Two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world titles are on the line in Boston, Mass., this weekend (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023) when Bantamweight roost-ruler, Aljamain Sterling, and women’s Strawweight queenpin, Zhang Weili, defend their belts against ferocious finishers Sean O’Malley and Amanda Lemos, respectively. UFC 292’s pay-per-view (PPV) lineup also sees Marlon Vera face Pedro Munhoz in a delightfully volatile Bantamweight clash and a pair of hackjob bouts that see Ian Machado Garry and Mario Bautista battle late replacements Neil Magny and Da’Mon Blackshear, respectively.
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My hypothesis was that Marshall’s wrestling skills would allow him to, if not totally neutralize Isaac Dulgarian’s grappling offense, then at least wear him down enough for Marshall to take over down the stretch. Dulgarian’s takedowns proved nastier than I expected and, unfortunately for Marshall, his ground-and-pound was every bit as effective as it was on the regional circuit (watch it).
The vast majority of viewers had Dawodu winning, as did Cub Swanson himself. I believe Dawodu’s jabs, low kicks and clinchwork dictated the first two rounds outside of Swanson’s heavy right hand to start the first and solid flurry to end the second. Still, moral victories don’t count.
What Went Right?
Josh Fremd, Luana Santos, Iasmin Lucindo, Martin Buday, Marcus McGhee and Khalil Rountree Jr.
UFC 292 Odds For The Under Card:
Brad Tavares (-270) vs. Chris Weidman (+220)
I say skip it. Tavares got demolished last time and Weidman’s been out for two years. There’s no telling how either man will look.
Andre Petroski (-245) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+200)
This honestly just looks like a repeat of Meerschaert’s loss to Joe Pyfer, which saw him face a younger, stronger wrestler and get blasted to kingdom come. Petroski has addressed several of the bugbears that dogged him on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), namely his cardio issues, and seemingly has all the right skills to shut down “GM3’s” offense and hand him another knockout defeat.
Natalia Silva (-355) vs. Andrea Lee (+280)
If you need a bit of extra juice on a parlay, Silva’s a reasonably safe investment. Lee can’t match her speed and power on the feet and the only person “KGB” decisively out-grappled in the Octagon was Antonina Shevchenko.
Austin Hubbard (N/A) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (N/A)
Full disclosure: DraftKings itself does not have lines for this fight at time of writing. Other sportsbooks do, however. Several offer -175 on “Thud” and I am all over that. Holobaugh is a natural Featherweight with serious takedown defense issues, and when Hubbard can physically overpower his opponents, things tend to go well for him.
Gregory Rodrigues (-355) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (+280)
Bet on “Robocop,” but don’t make him the core of your weekend’s investments. If he wrestles the grappling-inept Tiuliulin, he wins this 999/1,000 times, but there’s a good chance he just comes out trying to take Tiuliulin’s head off. Though he still wins a striking battle, he’s been clipped before.
Karine Silva (-155) vs. Maryna Moroz (+130)
Skip it. I think Moroz has what it takes to pull off the upset, but there’s also a high likelihood that Silva just takes her down inside of 30 seconds and taps her from there.
UFC 292 Odds For The Main Card:
Aljamain Sterling (-258) vs. Sean O’Malley (+210)
Hammer that Sterling line. O’Malley is not prepared for this level of grappling — the only competent wrestler he’s faced thus far was Petr Yan, who took him down six times. I’m not convinced he has some insurmountable edge on the feet, either. It’s easy to forget that Sterling embarrassed Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera without completing a single shot on either man. There are losing matchups for Sterling out there, but O’Malley isn’t one of them.
Zhang Weili (-330) vs. Amanda Lemos (+240)
Lemos has pulled off some ultra-impressive feats of violence in the Octagon. She’s also underwhelmed more than once; for example, the vast majority of viewers had her losing two rounds to Angela Hill after dropping her early and — despite dwarfing Michelle Waterson — she struggled on the feet before finding “The Karate Hottie’s” neck. Zhang is far more consistent and experienced in five-rounders, so she’s got my vote.
Marlon Vera (-185) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+154)
Put a little flyer on Munhoz. If this was a five-rounder, it wouldn’t even be close, but Munhoz is both a much busier striker and functionally indestructible. I can definitely see “The Young* Punisher” out-working Vera for two rounds and letting Vera’s comeback onslaught bounce off his face to no effect.
Ian Machado Garry (-455) vs. Neil Magny (+350)
Probably too wide, but I wouldn’t begrudge a small bet on Garry, especially if there’s an underdog you want to beef up. Magny looked almost like a parody of himself against Phil Rowe, while Garry seems to have finally put it all together.
Mario Bautista (N/A) vs. Da’Mon Blackshear (N/A)
Odds aren’t out at time of writing.
UFC 292 Best Bets:
- Parlay — Pedro Munhoz and Ian Machado Garry: Bet $10 to make $20.98
- Parlay — Aljamain Sterling and Andre Petroski: Bet $40 to make $38.09
- Parlay — Zhang Weili and Austin Hubbard: Bet $40 to make $43.13
- Parlay — Gregory Rodrigues and Natalia Silva: Bet $40 to make $25.71
UFC 292 is not what it used to be, but odds are we’re in for some delightfully visceral action. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Initial Investment For 2023: $600
April Bailout: $400
Current Total: $134.29
Remember that MMAmania.com 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.