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Sean O’Malley’s coach expects Aljamain Sterling to be ‘diving at Sean’s legs’ early at UFC 292

Tim Welch thinks “Funkmaster” is too good at grappling to waste time standing with Sean O’Malley ... which could open up other opportunities for “Suga” to exploit.

There’s no real secret on how UFC 292’s main event between Bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling, and No. 2-ranked challenger, Sean O’Malley, is going to go this weekend (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023) inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachussets: Either Sterling is going to get the fight to the ground, or O’Malley is going to box up the champ on the feet.

Neither man (for the most part) has denied what side their bread is buttered on. Now, O’Malley’s head mixed martial arts (MMA) coach, Tim Welch, is offering his insight into how he expects Sterling’s takedowns to lead to a knockout win for “Suga.”

Indeed, one week ago Welch tweeted, “A good chance Sugar KO’s Aljo next week.” And in a new interview with Submission Radio, he explained what prompted that message.

“It was probably after a training session, just seeing how dialed in he is with his timing and how fast and accurate he is,” Welch said. “And everyone’s gameplan against Sean has been, pin him against the cage and try to take him down. And you see very good guys trying to stalk him, and it’s way harder than they think.

“But, I think Aljo is such a good athlete,” Welch continued. “He’s so funky that he’s going to take risks. And he’s going to try to grab Sean. He’s going to take a big risk. And that’s also going to open up the knockout for us. Like I said, Sean can knock people out with every one of his limbs. So, if he lunges in at the wrong time, he could get some knuckles bounced off his chin, and it could be the end of the night. So, I think I tweeted that after a workout when Sean’s feeling really, really sharp and just hitting so hard.”

While Welch recognizes Sterling as the best Bantamweight champion in UFC history, he believes “The Funkmaster” will end up being a little too desperate for a takedown in the face of O’Malley’s offensive capabilities.

“I think especially once he feels something buzz by his face or crack him a little bit, he’s going to be diving at Sean’s legs,” he said. “I think he’s going to sprint right at him, try to cut him off, and then put him against the fence and take him down.

“He’s so funky, he’s so funky,” he continued. “Some of his takedowns against the fence, they’re such good entries, there’s not even a spot to crack him. When he pins people on the fence and he’s punching — and you know he’s probably going to shoot in a second — he’s so good at punching and getting into entry, there’s not even room for him to get KO’d. So, I definitely think that’s his plan. Especially when we’re in the open.

“He’s probably going to stand about three, four feet away, throw some stupid stuff, and try to get Sean to over-commit,” Welch concluded. “And then drop down into a double leg. For sure, the longer it’s on the feet, the higher the chances that Sean’s gonna KO him.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 292: “Sterling vs. O’Malley” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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