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411’s UFC 292 Report: O’Malley Stops Sterling

August 20, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 292 Image Credit: UFC

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Aljamain Sterling (135 lbs.) vs. #2 Sean O’Malley (135 lbs.) – for bantamweight title
Champ Zhang Weili (115 lbs.) vs. #5 Amanda Lemos (114 lbs.) – for women’s strawweight title
#13 Ian Machado Garry (170 lbs.) vs. #11 Neil Magny (170 lbs.)
Mario Bautista (136 lbs.) vs. Da’Mon Blackshear (135.5 lbs.)
#10 Pedro Munhoz (135 lbs.) vs. #6 Marlon Vera (136 lbs.)

Brad Tavares (185 lbs.) vs. Chris Weidman (186 lbs.)
Gregory Rodrigues (186 lbs.) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (185 lbs.)
Kurt Holobaugh (155.5 lbs.) vs. Austin Hubbard (155 lbs.) – “TUF” 31 lightweight final
Cody Gibson (135 lbs.) vs. Brad Katona (135 lbs.) – “TUF” 31 bantamweight final

Gerald Meerschaert (185 lbs.) vs. Andre Petroski (186 lbs.)
#13 Andrea Lee (125 lbs.) vs. Natalia Silva (125 lbs.)
Maryna Moroz (125 lbs.) vs. Karine Silva (125 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 292, I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the event. Tonight the UFC is back on PPV and have brought a decent little card with them, though it’s had a fair few setbacks as well. The main event is for the bantamweight title as champion Aljamain Sterling goes for his fourth defense against Sean O’Malley, Sterling has been making noise about moving up in weight but doing so on a win would make his entry into the featherweight ranks an easier proposition. For O’Malley’s part he’s been hyped up by the UFC and has been pretty smart about his career as a general rule, he’s amassed a pretty big following and a title win would propel him even further. The co-main event is another title fight, Zhang Weili reclaimed the strawweight title in her last fight and will be looking for a good second reign but she’s got to deal with the hard hitting Amanda Lemos. Lemos is a pretty big underdog here but could bring more gold back to Brazil and upset a few apple carts with a win. Elsewhere on the card Ian Machado Garry looks to continue his ascent against top gatekeeper Neil Magny, Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz battle for position in the bantamweight division, and Chris Weidman returns after that horrible leg break back in 2021 when he takes on Brad Tavares. Tavares is about as safe a fight as Weidman is going to get as Tavares has just 2 finishes in his 22 UFC fights, and Weidman is looking to give us another feel good moment with a win after the injury and multiple setbacks during recovery. If you care about this season of The Ultimate Fighter, and given the buzz and ratings I’m guessing you don’t, the finals for this season are here as well, and Gregory Rodrigues is always good for an entertaining fight.

UFC 292 comes to the world from the TD Arena in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier will be on the mic while Din Thomas will chime in on occasion and Megan Olivi does the roving reporter bit. We’re in the larger 30 foot Octagon instead of the smaller 25 footer at the Apex. I’m not sure about any rules quirks for Massachusetts but will update you if they happen to come up during the event.

Karine Silva is on a seven fight winning streak including two wins in the UFC, she’s looking fully solidify herself as a prospect of note with another win tonight. Maryna Moroz just had a three fight winning streak snapped when she dropped a fight to Jennifer Maia and now tries to avoid her second UFC losing streak. The odds lean towards Silva at -140 to +120 for Moroz.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Maryna Moroz (11-4, 125 lbs.) vs. Karine Silva (16-4, 125 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moroz is two inches taller but the reach is identical. Silva comes out kicking. Moroz looks to jab but she’s just short while Silva lands a few leg kicks. Right hand from Silva then a left follow up. Both women fall short with lefts. Bit of a body kick from Silva. Silva drops Moroz with a left hook, Moroz bounces up but they’re clinched up now. A few short elbows from Silva then they trade a few knees. They trade elbows then break. Moroz catches a kick and they trade rights for a bit before Moroz drops the leg. Bit of a head kick from Silva then a right hand behind it. Double leg from Silva and she gets things down. Moroz starts fishing for an armbar right away, Silva passes to north-south then side control. Silva is after a north-south choke but Moroz is wrist fighting, and comes up on her own double leg to get on top. Silva is fishing for a guillotine, she’s got the choke locked up and Moroz can’t get out and has to tap just before the round ends.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Karine Silva via Submission, guillotine choke, at 4:59 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mrs. Silva for her work this evening. Mic time for Silva and the translator, she opens with some broken English to say she likes to finish submissions and puts over her team and family. She talks us through the finish to close.

One thing to note about the technique here, Silva’s arm gets pretty high on the head and while you might think that’s poor technique as it’s close to losing the choke it’s also where the leverage is greatest to tighten everything down. It’s a fine line to walk between maximum leverage and losing the head, but if you can navigate it properly you’ll wind up with dynamite guillotines.

Andrea Lee has gone just 2-5 in her last seven fights, that’s somewhat mitigated by three of those being razor close split decisions but she’s in a position where she needs to win and prove her career still has some upward potential. Natalia Silva has a nine fight overall winning streak going including three wins in the UFC, if she can extend that streak here at the expense of Lee she could easily take Lee’s spot in the top rankings. Silva is a pretty notable favorite at -325 to Lee’s +260.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #13 Andrea Lee (13-7, 125 lbs.) vs. Natalia Silva (15-5-1, 125 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lee is two inches taller with four and a half inches of reach advantage, she’s also eight years older. Both women come out feinting and showing kicks. Leg kick from Lee to counter a body kick. Both women land rights. They split some jabs, pretty even fight thus far. Silva lands a body kick. Both women land in close but Silva is putting together longer combinations as a general rule. Silva lands a right hand that wobbles Lee, Lee backs up but is able to regain herself. A few jabs go back and forth. Right from Lee, and Silva counters with one of her own. Both women miss high kicks. Lee’s nose is bleeding and has been since that right hand that staggered her early. They trade rights again. Lee is just struggling to get into the right distance and is getting chewed up at the end of Silva’s kicks. There’s some kind of cut on Lee’s right hand, can’t see much detail on it and the blood from her nose is clouding the issue but something’s up there. They feint away the last seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Silva

ROUND TWO: OK, I might have been wrong on the hand being cut but there’s definitely some kind of issue there even if it’s just a stinger after blocking kicks with it. Silva resumes kicking to start the round. A few kicks are getting tossed out by both women but nothing landing clean yet. Lee is trying to come forward but her cage craft is a little lacking. Front kick from Lee lands but she can’t follow up. Silva falls a little short with a combination then lands a side kick. Silva lands a left hook, she’s started to switch stances while moving and it’s troubling Lee. A combination from Silva partially lands. They trade body kicks. Lee lands a body kick. Silva keeps circling and kicking from the outside. They trade leg kicks then Lee misses a head kick and Silva lands a right to the body. Silva misses a spinning back kick as the last strike of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Silva, 20-18 Silva overall

ROUND THREE: Silva comes out kicking and still kind of dancing around. Bit of a high kick from Silva. A bit of forward pressure from Lee but she can’t quite get Silva on the fence and has to settle for landing a leg kick. Side kick from Silva lands. Bit of a one two from Silva. Glancing left hook from Lee and a leg kick. They split some jabs then trade left hooks. Silva is just the busier fighter, she lands a combination then a body kick. More kicks from Silva then a left hook. Lee tries to come forward but still can’t corral Silva as the round ends with a jumping switch kick from Silva that partially lands.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Silva, 30-27 Silva overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Natalia Silva via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Mic time for Silva, she opens with English to play with the crowd and then thank God for helping her live her dream but this isn’t about winning it’s about giving glory to Christ. Asked who she’d like next she puts over her team and doesn’t answer the question then closes by asking if Dana White is present for her fight, commentary informs us he is not cage side but is probably here somewhere.

Andre Petroski has gone 4-0 in the UFC and now looks to begin the difficult transition from prospect to legitimate contender. Gerald Meerscahert has been a decent mid level gatekeeper for the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss though and is mostly trying to avoid his first losing streak since 2020. It’s not surprising to see Petroski as the -240 favorite to +195 on Meerschaert.

Middleweight Bout: Gerald Meerschaert (35-16, 185 lbs.) vs. Andre Petroski (9-1, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Meerschaert is an inch taller with four and a half inches of reach advantage. Both men fight southpaw and touch gloves to get us going. Some lead hand work from both men as they try to get a feel for each other. Meerschaert lands a jab. Bit of a right from Petroski. Petroski lands a right hook. Both men land lefts in close. Another bit of a left from Meerschaert. Petroski misses a left hand. They split jabs. Petroski bulls forward and swings some punches but doesn’t land much. Leg kicks go back and forth now. Neither man lands much, then Meerschaert lands a calf kick. Petroski misses a left hand and complains of an eye poke so we get a time out. Replay shows there was a bit of a graze from Meerschaert’s pinky when sort of punching, I’m OK with that stoppage. Petroski is willing to continue after 43 seconds. Meerschaert lands a left hand. Single leg from Petroski, Meerschaert grabs an inverted triangle right away for control and to threaten but there’s not enough time and the round ends in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Petroski but who knows with that low activity

ROUND TWO: Both men come out jabbing again. Meerschaert is sort of just plodding his way forward and Petroski might be slowing ab it as he’s not much of a striker in general. A few jabs from Meerschaert land. Meerschaert avoids a single leg. Bit of a left from Petroski. Meerschaert lands a body kick. Meerschaert lands a left hand in close. Petroski tries a kick, Meerschaert catches it and lands a left hand. Again both men miss lefts. Bit of a leg kick from Meerschaert. Meerschaert comes forward again, Petroski is really looping his punches and muscling them. Petroski lands a right hook. Meerschaert lands a left after rolling under a punch then fires a head kick that’s partially successful. Petroski blocks a high kick but he’s slowing. Meerschaert defends a double leg and they hit the fence, then break without much happening. Left from Meerschaert to counter a leg kick. Petroski lands a left to the body. Bit of a calf kick from Meerschaert. Petroski lands a left hand that drops Meerschaert, he gets on top in half guard and looks for elbows. Meerschaert comes up on a single leg, fings up to his feet and they break. Right hook from Petroski. Meerschaert pulls to turtle guard, then tries to invert as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Petroski, 20-18 Petroski overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Petroski misses a left hand. Meerschaert off balances Petroski and gets on top in his guard. A few elbows from Meerschaert land. Petroski works his guard high, Meerschaert postures through and lands another punch. Bit of a left from Meerschaert but not much is happening here as Petroski is looking to stall and Meerschaert isn’t really looking to pass. Petroski works his guard up then rolls to his knees and Meerschaert gets on top in a front headlock. Petroski fights up and free but he’s got some swelling and a cut under his left eye. One two from Meerschaert. Petroski lands a knee in close. Meerschaert is looking to push the pace now as Petroski is fading just a bit. Petroski misses a left hand and eats a counter left. Meerschaert grabs a choke as Petroski hits a single leg, but he can’t hold it. Petroski passes to half guard. Meerschaert looks to come up but Petroski looks for a mounted guillotine now. Meerschaert fights through the position and comes up in the clinch throwing knees. They trade punches as they break. Petroski is fatigued, and they both land punches in close. Meerschaert keeps coming forward and looking to land punches. A couple of lefts form Meerschaert land, then he unloads in close as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Meerschaert, 29-28 Petroski overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Andre Petroski via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Given how close the first was 29-28 either way is perfectly defensible. No interview for Petroski.

Brad Katona has a brief stint in the UFC from 2018-19 where he went 2-2, he’s won four in a row since then though and is looking to become a two time TUF winner here. Cody Gibson went 1-3 in the UFC back in 2014-15 but is now looking to get back into the promotion via this season of TUF and hopefully showcase his more matured skill set. The odds are with Katona at -170 to +140 for Gibson.

Bantamweight Bout: Cody Gibson (19-8, 135 lbs.) vs. Brad Katona (12-2, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gibson is four inches taller with a significant six and a half inches of reach advantage. Bit of a jab from Gibson. Brief clinch then they break. Both men land lefts in close. Bit of a right from Gibson. Gibson is starting to switch his stance as he moves around. Katona lands an inside leg kick. Bit of a right from Katona. Body kick from Gibson. Double jab from Gibson then a body kick. Katona tries to force a clinch but Gibson blocks the tie up. Right hand from Gibson. Solid right from Gibson stuns Katona for a second. Left from Katona, then Gibson lands a right hand. One two from Gibson then Katona lands a left of his own. They trade rights in close. Leg kick from Gibson. They punch into a clinch, then punch out of it, these two are keeping a very high pace. Gibson lands an uppercut in close. More rights from Gibson then they clinch and break. Unreal pressure from Gibson, the just doesn’t step backwards. Inside leg kick from Gibson. They clinch up then break without much issue. Gibson misses a left hook. They get close and land punches again. A right hand from Gibson, then a bit of one from Katona to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gibson

ROUND TWO: Katona starts coming forward this round. Gibson lands a couple of jabs. Katona lands a left to the body then a right hand but Gibson counters with three punches of his own. Gibson blocks a takedown and lands a right hand. Uppercuts from Gibson as he’s coming forward now. Gibson jabs the body and continues to back Katona up. Left from Katona lands. Gibson lands another right hand. Some jabs go back and forth then they trade in close. Uppercuts from Gibson to both the body and head. Katona lands a left hand, but Gibson counters with a right then more rights to the body in close. They tie up and trade in a hockey fight before Katona gets away from him. Gibson keeps coming forward and firing punches that land. Katona lands a left hook. Leg kick from Gibson and they clinch and trade knees then break. Gibson lands another right to the body. Left from Gibson, Katona fires a head kick that’s partially successful. Gibson with a body kick. Both men are swelling up facially now. Gibson lands an uppercut. Elbow from Gibson in close, then a left hand behind it as Katona ties up. They break and get back to punching each other. Katona staggers Gibson with a right hand, they tie up and then break. Left hand from Gibson lands. Short left from Katona in close. Stiff right from Katona. One last right from Katona closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Katona, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Gibson lands an inside leg kick. Double jab from Gibson then a right, Katona responds with a left hook. Bit of a right from Gibson as he keeps pushing forward. Katona eats a couple of punches then lands two body shots. Right to the body from Gibson then they trade in close. Solid right from Gibson stuns Katona for a second. Another right from Gibson, Katona lands jabs to keep him off though. They clinch up and then break as Gibson misses an elbow. Again the punch into a clinch then break. Left from Gibson lands. Katona misses a jab. Uppercut from Gibson then another right hand hand. Short uppercuts from Gibson in close. They trade rights. Gibson with a couple of punches in close then a knee. Katona lands a left hand. They trade rights again. Uppercut from Katona in close. Another uppercut from Katona and the right eye of Gibson is hurt. Katona bulls forward and looks to land punches but Gibson cracks him with an uppercut. Both men land in close again and they tie up and start hockey fighting then break. Katona with a flurry of uppercuts in close, then a lunging left hand. They tie up and trade knees, then one last flurry to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Katona but a close one, 29-28 Katona overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brad Katona via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

I don’t agree with 30-27 at all, but honestly 29-28 either way is fine and frankly both guys should be in the UFC. Mic time for Katona, he plays with the crowd and says Gibson was every bit as tough as he expected and puts him over and mostly hopes the fans enjoyed the fight. He jokes that he made title weight and if something happens in the main event he’ll step in, then wishes his father happy birthday. He says he feels at home here in the UFC. That’s our front runner for Fight of the Night.

Austin Hubbard traded wins and losses going 3-4 in his first UFC stint but he won two fights outside of the promotion and then competed on this season of TUF to find himself here looking for another UFC run. Kurt Holobaugh had one fight in the UFC back in 2013, made his way back to the promotion in 2018 where he went 0-3 before getting cut and now looks for his third run in the company if he can win this season of TUF. The odds are with Hubbard at -175 to +145 for Holobaugh.

Lightweight Bout: Kurt Holobaugh (19-7 1 NC, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Austin Hubbard (15-6, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Holobaugh is an inch taller while Hubbard has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Hubbard with a leg kick then right to the body. Bit of a calf kick from Hubbard. Both men get close and land punches then Hubbard with a takedown into full guard. Hubbard with elbows right away as Holobaugh tries to get his guard working. Hubbard moves to half guard and lands some more punches. Holobaugh is able to scoot to a knee and tries to stand but Hubbard has a front headlock and they wind up scrambling into a clinch on the fence. More knees from Hubbard now. Both men land knees as Hubbard keeps Holobaugh on the fence then they break apart. Some body work from Hubbard now. Holobaugh lands a jab but eats a front kick. Hubbard lands a solid right hand. They split some jabs while moving around. Bit of a right from Holobaugh. Both men land rights in close and Hubbard circles away. Knee from Hubbard, Holobaugh counters with a left hook. Holobaugh working the jab more actively now. Hubbard lands a jab. Takedown from Hubbard into guard on the mat. Half guard for Hubbard as he lands lefts. There’s blood coming from the left ear of Hubbard. Hubbard with more lefts as Holobaugh tries to wall walk. Holobaugh is up but eats punches along the way. A couple of body kicks from Holobaugh then a right hand into a clinch. Knee from Hubbard in close as they break. Right from Hubbard along the fence and that’ll close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hubbard but a close one

ROUND TWO: Both men come back out jabbing. Holobaugh with a brief flurry. Leg kick from Hubbard. Hubbard lands a left to the body. Holobaugh avoids a single leg and lands a one two. Hubbard with a front kick then a left hand. Holobaugh lands another right hand, he’s got that punch dialed in now. They trade in close but Holobaugh is landing better. A right from Holobaugh off balances Hubbard, Hubbard gives up one hook as Holobaugh moves to his back. Holobaugh bails on the choke attempt but he gets full mount and lands punches. Hubbard tries to escape, but Holobaugh grabs an armbar then transitions to a triangle choke as Hubbard tries to scramble. The choke is pretty tight, and Hubbard has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kurt Holobaugh via Submission, triangle choke, at 2:39 of Round 2

Holobaugh cashing on his last chance to get back to the UFC is a pretty feel good moment. Mic time for Holobaugh, he’s waited a long time for this moment and it feels good. He puts over Hubbard and says it sucks to fight your friend and he knew he’d have to deal with an early storm from him. He talks us through the finish and notes he deliberately didn’t show everything on TUF and feels it paid off. To close he calls out Paddy Pimblett even though he knows everyone calls him out.

Here’s the finish. This is a really lovely transition from Holobaugh, he’s after the armbar but as Hubbard rolls free he reads the escape and opens the lock to catch the choke. Really just superb jiu-jitsu moment from Holobaugh.

Gregory Rodrigues has gone 4-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a pretty big upset loss though and is now trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. Denis Tiuliulin has gone 1-2 in the UFC and he’s looking to get his UFC record to the .500 mark but also get the biggest win of his career given how respected Rodrigues is. Rodrigues is the rather heavy favorite at -375 while +295 on Tiuliulin might tempt a few bettors out there.

Middleweight Bout: Gregory Rodrigues (13-5, 186 lbs.) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (11-7, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rodrigues is two inches taller while Tiuliulin has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Some slop plodding from both men. Tiuliulin has a few punches fall short. Rodrigues jabs the body then ties up and gets a takedown into guard. Tiuliulin blocks a pass and gets full guard. Rodrigues passes to side control, then gets full mount. Tiuliulin gives up the back and Rodrigues starts landing elbows, it’ only takes a couple and Tiuliulin is all but out and the ref steps in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gregory Rodrigues via KO, elbows, at 1:43 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Rodrigues for his work this evening. OK, on replay that first elbow was pretty clearly to the back of the head and should have been illegal. Rodrigues got away with one there. Mic time for Rodrigues and he says Christ put him here and no one can take him away, he’s Robocop and wont die. He mentions needing to show off more of his total skills and tells us to expect more from him in the future. He talks us through the finish and puts over his team. To close he plays with the crowd and then gives love to his family.

Here’s the finish, that first elbow that starts things off is pretty clearly illegal to the back of the head. If I’m Tiuliulin and his team I’m appealing this one. But, as a fan of violence, I approve of the legal follow up from Rodrigues.

Chris Weidman is a former middleweight champion and has been in the UFC since 2011 but he’s in kind of a rough spot as he’s just 2-6 in his last eight fights and his last fight back in April of 2021 ended in a gruesome leg break. That injury and some resultant complications have kept him sidelined for a long time, now he’s back though and is looking to get another win under his belt. Brad Tavares has been with the UFC since 2010 and during that time has only scored two wins via finish and in 22 UFC fights has never received a post fight bonus. That’s got to be some kind of record. Tavares is on a two fight losing streak and he’s trying to halt that skid here and ruin the feel good story of Weidman’s comeback. The odds are with Tavares at -260 to +210 on Weidman.

Middleweight Bout: Brad Tavares (19-8, 185 lbs.) vs. Chris Weidman (15-6, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Weidman is an inch taller with four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Some feinting from both men. One two from Tavares. Weidman reaches for a takedown but Tavares defends. Right from Tavares seems to stagger Weidman for a second. They split jabs then Tavares lands a calf kick. Weidman tries another takedown against the fence, Tavares blocks the single leg and spins free. Weidman goes southpaw, throws a kick as does Tavares and Weidman takes a shot to the groin so we’ve got a time out. Weidman is good to continue after 50 seconds and we’re back to fighting. Bit of a jab from Tavares. Weidman lands a right hand, then Tavares returns it. Calf kick from Tavares. Another calf kick from Tavares lands. Tavares lands a jab then another calf kick. Inside leg kick from Tavares, he’s starting to chew that lead leg up. Weidman with a left hand then a body kick. Tavares avoids another single leg attempt. Weidman goes southpaw, and eats a leg kick. Tavares lands an uppercut then a leg kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tavares

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Tavares with jabs then a calf kick. More lead hand work from Tavares then a calf kick. Tavares lands another calf kick then a right hand. They split jabs then Tavares lands a hard jab and a calf kick. That left leg is toast now as Weidman is limping badly. Tavares pushes him back to the fence and fires a head kick. Another leg kick from Tavares lands but Weidman seems to have it back under control now. Weidman goes southpaw again, and Tavares lanes a couple of leg kicks at the right leg. One two from Weidman in close, Tavares lands a right hand then gets off the fence. More leg kicks from Tavares, Weidman is just walking forward looking to brawl now. Weidman with a front kick to the groin and we get another time out. Replay confirms the foot hit the cup. Tavares takes a little over a minute then we’re back to fighting. Left hand from Weidman as he’s fighting southpaw again. Tavares with leg kicks to both legs and that settles Weidman down. Left hand from Weidman and he tries a takedown against the fence, Tavares defends though and lands elbows. Another takedown attempt from Weidman but again Tavares defends and separates. Bit of a right from Tavares then a body kick. Bit of a one two from Weidman. They clinch up and hit the fence. Some knees go back and forth then Tavares avoids a single leg and lands a leg kick. Weidman keeps throwing a head kick from southpaw. Tavares wit a body kick. Weidman lands a couple of punches into a clinch and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tavares but Weidman might have stolen it, 20-18 Tavares overall

ROUND THREE: Still southpaw for Weidman. Tavares fires a head kick then an inside leg kick. Leg kick to the left leg of Weidman from Tavares. They clash on kicks again and we’ve got our third low blow of the fight and another time out. Just unfortunate timing, Tavares wasn’t aiming at the groin, but one imagines that’s the last one of those Tavares gets. We restart after 49 seconds. Tavares lands a calf kick as Weidman is orthodox now. Another leg kick and right hand from Tavares. That left leg of Weidman is beyond toast now. Tavares with more leg kicks and follow up rights. Weidman goes southpaw again and looks to push forward but he can’t quite find the target. Weidman tries a takedown but Tavares defends, he’s been exceptional in that area all fight. They clinch up, but Tavares gets free quickly and they reset. Bit of a head kick from Tavares. Weidman clinches again, but again can’t get control and Tavares easily spins free then lands a leg kick. Weidman is just swinging his left hand now but hasn’t quite landed. Tavares lands a right hand. They clinch but again Tavares gets free and lands a right hand. Jab and leg kick from Tavares, then a leg kick to the left leg. Another left leg kick from Tavares and Weidman is forced southpaw. A couple of more leg kicks from Tavares land, Weidman is visibly unsteady. Tavares lands a calf kick then a front kick. Right hand from Weidman lands. Another calf kick from Tavares. They clinch, Tavares spins free and they stare away the last couple of seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tavares, 30-27 Tavares overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brad Tavares via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

No interview as we’ve run over time, but a pretty big win for Tavares all things considered.

That’s the prelims, on to PPV for the main card.

Marlon Vera just had a four fight winning streak broken by dropping a split decision to Cory Sandhagen back in March, now he’s trying to avoid a losing streak while also maintaining a position near the title. And with his history with Sean O’Malley it’s not impossible for him to get into the title picture right away given some of the injuries that have winnowed away the rest of the top of the division right now. Pedro Munhoz got a win in his last fight and he’s looking for one of the bigger wins in recent memory if he can get by Vera and potentially put himself closer to the title picture. Vera is your favorite at -185 to +155 for Munhoz.

Bantamweight Bout: #10 Pedro Munhoz (20-7 2 NC, 135 lbs.) vs. #6 Marlon Vera (20-8-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Vera is three inches taller with a pretty decent five and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Vera to start, Munhoz opens southpaw as well. Some lead leg kicks from Munhoz early then he lands a jab. Leg kick from Munhoz. Vera lands a leg kick then trips Munhoz and nearly kicks him in the head. Some jabs from Vera now. Another jab from Vera and he avoids some counters. Both men have gone orthodox now. Vera starts showing the front kick. Munhoz lands a couple of calf kicks. Vera lands another jab. Both men are starting to switch freely now as they trade leg kicks. Solid leg kick from Vera. Munhoz lands a front kick. Vera avoids a takedown and lands a calf kick. Some more jabs from Vera now. Vera with a knee in close. Vera with a jab then Munhoz lands a leg kick. Brief combination from Vera. Munhoz lands a left hand. Some jabs go back and forth. Vera lands a calf kick. Vera lands a left to the body, Munhoz is bleeding from the bridge of the nose I think. A few more leg kicks go back and forth then Vera lands a jab. Munhoz with a fluffy that doesn’t quite land. Vera lands a front kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vera

ROUND TWO: Munhoz comes out with a front kick. Both men block punches, but Vera is ready to up his tempo now it seems. Vera lands a left hand. Munhoz lands a body kick. Left from Vera then a jab. Vera lands a right hand. Bit of a calf kick from Vera. Both men land jabs. Munhoz lands a calf kick. Bit of a left hook from Munhoz. Vera lands a calf kick. Bit of a left from Vera. Munhoz lands a right hand, then another one. Vera lands a jab. Both men land in close. Munhoz lands a right hand then Vera checks a leg kick. Vera lands a left to the body. Munhoz lands a left hand. Vera lands a leg kick then a left hand. Right hand from Vera lands then another jab. That jab from Vera is working overtime here. They both land in close. Munhoz lands a calf kick. They trade jabs then Munhoz lands a one two. Vera lands a left hand to counter a leg kick. Another body shot from Vera then he avoids a clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Munhoz but a close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Munhoz with a calf kick. Vera lands a jab. Combination from Vera partially lands. Munhoz comes forward but Vera lands a combination. One two from Vera. Munhoz lands a right hand. They trade calf kicks then Vera stings Munhoz with a few jabs. More jabs from Vera now then a left to the body. One two from Vera, Munhoz is hurt but swings hooks to deter Vera. Vera right back to the jab then a one two. Right hand from Vera, he’s starting to pull away now in terms of damage. Clubbing right from Vera then a jab. Hard left to the body from Vera in close. Munhoz lands a right hand but he’s starting to break down. More jabs from Vera land then a calf kick. Munhoz lands a leg kick and blocks a right hand. Front kick from Vera then a hard left hook. Vera with more jabs. Bit of a counter left from Vera. Munhoz with a glancing right then a couple of front kicks. Vera lands a one two. We get a fun little flurry and both men miss wheel kicks to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vera, 29-28 Vera overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Marlon Vera via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Solid overall performance from Vera there, but he does not get an interview since we were a little late on the start.

Da’Mon Blackshear fought literally last week and stepped in on short notice to replace Cody Garbrandt, he’s looking to tie the record for closest wins in the modern UFC at just 7 days as well as score the biggest win of his career. Mario Bautista has gone 6-2 in the UFC and is on a four fight winning streak, and while losing the Garbrandt fight has to be a blow he’s trying to turn back Blackshear and continue climbing towards ranked opposition. Given the short notice replacement it’s not surprising to see Bautista as the -220 favorite to +180 on Blackshear.

Bantamweight Bout: Mario Bautista (12-2, 136 lbs.) vs. Da’Mon Blackshear (14-5-1, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Blackshear is an inch taller with three inches of reach advantage. Blackshear shows some kicks early. Bautista circles and looks for an angle, then lands a leg kick. Inside leg kick from Bautista. Right hand from Bautista. Blackshear lands a body kick but eats a right hand and they tie up. Some knees from Blackshear as he’s got Bautista on the fence. Blackshear hits a takedown, Bautista gets full guard though. Bautista looks to invert, he forces a scramble then wall walks into a clinch. Some positional jockeying then Bautista lands an elbow as they break. Bautista with knees then elbows from a clinch in open space before they break apart. Blackshear shoots a double leg, but Bautista is defending. Bautista grabs a guillotine choke and locks it up, there’s an arm in though which is complicating things. Blackshear pulls his head free and lands an elbow. Bautista scrambles back up and they trade in the clinch again. Blackshear fires a jumping kick as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blackshear but I had some feed issues so I wont stand by it

ROUND TWO: Blackshear with some early kicks. Bautista lands a left hand. Elbow from Bautista in close. Blackshear fires a kick, Bautista catches it and goes for a double leg against the fence. Bautista can’t finish the takedown and they separate. Blackshear quickly gets another clinch and lands knees then an elbow. A couple of inside leg kicks from Blackshear. Bautista lands a left to the body. Bautista tries a double leg, but can’t finish it and they’re clinched on the fence again. They break without incident. Bautista lands a right hand. Bit of a left from Bautista. Blackshear ducks a punch and hits a double leg but Bautista bounces right back up and clinches him on the fence. Elbow from Bautista then they break. Bautista lands a right hand. Blackshear lands a right of his own. Bautista lands another right in close. Body kick from Bautista lands. Another right from Bautista then they clinch and trade knees. Bautista clinches again and lands an elbow before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bautista, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Bautista gets back on pressure and lands a front kick. Both men land leg kicks. Bit of a one two from Blackshear to counter a leg kick, then Bautista cracks him with a right hand. Bautista lands a left to the body. Right hand from Bautista lands. Another right from Bautista lands then he tries a takedown. Blackshear defends but eats an elbow as they break a clinch. Another clinch and Bautista with knees to the body. Blackshear lands an elbow but eats one and can’t get away. More body work from Bautista then a knee as they break. Bautista shoots a double leg, then switches to a body takedown and gets it, then jumps to the back with one hook in. Blackshear rolls to his knees, Bautista pulls him back to the mat and lands knees to the body. Another back take from Bautista but only one hook. Bautista could go for a twister if he wants, which would be crazy. Blackshear scrambles to his knees again, he’s upright but Bautista is still on him as they stand then trade punches on the break. Blackshear lands a right hand, but he gets too aggressive following and Bautista gets a clinch. Takedown from Bautista into full guard. Bautista lands elbows from top position as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bautista, 29-28 Bautista overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mario Bautista via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

No interview for Bautista, because we’ve got commercials on the PPV and two title fights.

Ian Machado Garry has never tasted defeat as a professional and has seen a fair bit of hype develop around him during his 5-0 run in the UFC, he’s looking to take another step up in class here and then take aim at the top of the welterweight division. Neil Magny took this fight on short notice replacing Geoff Neal, he’s coming off of a win though and is trying to build another winning streak while handing Garry his first loss. Garry is the biggest favorite on the card at -485 while that +370 comeback on Magny might be a really tempting value bet.

Welterweight Bout: #13 Ian Machado Garry (12-0, 170 lbs.) vs. #11 Neil Magny (28-10, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Magny has a decent five and a half inches of reach advantage. Magny starts feinting forward early, Garry lands a leg kick. Another calf kick from Garry, that’s not a good thing for Magny early. Body kick from Garry. Jab from Garry. Magny starts coming forward again. Bit of a calf kick from Garry. Magny forces a clinch but can’t keep it and Garry gets free. Garry lands another calf kick. They trade leg kicks then Magny lands a front kick. Magny forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Some short punches from Magny as they work for position. Garry technically gets a takedown, but doesn’t want anything on the ground and makes Magny stand. Another calf kick from Garry. Garry with another calf kick that drops Magny, then he makes him stand again. Front kick from Garry to the face, Magny can’t find a counter though. Garry lands a calf kick, Magny didn’t like that one. They clinch again and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Garry, might be 10-8

ROUND TWO: Magny comes out jabbing, partially successful with it. Garry lands a right to the body. Magny keeps coming forward working the jab. Garry lands a calf kick. Another calf kick from Garry, that lead leg is hurting now for Magny. Bit of a head kick from Magny. Magny grabs a single leg and they hit the fence. Some shoulder strikes from Magny then he slips to the back. Garry can’t get free yet as Magny looks for trips. Garry gets chest to chest and they trade knees in the clinch. Magny has a Thai clinch and lands knees before Garry pulls free. More pressure from Magny, bit of a head kick from Garry. Both men start showing jabs and front kicks. Garry with a calf kick, that left leg is hurt again and Garry is hunting Magny down. Another calf kick from Garry. Another calf kick, Magny is pretty much on one leg at this point. Garry lands to the calf again and follows up with a punch or two. Magny avoids a kick as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Garry, 20-18 Garry overall

ROUND THREE: Magny stalks forward to start the round. Garry fires a head kick that partially lands. Garry lands a calf kick. You know, with as hurt as Magny is Garry should be able to vary up his offense and find something that can finish the fight. Magny blocks a couple of rights but Garry kicks his leg out from under him and stands over him. Garry makes Magny stand and they reset. Body kick from Garry. Jab to the body then a calf kick from Garry. Garry with a calf kick. Bit of a one two from Garry. Garry with another calf kick but he just can’t get Magny out of there yet. Magny lands a right hand out of a brief southpaw stance. Garry pushes forward and lands a right hand. Another calf kick from Garry sweeps Magny down and again Garry makes him stand. Front kick to the face from Garry, he’s looking to flurry but Magny ties him up. Garry tosses Magny down and gets on top in side control. Magny hip escapes to half guard. The round runs down with Garry on top looking for a guillotine choke.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Garry, 30-26 Garry overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ian Machado Garry via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-26 x2)

30-24 seems a bit off as I don’t think the second could be 10-8 but Garry wiped him out. Mic time for Garry, he just made a veteran look like he’d never been in here before. He showed what an elite striker looked like from start to finish, and he says this was justice. Asked what he’d like next he plays with the crowd before saying he needs to prove he’s the best striker so he needs to beat the best strikers and that means Stephen Thompson next. Not an unreasonable call out.

Amanda Lemos brings a two fight winning streak into her first UFC title shot, she’s finished all but two of her UFC wins and is hoping to pull a significant upset here and claim UFC gold. Zhang Weili became a two time strawweight champion in her last fight when she ran over Carla Esparza, she’s trying to get her second title run up and running with a successful defense here. The odds are -350 for Zhang to +310 on Lemos.

Strawweight Title Bout: (c) Zhang Weili (23-3, 115 lbs.) vs. #5 Amanda Lemos (13-2-1, 114 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Lemos has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Zhang with early feinting while Lemos is showing off stance switches. Zhang catches a kick, lands a cut kick and gets on top. Lemos is stacked up on the mat, and Zhang passes to side control. A few short elbows from Zhang then knees to the body as well. Lemos is scooting to the fence and looks to wall walk. Zhang keeps Lemos down and lands some left hands. More lefts from Zhang as she puts herself in half guard for control. Elbows now from Zhang, then more lefts as Lemos is just getting mauled against the fence. Lemos tries to stand, she grabs a ninja choke but Zhang moves to side control on the safe side and lands knees to the body. Zhang gets the back and unloads with punches. Lemos tries to roll and gets half guard but Zhang is still looking to maul her. Zhang with some more elbows from top position. Lefts from Zhang as Lemos tries to stand, Lemos is up and fishing for that ninja choke again but Zhang slams her down and lands blows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Zhang but a marginal one

ROUND TWO: Lemos misses a couple of punches to start the round. Zhang misses a high kick. Lemos lands a right hand, then eats a counter left. Side kick from Zhang lands. Lemos lands a right hand. They tie up, Zhang then hits an easy takedown into side control. Zhang looks for mount but Lemos catches half guard. A few short punches from Zhang to the body and head. Zhang lands a few more punches as she looks to pass again. A few short elbows from Zhang land. Lemos tries to sweep, Zhang spins to the ride position then gets the back with one hook in. Both hooks now for Zhang. Zhang transitions towards the mount but winds up settling for half guard again. Elbows from Zhang, Lemos forces a scramble to her feet but Zhang lands elbows and knees then hits an inside trip into full guard. Zhang lands body shots then spins to the ride position as Lemos rolls to her knees. Some more knees to the body from Zhang, we need more of those in MMA, and the round ends with Zhang still in the dominant position.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zhang, 20-17 Zhang overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves again. Lemos walks into a side kick. Zhang keeps showing kicks as Lemos circles. Both women miss punches. Zhang catches a kick, forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Zhang lands an elbow, then another one. Single leg from Zhang into guard, then she stands and lands leg kicks to the downed Lemos. Zhang passes to side control and gets back to work with short strikes. Lemos to her knees, Zhang gets the back with one hook and lands punches. Both hooks now for Zhang and she starts fishing for a choke. Lemos shrimps to half guard but eats elbows for the effort. Zhang passes to side control again and then knee on belly. Lemos wall walks up but eats a knee, a handful of elbows, and then can’t get out of the clinch. Zhang breaks the clinch with a few strikes. Bit of a one two from Zhang, but Lemos lands a left hand in there. Zhang misses an elbow. Lemos circles away, and Zhang lets her for the final few seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zhang, borderline 10-8 given how ineffective Lemos is on offense, 30-26 Zhang overall

ROUND FOUR: They touch gloves again. Zhang bounces a bit, then lands an inside leg kick. Side kick from Zhang. Leg kick from Zhang. Glancing body kick from Zhang then an inside leg kick. Bit of a right from Lemos. Zhang side kicks the leg. Another bit of a right from Lemos. Lemos off balances Zhang then lands a left hand. Elbow from Lemos lands. Zhang with a stiff right then a double leg near the fence. Lemos is after the ninja choke again, it’s pretty tight here but Zhang pulls her head out as Lemos has clearly lost a bit of strength in her grip. Lemos kicks Zhang off but Zhang clinches her, lands a knee then an elbow and separates. Side kick from Zhang. Bit of a right from Lemos. Zhang with a right hand then a left hook. Lemos punches into a clinch and they hit the fence. Zhang spins Lemos and lands an elbow. Partial head kick from Zhang, then Lemos misses a flurry of punches to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zhang but probably the closest, 40-35 Zhang overall

ROUND FIVE: They touch gloves for the final round. Zhang lands an inside leg kick. High side kick from Zhang, then one to the leg. Body kick from Zhang, then she sits Lemos down with a hard right hand. Zhang on top again and landing punches. Lemos is trying to roll but Zhang is on her landing strikes. Zhang with more rights from side control. Lemos keeps moving underneath, but she gets caught in a crucifix and Zhang lands hammer fists. They hit the fence and Lemos is trying to stand, Zhang is still sitting on the right arm of Lemos and working punches. Zhang pulls Lemos back into a crucifix, Lemos rolls back to her knees though and Zhang resumes landing punches. Lemos is able to stand in a clinch but Zhang starts landing knees and elbows again in the clinch. Zhang with another elbow then a body lock takedown into side control. According to the unofficial stats Zhang has landed some 200 more strikes than Lemos. Zhang lands a few knees to the body from side control as she keeps looking for the crucifix. Lemos scrambles back up and they separate with 20 seconds left. Zhang lands a side kick, then another one. Lemos dives into a clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Zhang, 50-43 Zhang overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – and STILL UFC Strawweight Champion Zhang Weili via unanimous decision (49-45, 50-44, 50-43)

49-45 is a weird card and only 1 10-8 feels wrong. Mic time for Zhang, she opens with some English to thank the crowd before going to Mandarin to further put over Boston. She thanks everyone talks about how hard she trains so the fight can be easy. She’s not surprised at the dominance and puts over her team for all of their work.

Sean O’Malley hasn’t lost since 2020 and while most of the guys he’s beaten during his UFC tenure are no longer with the promotion he’s coming into his first title shot off the back of a close split decision win over a former champion. O’Malley is looking to build his hype even further here and begin a championship reign. Aljamain Sterling is the bantamweight champion and has defended that title three times, plus he hasn’t lost since 2017 and is on a nine fight winning streak. Sterling is looking to potentially move up to featherweight, but a win here would extend his divisional records for longest winning streak, most consecutive title defenses, and most wins in UFC bantamweight history. If Sterling is going to vacate and move up, doing so with another successful defense of his title would make a compelling case for him as the best UFC bantamweight champion of all time. Sterling closed as the favorite at -250 while the +205 comeback on O’Malley might tempt some bettors out there.

Bantamweight Title Bout: (c) Aljamain Sterling (23-3, 135 lbs.) vs. #2 Sean O’Malley (16-1 1 NC, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: O’Malley is four inches taller with one inch of reach advantage. Both men will do a fair bit of stance switching but open orthodox. Both men feint kicks as they move around. Sterling lands a kick. O’Malley avoids a side kick. Bit of a leg kick from Sterling. Side kick from Sterling. O’Malley starts coming forward now. Sterling comes forward, and misses a right then eats a jab. Still just a lot of feinting from both men, and Sterling lands a body kick. Front kick from O’Malley. Sterling lands a couple of inside leg kicks. Very sedate first round thus far. O’Malley avoids a few kicks. Sterling avoids a spinning back kick then presses forward and tries a single leg against the fence. Some short punches from Sterling as they’re on the fence and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sterling

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Body kick from Sterling, then he pushes into a clinch on the fence. Sterling is after the single leg, but O’Malley gets free then eats a few punches. O’Malley avoids a punch and drops Sterling with a right hand, O’Malley on top looking to pound things out and Sterling spends too much time just rolling on his back and the ref jumps in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – and NEW UFC Bantamweight Champion Sean O’Malley via TKO, punches, at :51 of Round 2

Mic time for O’Malley, he plays with the crowd and says this just feels right. He says this was the most nervous he’s been because he knows how good Sterling is, but he knows what power he packs in his punches and was confident. He talks us through the finish and puts himself over. Asked about his title run he says he’s running this show until 2035 and says he wants to beat Marlon Vera in December.

Mic time for Sterling, he admits O’Malley was better than he expected and can’t say anything bad about him. This was just another guy chasing the dream and he can’t hate on that, he says he’s been stopped before and just picks himself up and says he’ll be back for the belt. Asked about the future he jokes that if O’Malley could catch him like this then just imagine what Volkanovski would do to him so featherweight might need some time.

Well on that note, UFC 292 comes to an end. We’ll be unpacking all of the fallout from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast plus looking ahead to UFC on ESPN 52. As a reminder that card is from Singapore and will start the prelims at 5am EST, boy that’s gonna be a long day for me as I’ll be back here covering it. Anyway I’ll be here, and I hope you will as well. Until next time everyone stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC 292, Robert Winfree