After a pitstop at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Boston, Mass. for its tenth pay-per-view (PPV) card of the year, UFC 292. In the main event, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling defends his title against "Sugar" Sean O'Malley. The co-main event will have Zhang Weili defending her strawweight championship against fellow 115-pound powerhouse Amanda Lemos.
UFC 292 has a ton of fun matchups up and down the card, so before it all goes down tomorrow evening (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023), let's check out some random storylines, tidbits, and statistics ahead of showtime ...
Well, That Was Quick
Sterling gets a lot of unwarranted hate, and it's all good if you don't like his personality or fight style, but you have to respect the fact that he is turning around so quickly after defeating Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 last May.
A three-month turnaround for a champion is ridiculously quick, especially for Sterling, who cuts a ton of weight to get down to 135 pounds, plus he was dealing with injures.
Racking Up Defenses
This will be Sterling's fourth title defense. No one in UFC history has defended the bantamweight title four times. Aljo's first defense was Petr Yan, then he finished TJ Dillashaw (watch highlights), and most recently, it was Cejudo.
If "Funkmaster" defeats O'Malley, he already knows that people will discredit his win, just like every other win thus far in his title reign. During his UFC 292 media day interview, he explained:
"They're going to say O'Malley wasn't credible enough; he shouldn't have been in there in the first place. When I fought [Henry] Cejudo, if he wins, 'Cejudo's back, he's so great,' but if he loses, 'he was gone for three years.' The guy has been training; he's been coaching the world champions, the who's who of the divisions, and then with T.J. [Dillashaw], I've fought with a torn labrum multiple times. Seven professional fights. I've won every single one of them. I won those fights. You can make whatever, 'the judges did this.' Cry all you want, man."
First Main Event
O'Malley will finally fight in his first UFC main event this weekend. Also, this will be his tenth straight fight featured on PPV.
"Sugar" is coming off nearly a year layoff since his controversial win over Petr Yan at UFC 280, where he earned his title shot. While this isn't his longest layoff (that would be his USADA suspension), it is still long for O'Malley.
Going Back To Boston
It has been four years since UFC touched down in Boston. The last time the promotion was there was UFC on ESPN: Reyes vs. Weidman, in which Dominick Reyes starched Chris Weidman in less than two minutes. Before that, it was UFC 220 in Jan. 2018, in which Stipe Micioc dominated Francis Ngannou for five rounds.
No Boston Fighters on UFC Boston
Yeah, so zero fighters on UFC 292 are from Boston. No Calvin Kattar, no Rob Font, no Joe Lauzon, no Billy Goff.
Bummer, but some of them did show up for the fan Q&A (watch it here).
The last UFC pay-per-view that was in Boston pic.twitter.com/LkM7rYUuXK— MMA Mania (@mmamania) August 17, 2023
Second Reign, First Defense
Zhang finally returns to action after dismantling Carla Esparza at UFC 281 (watch highlights). The Chinese fighter will start her second strawweight champion reign against Lemos. Of course, "Magnum" first won the title against Jessica Andrade in 2019 but then lost it devastatingly when she was flatlined by Rose Namajunas.
Welcome Back, Chris Weidman
It has been two years and three months since Chris Weidman suffered a gruesome broken leg at UFC 261 against Uriah Hall (watch highlights). The former middleweight champion has a brutal road back dealing with his recovery due to multiple setbacks from blood clots and infections. Weidman faces fellow UFC veteran Brad Tavares in his return.
Oh, and he is on the “Prelims” for the first time since UFC 139 (and not happy about it).
Da'Mon Blackshear steps in to fight Mario Bautista on seven days' notice after fighting last week at UFC Vegas 78 and picking up a “Performance of Night” bonus for getting the third Twister in UFC history (watch highlights).
He will tie Loopy Godinez for the fastest turnaround; however, he can be the first fighter to win the quickest turnaround in just seven days.
The Ian Garry Show?
According to top Irish prospect Ian Garry, he is the reason the European fanbase is staying up until 4 a.m. to watch UFC 292. "The Future" is 5-0 in UFC with three knockouts and is coming off a finish of Daniel Rodriguez that got him into the promotion’s Top 15 welterweight rankings (watch highlights).
He faces No. 11 ranked Neil Magny.
Speaking of Magny, he is stepping up on short notice, replacing Geoff Neal. Magny is coming off a split decision win over Phil Rowe at UFC Jacksonville.
TUF 31 Finale
Buried on the ESPN "Prelims" is The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 31 finale, and all four fighters are former UFC fighters. In the lightweight finale, Austin Hubbard faces Kurt Holobaugh, who is hoping to pick up his first UFC win after going 0-4 in the promotion. In the bantamweight finale, Brad Katona looks to be the first two-time TUF winner as he takes on Cody Gibson.
A Rematch Nine Years In The Making
Rising Brazilian flyweight prospect, Karina Silva, takes on Maryna Moroz this weekend to kick off UFC 292. The two fighters fought way back in 2014 in Brazil at XFC International 7. Moroz tapped Silva in the first round, handing her a second professional loss.
Nine years later, Silva has all the momentum on her side as she rides a seven-fight win streak with seven finishes.
Ask, And You Shall Recieve
Two fights ago, Andre Petroski asked to fight Gerald Meerschaert because he wanted to test himself against "GM3," who has the most submission wins in middleweight UFC history.
Well, he got the fight, and the pair of middleweights headline the ESPN+ "Prelims."
Winners And Losers
Sixteen fighters are coming off wins, while eight fighters are coming off losses.
Here are the divisions that will be on display this Saturday:
- Three Middleweight fights
- One Welterweight fight
- One Lightweight fight
- Four Bantamweight fights
- Two Women's Flyweight fights
- One Women's Strawweight fight
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 291 fight card right RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+/ABC 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 291: “Poirier vs. Gaethje 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated and finalized UFC 291 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.