The highly anticipated UFC 292 fight show is set to rock the TD Garden in Boston early tomorrow, bringing combat sports enthusiasts compelling duels that promise real fireworks and drama. In the spotlight – the bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Sean O’Malley and the women’s strawweight title bout between Weili Zhang and Amanda Lemos. Let’s take a closer look at these four fighters and the predicted outcomes of their bouts.
Sterling vs O’Malley
Aljamain Sterling (23-3-0) has proven himself as a force to be reckoned with. The American has suffered a loss only three times in his MMA career. Ever since his last one in December 2017, he’s been enjoying a nine-fight winning streak which includes three successful title defenses. He has picked up victories over a handful of high-profile fighters, such as Cory Sandhagen, Petr Yan (twice), T.J. Dillashaw, and most recently, the legendary Henry Cejudo.
Despite his roots in wrestling, Sterling has shown remarkable progress in his striking game during his time in the UFC. The 34-year-old fighter displays comfort and fluidity on his feet. Employing a unique style of lateral movement and stance-switching, he keeps his opponents guessing. His arsenal includes a dynamic kicking variety of snapping front kicks, traditional teeps, and powerful sidekicks. However, while his head can be elusive, his legs and body can provide opportunities for a skilled opponent.
Sean O’Malley (16-1-0), often compared to Conor McGregor, is a standout in the striking department. His ability to flow between stances, coupled with impressive counters, makes him a serious threat. The use of body shots adds a layer of complexity to his game.
O’Malley’s knockdown potential is evident in his 10 knockout wins out of 16 victories. The 28-year-old possesses versatility and striking prowess that makes him a dangerous opponent for anyone. Nearly everything O’Malley throws is set up with feints, which he commits to with conviction. He has great length, range, and speed for the division, and his strikes come with pinpoint accuracy that can rattle any opponent in a blink.
This seems to be a classic striker-vs-grappler matchup. While Sterling comes from a wrestling background, O’Malley is a sniper on the feet, blessed with a standout quickness. However, the odds favor Sterling in this contest, and for good reason. His well-rounded skill set, evolving striking and grappling prowess give him an edge. While O’Malley’s striking is his forte, Sterling’s wrestling could dictate the pace and control aspects of the fight. O’Malley might find success on the feet, but Sterling’s ability to survive and adapt could be the deciding factor. Ultimately, the OlyBet sportsbook favors Aljamain Sterling at the odds of 1.38, while O’Malley is rated at 3.15.
Zhang vs Lemos
The co-main event features a strawweight title clash between two fighters with distinct striking styles. Current champion Zhang Weili (23-3-0) is a spring-loaded cannonball who checks every box on the mixed martial arts skill tree. Her impressive resume includes wins over such well-known names as Carla Esparza, Jéssica Andrade, and Tecia Torres.
On the feet, Zhang is incredibly quick. She always throws multiple strikes at a time and possesses good power in her hands. Up close, she loves getting into a clinch to throw knees and elbows with absolute authority. The 34-year-old Chinese fighter has rounded out her wrestling, as well, and is able to wrap up submissions with the same aggression she shows on the feet.
Amanda Lemos (13-2-1) is a true powerhouse. Her one-punch power might be the hardest in the division and might just prove the deciding factor in this bout as well. The 36-year-old Brazilian’s accuracy on the move and in the pocket makes a difference, as well. She is physically strong in the clinch and finds her windows for attacks with great success.
Sure, Zhang is an overwhelming favorite with her overall skill set, including wrestling, submission game, durability, amazing footwork, and speed. However, Lemos shouldn’t be written off just yet, as she only needs one shot to land to change the tide of the fight. Ultimately, our sportsbook favors the current champ to successfully defend her crown at the odds of 1.32, while Lemos is rated at 3.52.
UFC 292 promises an electrifying start of the day with an event that’s headlined by two intriguing title fights. Contrasting styles and personalities. A wide range of skills and talent. The stage is set for a truly memorable fight show. Will the champions manage to hold on to their titles? Will the challengers get to wrap the belt around their waist for the first time? Fortunately, we’ll get to find out soon enough.