UFC 292: Sterling vs. O'Malley Preview

UFC 292: Sterling vs. O'Malley Preview

Taylor Dow|
August 18, 2023|

The UFC returns to Boston this weekend when future Hall of Famer Aljamain Sterling puts his Bantamweight title on the line against the rising star Sean O'Malley.
This event will also feature a Strawweight title fight between Champion Zhang Weili and exciting up-and-comer Amanda Lemos.
During the early prelims, three intriguing matchups occur between Andre Petroski/Gerald Meerschaert, Andrea Lee/Natália Silva, and Karine Silva/Maryna Moroz.
To begin the prelim portion of the evening, TUF 31 finalists take center stage to throw down in hopes of winning a UFC contract. Two Middleweight showdowns close out the prelims as Gregory Rodrigues takes on Denis Tiuliulin, and Chris Weidman makes his long-awaited return against Brad Tavares.
In anticipation of this legendary card, let's break down the five main card fights as they appear on the VerdictMMA app.

(#6) Marlon Vera vs. (#10) Pedro Munhoz

In the opening fight of the main card, top 10 Bantamweights Pedro Munhoz and Marlon Vera finally meet in the Octagon. This fight is the kind of matchup that's surprising it hasn't happened already; both men have been at the upper end of the division for so long and have fought everyone already, except each other.
Both men are stepping into their second fights of 2023, with Vera coming off a loss and Munhoz coming off a win.
Some common opponents between the two men are Sean O'Malley, Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, and Rob Font, most of which are losses for Munhoz and wins for Vera.
Both men debuted in the UFC in 2014; Munhoz's UFC record is 10-7 2 NC, and Vera's is 14-7. Their MMA records are nearly identical; Munhoz is 20-7 2 NC (5 KO, 8 SUB), and Vera is 20-8-1 (8 KO, 8 SUB).
A big win here could begin to clear a path back to the title for either man, but with such an even bout on our hands, who knows what will happen.


Da'Mon Blackshear vs. Mario Bautista

Da'Mon Blackshear returns after an incredible twister submission he locked in less than 7 days ago at UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Dos Anjos, tying the record of the shortest turnaround with Loopy Godinez. Mario Bautista was initially scheduled to face ex-champion Cody Garbrandt; however, he pulled out due to injury.
Da'Mon Blackshear is 14-5-1 (2-1-1 UFC) and has never been finished as a professional. Blackshear favors the submission, with 9 of his wins coming by way of submission and 2 by knockout. Mario Bautista is 12-2 (6-2 UFC) and also favors the submission attack, with 3 of his last 4 wins being submissions. Bautista has been in the UFC since 2019 and has only seen 2 decisions in his 8 fights.
Bautista and Blackshear are must-see TV for their tenacity and finishing capability, and with such a big spotlight on the main card, this is a massive opportunity for both men.

(#11) Neil Magny vs. (#13) Ian Machado Garry

In the lone Welterweight fight of the card, Neil Magny takes on Ian Machado Garry in this veteran vs. prospect matchup.
Garry erupted onto the scene with a first-round knockout at UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2 and has looked unbeatable since. Garry is a perfect 12-0 with a whopping 7 knockouts. Garry is coming off a round 1 knockout of Daniel Rodriguez, which earned him his first Performance of the Night award. Garry is undoubtedly the biggest prospect hailing from Ireland since Conor McGregor, and with a nickname like "The Future," Garry has some clear title aspirations.
Neil Magny is a UFC veteran of over 10 years, averaging 3 fights a year since his debut. Magny is a true "anywhere, any time" kind of fighter and has faced the who's who of the Welterweight division. Magny has not lost two fights in a row since the year he debuted and has had a colossal 30 consecutive UFC fights. Magny's record is 28-10 (21-9 UFC), and he holds the record for the most Welterweight wins in UFC history.
There is so much to love about this fight; a star on the rise, or a veteran upsetting the show, this fight will be exciting.


(C) Zhang Weili vs. (#5) Amanda Lemos

The 2-time Women's Strawweight champion returns in her first fight of 2023 against rising star Amanda Lemos. Lemos has looked incredible in her last two fights, scoring dominant finishes in both.
This matchup is notable because these women are very similar; they are both powerful strikers who excel at blitzing combinations and are both aces on the ground. Both of these ladies prefer to avoid seeing the judges' scorecards, resulting in them having a combined 30 finishes.
Zhang recently regained her title with a dominant submission over Carla Esparza to close out 2022. Zhang is 23-3 (7-2 UFC) and shares one of the greatest fights ever with Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Zhang was the 2022 ESPN Female Fighter of the Year and the first Chinese UFC Champion.
Lemos debuted in the UFC in 2017 in a short-notice Bantamweight fight and took the first loss of her career against Leslie Smith. Following this, Lemos tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended for two years. Lemos returned after her suspension at her proper weight class of 115 lbs and took on Miranda Granger, who she beat by first-round submission. Since then, Lemos has looked incredible, going 7-1 with four finishes over some of the Strawweight elite.
Lemos is 13-2 as a professional and expects to have a war with Zhang.
With gold on the line, we can only assume violence for a fight like this.

(C) Aljamain Sterling vs. (#2) Sean O'Malley

The main event of the evening! A potential Bantamweight GOAT in the making, Aljamain Sterling has looked unstoppable during his title run. Sterling is on a 9-fight win streak, with wins over Henry Cejudo, TJ Dillashaw, Petr Yan x2, Cory Sandhagen, and Pedro Munhoz. Sterling is 23-3 (15-3 UFC) and has only been finished once as a professional. Sterling likes to get it done using his jiu-jitsu black belt and has secured various submissions, such as the Suloev stretch, rear-naked choke, guillotine choke, and arm-triangle choke.
Sean O'Malley has been a star since his first fight on Dana White's Contender Series, and that star power has multiplied every time he's fought. O'Malley is 16-1 1 NC (8-1 1 NC UFC) and has the fourth-most knockouts at Bantamweight.
O'Malley will become the third fighter from the Contender Series to fight for a UFC title when he meets Aljamain Sterling, and if he is successful, will become the second Contender Series veteran to become a UFC Champion.
On one side, we could see Sterling cement himself in the history books as the greatest Bantamweight ever to compete, or O'Malley live up to his hype from 2017 to dethrone the champion and earn UFC gold in fairytale fashion.


DougLasVegasBets.net Plays

Sean O'Malley
Ian Garry by KO/TKO
Marlon Vera + Over 1.5 Rounds

Remember to make your picks in the VerdictMMA app to flex that top 10% belt to your friends.

All of your weekly MMA updates in one place.
Keeping up to date with combat sports news can take up a lot of time, so we’re simplifying the process by bringing the most important stories directly to you. We read the internet all week and then summarize what you need to know in 3-4 minutes.
Enter your email to sign up for the OverUnder newsletter. The first email newsletter in MMA.
By subscribing, you will receive a weekly MMA newsletter from Verdict MMA. You can unsubscribe at any time.