Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back for another pay-per-view (PPV) offering as UFC 292 is set to go down from inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass., later TONIGHT (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023). Headlining the event will be a Bantamweight title fight as division champion, Aljamain Sterling, defends his belt against Sean O’Malley. In the co-main event, Zhang Weili will put her women’s Strawweight belt on the line against Amanda Lemos.
Aljamain Sterling is adamant that this next fight against Sean O’Malley could be his last in the Bantamweight division before he bolts for bigger (literally) challenges the Featherweight division has to offer. But before then, his ideal scenario would be to defend the 135-pound belt with a win over “Suga,” extending his record streak to four straight title defenses while improving to 10 straight wins overall. Along the way, “Funk Master” has collected one heck of a resume, defeating Petr Yan (twice), Cory Sandhagen, T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, the only man to have wins over all of those killers. Now, he looks to take out the rainbow-hair colored contender that has his own championship aspirations to fulfill.
Speaking of which, O’Malley was thought of as a potential star since his knockout win on the Contender Series. And he has lived up to those expectations, collecting an 8-1-1 record. That said, his biggest win during that span came against Petr Yan, so let’s not get too carried away and act like he’s gone through a murder’s row of contenders to get to this point. Nevertheless, he has arrived at the big dance and has the chance to pull off a big upset, all while upsetting some haters and doubters in the process. He may perhaps turn one or two of them.
O’Malley has length on his side, but Sterling is simply more equipped in all areas of the fight game. Obviously, “Suga’s” best bet is to use his reach to keep his foe at bay while keeping the fight standing. But Sterling is no slouch on the feet and once he gets on the ground, his jiu-jitsu is world class. Plus, O’Malley has long limbs, making it a bit easier to latch on and execute one of many potential submissions. This should be a great fight, though it doesn’t exactly have that feel and pop of a major title bout, if we are being honest.
Chris Weidman was upset that he was placed on the “Prelims” as a former UFC poster boy and champion. And to be honest, I sort of agree. “All American” has been out of action since suffering a brutal leg injury against Uriah Hall in April 2021 so he is looking to get back on track. And though his opponent, Brad Tavares, is on a two-fight skid, this fight should have taken a main card spot over the Bantamweight fight between Da’Mon Blackshear and Mario Bautista. I mean, if the promotion is trying to sell PPV’s, you would think having the more well known fighters on it would be a smart move.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
Former UFC champ-champ, Henry Cejudo, was linked to face Marlon Vera at this event but went on to later reveal that he never signed any contract to do so. It was quite surprising seeing as how “Triple C” was begging to get on this card only to bow out. Vera will now take on bantamweight veteran Pedro Munhoz on Saturday.
Geoff Neal suffered an undisclosed injury that forced him out of his fight against Ian Machado Garry. Stepping in to fill the void is Neil Magny, who will look to take advantage of the situation and build off the momentum following his win over Philip Rowe two months ago. Also, Cody Garbrandt was forced out of his fight against Mario Bautista with a back injury and was replaced by Da’Mon Blackshear, who will be making a lighting-quick turnaround having defeated Jose Johnson just last weekend at UFC Vegas 78. This will be his third fight in less than three months.
No newcomers for this event.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 31 will crown a champion as the season led by Michael Chandler and Conor McGregor will officially come to an end on the undercard of this event. Teammates Austin Hubbard and Kurt Holobaugh will be battling it out in the Lightweight finale for a chance to get back into the UFC. In the Bantamweight finale, Brad Katona (another Team Chandler finalist) will face teammate, Cody Gibson.
Gregory Rodrigues has a nice 4-2 UFC record, however, his pattern of winning two then losing one has prevented him from getting much momentum towards the middleweight Top 15. “RoboCop” has proven knockout power with eight stoppages via strikes on his record, so his opponent at UFC 292, Denis Tiuiulin, has to keep his head on a swivel, though he has only been stopped once via knockout.
In more 185-pound action, Andre Petroski will look to improve to 5-0 inside the Octagon, though he will be facing off against one of the most experienced fighters he’s squared up with inside the Octagon. Fighting for seven years inside the eight-sided cage. Gerald Meerschaert has racked up a 10-8 record, so he is looking to improve on that and get some kind of streak going.
Karine Silva has made the most of her time inside the Octagon, though she hasn’t spent too much time in it because she’s submitted both of her opponents in the very first round, rather brutally in this case. In fact, overall in her career she has finished all 16 of her foes, 12 of them in the very first round. She will be taking on Maryna Moroz, who is coming off a loss to Jennifer Maia that snapped her three-fight win streak.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Andrea Lee once avoided the axe after losing three straight from 2019-2020, but if she falls victim to another three-fight losing streak she might not be so lucky this time around. And that is just the situation she finds herself in, having dropped back-to-back fights to Viviane Araujo and Maycee Barber. She will be going toe-to-toe against Natalia Silva, who is on a nine-fight win streak, including winning her first three fights under the UFC banner.
Interest Level: 7.5/10
In the co-main event, Zhang Weili puts her women’s 115-pound title on the line against Amanda Lemos. Zhang is currently on a two-fight win streak and is coming of a title-winning performance against Carla Esparza, choking her out at UFC 281. As for Lemos, she has been on an absolute monstrous tear that helped her punch her ticket to her first-ever world title fight, winning seven of eight fights including stopping both Michelle Waterson (see it) and Marina Rodriguez (highlights) in back-to-back outings. The Brazilian star has proven to have the chops to hang with the best of them, but “Magnum” is an entirely different beast who is determined to not let go of her title so easily in her second stint as champion.
Ian Machado Garry — while not as loud as Conor McGregor — is slowly trying to emulate “Notorious” in his pre-fight festivities. He claimed that he’s the real star of the show over the two headliners, but that is far from the truth. Sure, he’s gotten off to a bright start by winning his first five fights inside the Octagon to push his win streak to 12-0, but his level of competition hasn’t exactly been the toughest, if we are being honest. But against Magny he will get a battle-tested and proven veteran that can give him some trouble. If Garry can get through this fight it will be a nice feather in his cap to start getting higher-ranked foes. For Magny, handing the Irish brawler his first loss will give him a major boost in confidence while raising his own stock a bit.
Sean O’Malley has already stated that he would love to defend the title — assuming he wins — against Marlon Vera later this year. But “Chito” has a tough out against Pedro Munhoz, who would love his own rematch against “Suga” after their fight ended in a no contest (NC). But both of those men likely won’t get a title shot with a win because that should go to Merab Dvalishvili. So it behooves them to not take O’Malley serious right now and focus on the task at hand, which is getting a win.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC 292 PPV Main Event On ESPN+:
135 lbs.: UFC Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley
UFC 292 PPV Co-Main Event On ESPN+:
115 lbs.: UFC Strawweight champion Zhang Weili vs. Amanda Lemos
UFC 292 ESPN+ PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET Start Time):
UFC 292 ESPN/ESPN+ Late ‘Prelims’ Under Card (8 p.m. ET Start Time):
185 lbs.: Chris Weidman vs. Brad Tavares
185 lbs.: Gregory Rodrigues vs. Denis Tiuliulin
155 lbs.: Kurt Holobaugh vs. Austin Hubbard
135 lbs.: Brad Katona vs. Cody Gibson
UFC 292 FIGHT PASS/ESPN+ Early ‘Prelims’ Under Card (6:30 p.m. ET Start Time):
185 lbs.: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Andre Petroski
125 lbs.: Andrea Lee vs. Natalia Silva
125 lbs.: Maryna Moroz vs. Karine Silva
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 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+ 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. For the updated and finalized UFC 292 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.