/TKO)
O’Malley – 16-1 (1) (11 wins by KO/TKO)
Sterling def Cejudo – Decision (split) – UFC 288, May 2023
O’Malley def Yan – Decision (split) – UFC 280, October 2022
Analysis: Headling the UFC 292 card will be the bout between Aljamin Sterling and Sean O’Malley, as the former looks to defend the UFC Bantamweight Championship. In what will be a blockbuster showdown, a victory to Sterling would cement his spot as the best 135-pound fighter, whilst a victory to O’Malley would see his rise continue- a rise that rivals the likes of UFC legends Conor McGregor and Israel Adesanya.
UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamin Sterling has emerged victorious in nine consecutive victories over ranked opponents and is coming off a win against Henry Cejudo- breaking the record for most consecutive UFC Bantamweight title defences at the same exact time. Having not lost since 2017, he is a submission machine and an ultimate grappler.
Whilst Sterling may be a grappler, his opponent Sean O’Malley is more of a striker. Aiming to become the best fighter in the division, ‘Sugar’ will be looking to end the fight quickly with a KO/TKO to Sterling, adding another highlight to his lengthy highlight reels he has already accomplished so far in the UFC.
Having not lost since 2017, it is hard to see Sterling losing the fight. A grappler by trade, the only way O’Malley could walk away with an upset is if he ends the fight early, knocking out Sterling with his hands, legs, or knee. If that is not the case – which is extremely likely – Sterling is unbeatable. However, with two of his last three fights going to distance, it is likely he will win by points, with the bout going the distance.
Zhang Weili vs Amanda Lemos
Zhang – 23-3 (11 wins by KO/TKO)
Lemos – 13-2-1 (8 wins by KO/TKO)
Zhang def Esparza – Submission – UFC 281, November 2023
Lemos def Rodriguez – TKO – UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Lemos, November 2022
Analysis: In the co-main event on the UFC 292 card, Brazilan martial artist Amanda Lemos will be looking to dethrone Weili Zhang from the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship she has held since defeating Carla Esparza in late 2022.
After back-to-back losses in 2021 to Rose Namajunas, Zhang is coming off the two best performances of her career, illustrating she has gotten better with age, just like fine wine. Tearing the house down against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (in what some consider the best women’s MMA match of all-time), it only took her 2:28 to dispatch her and followed this with a submission against Carla Esparza in the second round to claim back the belt she previously held.
Although Amanda Lemos is a deserving challenger for the title and will put up a good showing, the Brazilian is likely to be no match for Zhang. Lemos will look to lock down her opponent with a guillotine choke (submission) or punches (KO/TKO) quickly into the fight. The longer the fight goes, the less chance she has of walking away with the championship belt.
With Zhang emerging victorious in nearly 50 per cent of her wins via KO/TKO, she will be looking to get Lemos tired before striking her with multiple punches and knee strikes. One of the strongest in the division, her one-shot power is astounding, and it will only take her a matter of seconds to knock out the Brazilian challenger.
Ian Machado Garry vs Neil Magny
Garry – 12-0 (7 wins by KO/TKO)
Magny – 28-11 (7 wins by KO/TKO)
Garry def Rodriguez – TKO – UFC on ABC: Rozenstruik vs Almeida, May 2023
Magny def Rowe – Decision (split) – UFC on ABC: Emmett vs Topuria, June 2023
Analysis: One of the most experienced fighters in the welterweight division, Neil Magny, will go up against one of the promotion’s most exciting prospects Ian Machado Garry, who is yet to experience a loss.
Entering his 13th professional bout and sixth on a UFC card, Garry will be looking to continue racking up the wins. In what will be his toughest test on a UFC card, the fight could decide whether he remains one of the best prospects in the promotion as an undefeated rising star or if he becomes just another name lost in the fold and adding a loss to his career mixed martial arts record.
On the opposite side of the Octagon will be Neil Magny, a fighter that has built an incredible career in the division and is skilled and crafty. Whilst he is easily the underdog in the fight, he will be looking to make it a tough win for Garry and a surprising shock could always come to fruition.
Confident throughout all of his 12 victories in his career to date, the 25-year-old Garry has the advantage in the fight in all aspects. Set to start strong, Garry will be looking to add Magny’s name to the list of people he has knocked out. And if the fight goes longer than expected or goes the distance, his youngness and fitness will easily be able to outlast his opponent.
Da’Mon Blackshear vs Mario Bautista
Blackshear – 14-5-1 (2 wins by KO/TKO)
Bautista- 12-2 (3 wins by KO/TKO)
Blackshear def Johnson – Submission – UFC Fight Night: Luque vs Dos Anjos, August 2023
Bautista def Cannetti – Submission – UFC Fight Night: Yan vs Dvalishvili, March 2023
Analysis: Da’Mon Blackshear will be attempting to make history after stepping in as a late replacement for Cody Garbrandt to take on Mario Bautista, who is on a four-fight winning hot streak.
Da’Mon Blackshear is looking to make history at UFC 292 and took on the challenge to compete against Bautista, despite a short turnaround- a victory would see him break Khamzat Chimaev’s record of two UFC wins in the fewest amount of days (10). However, he will be facing a difficult challenge not just physically but also mentally as he has to drop down a weight class.
Mario Bautista will be looking to extend his winning streak to five victories on the UFC 292 card. Entering the fight as the favourite, Bautista will be eager to showcase his grappling skills rather than striking Blackshear. His past three wins have come from submission manoeuvres- rear-naked choke and reverse triangle armbar.
Expect the unexpected. Fighting on a 7-day turnaround, an upset is on the cards for Blackshear, who enters the bout under no pressure. That may be the difference, as Mario Bautista will have to adjust tactics and will be under extra pressure for the bout, considering he will face Blackshear and not the injured Cody Garbrandt.
Marlon Vera vs Pedro Munhoz
Vera – 20-8-1 (8 wins by KO/TKO)
Munhoz – 20-7 (5 wins by KO/TKO)
Vera def by Sandhagen – Decision (split) – UFC on ESPN: Vera vs Sandhagen, March 2023
Munhoz def Gutierrez – Decision (unanimous) – UFC on ESPN: Holloway vs Allen, April 2023
Analysis: Having both previously fought Sean O’Malley, bantamweight division fighters Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz will be looking to outdo each other and show off their talents on the UFC 292 card.
Marlon Vera enters the fight as the only individual on the card to lose his previous bout- lost to Cory Sandhagen on the card of UFC on ESPN: Vera vs Sandhagen. However, despite the loss, he still sits as No. 6 on the rankings and will be eager to get back into the winning column after the loss halted his four-fight winning streak.
Taking on Vera is Brazilian Pedro Munhoz, who steps in as a replacement for the injured Henry Cejudo, announced at the start of July. Having shared the Octagon with multiple well-known opponents, Munhoz will be eager to push forward in the rankings as he aims to make a name for himself slowly.
After having lost his previous fight to Cory Sandhagen less than six months ago, Vera will be looking to come out of the blocks early and be aggressive from the get-go. With two KO/TKO’s in his past four fights, the 2022 Most Improved Fighter of the Year (ESPN) will be looking to add another Top 10 victory to his resume as he chases the championship- a first-round KO/TKO would see him continually taken as a serious competitor for the belt.