Boston, Massachusetts will play host to UFC 292, the MMA leader’s first event in the city in almost four years. The headlining bout is a long-awaited bantamweight championship contest that is set to shake up the entire division. Champion Aljamain Sterling will look to set the record for title defenses at 135lbs, but standing in his way will be flashy striker Sean O’Malley.
Let’s take a closer look at this card!
Note: all odds were taken from ESPN and are accurate, as of the time of writing.
(c) Aljamain Sterling (23-3) vs (#2) Sean O’Malley (16-1, 1 NC) – UFC bantamweight championship bout
Bantamweight gold is on the line between the defending champion and one of the division’s biggest stars in the main event.
In spite of the flack given to him by fans, Aljamain Sterling is one of the most accomplished 135lb fighters in the history of the UFC. His three consecutive title defenses currently tie for first position with Renan Barao, with this weekend’s bout providing an opportunity for him to be the lone champion atop the mountain. Sterling’s unorthodox approach to striking often puzzles his opponents. His wrestling ability is the game-changer, however. The two-time NCAA D3 All-American has proven to be a better grappler than virtually everyone he has ever faced, and fans are expecting no different in this matchup. ‘Funkmaster’ enters this bout as a sizable -250 favourite, the largest of any of his title fights.
The MMA community have been watching the rise of Sean O’Malley since his Contender Series appearance in 2017. He predicted that his career would lead him to the title, which he sits on the door of now. His last outing against former champion Petr Yan showed that the Montana native has the heart to slug it out for three full rounds at the highest level and earned him plenty of support. As a striker, O’Malley prefers to keep his opponents at range, where he utilises his natural advantages to pick shots at will. His hand speed, in particular, causes issues for everyone he’s paired up with. The aforementioned Yan fight showed that he can defend himself on the mat, but he hasn’t showcased anything that would mean he will be able to compete with the likes of Sterling. For only the second time in his UFC career, ‘Suga’ Sean is the underdog.
ODDS: (c) Sterling (-250), O’Malley (+205)
(c) Zhang Weili (23-3) vs (#4) Amanda Lemos (13-2-1) – UFC strawweight championship bout
China’s most dominant force will hope to kick off her second title reign with a bang against a hard-hitting Brazilian challenger.
The path to strawweight gold goes through China once again, with Zhang Weili firmly on the throne. Her most recent win, which saw her reclaim the title from Carla Esparza with a finish, has proven that she is, without a doubt, the best 115lb fighter in the world. That fight showcased Weili’s improved grappling, with her takedown defense and submission skills taking the spotlight. This fight will likely not hit the mat, however. If this particular title matchup does stay on the feet, as expected, Weili is an explosive striker with pinpoint accuracy. Her knockout power has taken the likes of Jessica Andrade and Joanna Jedrzejczyk from conciousness, the latter of which came from a spinning backfist. Striking arsenals don’t get as diverse as Weili’s in this division. ‘Magnum’ enters this title defense at over 1/3.
Having only dropped one loss since her debut, Amanda Lemos has built a reputation as a hard-hitting action fighter capable of shutting the lights out on anyone. The Brazilian now has the chance to add the moniker of UFC champion to her status. In seven promotional wins, Lemos has never been reluctant to chase a finish, getting them more often than she doesn’t. Her submissions of Michelle Waterson-Gomez and Miranda Granger show that she can hold her on in the jiu-jitsu side of the equation, but she fancies herself more of a striker than anything else. The knockout of Marina Rodriguez, for example, is a prime example of her punching power and killer instinct. Even with all of that in mind, the oddsmakers have the 36 year old as a sizable underdog coming into this fight.
ODDS: (c) Weili (-320), Lemos (+250)
(#11) Neil Magny (28-10) vs (#13) Ian Machado Garry (13-0) – welterweight bout
A battle-tested staple of the welterweight division looks to hold off a surging Irish force in the feature bout of UFC 292.
It was a short notice call to action for Neil Magny, but he will be ready to spoil the show in Boston. His ten year tenure with the UFC has seen him gather more welterweight wins than anybody else in history. Even at 36 years old, Magny feels that he still has time to progress into title contention. The strongest areas of the New Yorker’s game come with his grappling, particularly his clinch game. His long frame allow him to keep opponents pinned to the cage with his weight, giving him ample time to look for takedowns or strikes. The grappling of Machado Garry has not been tested at the highest level, so it could be an area that Magny can exploit. ‘The Haitian Sensation’ currently sits as an underdog, but he is always capable of pulling out a win.
The UFC career of Ian Machado Garry has only improved with each fight. The former Cage Warriors champion has progressed massively since his promotional debut in 2021, now finding himself in the top fifteen rankings. Following his last win, the Irishman called for a bout with Magny, which he will now get the opportunity to capitalise on. Machado Garry’s striking has proven to be some of the most effective in the division. His combination punching, coupled with natural speed and power, mean that he can attack the opponent with lethal efficiency. Machado Garry has had a height advanatage over all of opponents to date, which he can use to aid his defense. Magny, however, matches his 6’3″ stature. It will be interesting to see if ‘The Future’ can continue to evolve and perform as masterfully against his toughest test to date.
ODDS: Magny (+140), Machado Garry (-165)
(#6) Marlon Vera (20-8-1) vs (#9) Pedro Munhoz (20-7, 2 NC) – bantamweight bout
A pair of the most violent contenders at 135lbs square off in the main card opener.
The four-fight win streak of Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera came to a halt in his last outing with Cory Sandhagen, but the Ecuadorian is keen to get back on track at UFC 292. He has improved technically in the past two years. adopting a more patient approach that allows him to compete better across the full distance of a fight. Once he kicks into high gear, however, ‘Chito’ is a wrecking machine that cuts, slices and brutalises whoever is standing in front of him. His grappling is something of a weak spot that has been exploited in the past, but Munhoz isn’t likely to shoot for takedowns. The bookies have ‘Chito’ favoured to pick up a win and his latest runs of form are a testament to that.
Much like ‘Chito’, Brazil’s Pedro Munhoz has built his name as an action fighter with no quit in hin. He has been a mainstay of the bantamweight top ten for almost half a decade now. He made a successful return to the cage earlier this year after suffering a corneal abrassion, halting the unbeaten streak of Chris Gutierrez in the process. Munhoz has a propensity for finishing fights via guillotine, but he is just as likely to trade punches and fire off leg kicks. If any of those strikes should connect, it’s safe to say that his opponents find themselves in hot water. ‘The Young Punisher’, somewhat inconsistent in the past few years, sits at +155, as of writing.
ODDS: Vera (-180), Munhoz (+155)
Chris Weidman (15-6) vs Brad Tavares (19-9) – middleweight bout
The long road to recovery comes to a head for a former titlist against a game Hawaiian veteran.
Over two years of injury rehabilitation have kept Chris Weidman on the sidelines since his leg break at UFC 261. The former champion, now back to full health, has the idea of recapturing gold at the forefront of his mind. His background as an All-American wrestler makes him a tricky opponent for anyone in the division. His striking, meanwhile, is definitely up to par, but there are limited instances in which it has brought him straight to victory. It would make far more sense, to me, for Weidman to use his striking to open up takedown opportunities. From there, he can keep top control or work for submissions. Given the horrific nature of his injury, ‘The All-American’ is entering this fight as a +210.
A scrapper through and through, Brad Tavares never shies away from a fight. The Hawaiian is now in his thirteenth year in the promotion, where he has racked up a reputation as a capable competitor that has earned his stripes. Tavares doesn’t shine in any one area; rather, he’s able to hang with his opponents in all areas of the game, wearing them down over the course of the fifteen minute distance. In this fight with Weidman, it seems right to keep this one on the feet, given his opponent’s wrestling pedigree. This matchup serves as the best chance for the perenial contender to put his experience in swinging leather to good use. Hilo’s Tavares comes into the bout as a favourite.
ODDS: Weidman (+210), Tavares (-260)
For more UFC 292 content, stay tuned to Violent Money TV.
UFC Austin – Weigh-In Results
With UFC Austin just a day away, all fighters competing tomorrow night have taken to the scales.
Let’s see who weighed in!
Main card (12am GMT – TNT Sports)
(#4) Beneil Dariush (156lbs) vs (#8) Arman Tsarukyan (155.5lbs) – lightweight bout
(#12) Jalin Turner (156lbs) vs (#13) Bobby Green (155lbs) – lightweight bout
(#8) Rob Font (135lbs) vs (#2 – FLW) Deiveson Figueiredo (135lbs) – bantamweight bout
(#9) Sean Brady (170lbs) vs (#11 – MW) Kelvin Gastelum (170lbs) – welterweight bout
Joaquim Silva (156lbs) vs Clay Guida (156lbs) – lightweight bout
Punahele Soriano (185.5lbs) vs Dustin Stoltzfus (185.5lbs) – middleweight bout
Prelims (9pm GMT – TNT Sports/UFC Fight Pass)
(#12) Miesha Tate (135.5lbs) vs (#13) Julia Avila (135.5lbs) – bantamweight bout
Zach Reese (185lbs) vs Cody Brundage (185lbs) – middleweight bout
Drakkar Klose (155.5lbs) vs Joe Solecki (155lbs) – lightweight bout
Rodolfo Bellato (205.5lbs) vs Ihor Potieira (204lbs) – light-heavyweight bout
Wellington Turman (171lbs) vs Jared Gooden (171lbs) – welterweight bout
Veronica Hardy (125lbs) vs Jamey-Lyn Horth (125lbs) – flyweight bout
ONE Championship To Spotlight MMA In 2024 With 60 Events Scheduled
ONE Championship’s goal for 2023 saw them place a spotlight on the greatest fighters in Muay Thai fighters on its roster through its weekly ONE Friday Fights series. But 2024 will see the organization adjust its focus back to MMA.
In an interview with South China Morning Post this week, ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong discussed the outcomes of the martial arts giant’s commitment to Muay Thai over the last 12 months, and he spoke of the exciting plans ONE has for 2024 & for MMA.
“You’re going to see MMA back in full force. We have our US stadium shows, we have Qatar, Japan. In the Philippines, we have one or two shows,” Sityodtong announced to the South China Morning Post.
“ONE Friday Fights and the Muay Thai product are very much on a firm footing now. We’ve laid the groundwork and feel very comfortable it’s running on autopilot, and now we’re able to scale up. We’ve firmly established we have the No. 1 striking property on the planet. The focus will be sharply back onto mixed martial arts.”
Arguably, the most-anticipated date on ONE’s calendar next year is its debut event in the Middle East.
The organization was scheduled to put on an event in Qatar in December 2023, but plans were rearranged when conflict broke out nearby.
But with 2024 looming, Sityodtong has confirmed that the show will go on in mid-spring.
“First and foremost, it is the right decision, given the sensitive circumstances in the region. Also, the war broke out right in the middle of our execution,” the ONE co-founder said.
“The good news for fans and athletes is that March 1st is 100 percent happening in Doha. Thank you to all of the stakeholders in Qatar for making it possible.”
Along with confirming the news of ONE’s first-ever show in the Middle East, Sityodtong also hinted at an event in Europe in the coming 12 months.
While the location is still under wraps, it would make sense for the promotion to bring its exciting live show to a European country, given the amount of talent from the continent that ONE has on its roster.
“Yeah, knock on wood, I think in the next couple of weeks I will be making a major announcement for Europe, our biggest for Europe in our history,” Sityodtong teased.
“It’s very exciting.”
Roberto Soldic, Stephen Irvine, and Nico Carrillo have all been introduced to the global fanbase this past year. And with Jonathan Haggerty’s rise to two-sport stardom in the bantamweight division, there is a seemingly endless amount of firepower from the region that could feature on ONE’s debut card there.
Can Abdisalam Kubanychbek end the curse of BRAVE CF’s Lightweight world title?
One of the most devastating fighters to ever grace the BRAVE CF arena, Abdisalam Kubanychbek has finally earned the world title he worked hard for: he`s the undisputed BRAVE CF Lightweight champion of the world. But ahead of his first defense against Lucas ‘’Mineiro’’ Martins at BRAVE CF 77, on December 5, a curse rears its ugly head once again. In total, BRAVE CF has had seven titleholders, and none of them have been able to defend their belt.
The Lightweight world title has traveled the world, being contested in Bahrain (3 times), Brazil (2 times), Jordan, Poland, Uzbekistan, and Serbia. Each time, the champion failed to defend, losing the fight – and the belt- immediately after winning it.
The belt has been in possession of Ottman Azaitar (Morocco), Lucas Martins (Brazil), Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady (Jordan), Luan Santiago (Brazil), Cleiton Silva (Brazil), Amin Ayoub (France), Ahmed Amir (Egypt), and is now with Kubanychbek, widely regarded as the number one fighter from Kyrgyzstan.
On December 5, he will have a golden opportunity to break one of the biggest curses in MMA today. In front of him, lies a former victim of the curse, who’s now eager to keep it alive – Lucas ‘’Mineiro’’ is more determined than ever to regain the belt, and make history as the first-ever BRAVE CF two-time Lightweight champion of the world, and only one of two men to hold the same belt twice, after Jarrah Al-Silawi at Super Welterweight.
For Abdisalam Kubanychbek, this is a chance to stake his claim as the most feared man on the roster and keep his undefeated BRAVE CF record alive. A chance Omok is eager to take and has prepared his whole life to achieve – from the boogeyman of the Lightweight division to its king and destroyer of curses. On December 5, it’s all to play – and fight – for.
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