BOSTON — UFC 292 did not disappoint, with a highly entertaining card at TD Garden, including a changing of the guard as Sean O’Malley took the bantamweight championship from Aljamain Sterling in the main event.

A number of fighters had standout performances. Here are several takeaways from UFC’s return to Boston on Saturday night.

Sean O’Malley’s star power is just beginning
UFC broadcaster Jon Anik held strong conviction prior to UFC 292 that a championship win for O’Malley could catapult the 28-year-old to a rare level of stardom.

“If he becomes the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, he has the chance to become an other-worldly superstar,” Anik told in an interview during fight week. “I’m talking top-10 world’s most famous athlete-type stuff for Sean O’Malley.”

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On Saturday night, O’Malley made that potential a reality with his second-round knockout of Sterling, which the UFC immediately posted to social media in a rare occurrence for the company.

With over 3 million Instagram followers and now a UFC title, the young fighter is making a major mark in the sport and contributed to a record-breaking night at TD Garden, as UFC president Dana White told reporters after the fight.

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“This is the biggest bantamweight title (fight) on pay-per-view,” White said of O’Malley. “He’s not gonna be a star. He is a star.”

Sterling’s three title defenses was an impressive feat in an incredibly talented bantamweight division. While his future with the belt is yet to be seen, O’Malley more than established himself as the UFC’s new superstar.

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Ian Garry could be a welterweight force
Irish fighters such as Conor McGregor are no strangers to success when fighting at TD Garden.

On Saturday, Garry continued that streak with a dominant win over No. 11 ranked welterweight contender Neil Magny. Garry unleashed a brigade of kicks and kept the pressure on throughout the night for his sixth straight win. Given his youth and development, Garry told reporters Saturday that he wants to stay patient and have four fights leading up to a potential shot at the welterweight title.

Garry’s dominance in the cage, along with an outgoing confidence and charisma, certainly draws comparisons to his fellow countryman, McGregor.

As Garry rises in the rankings, with a top-10 spot likely unlocked, the UFC might have another Irish star in the company.

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Zhang Weili continues to show dominance
The Chinese-born fighter came to Boston with a purpose, as a two-time champion, to show her talent in the strawweight division.

Facing a powerful striker in Amanda Lemos, Weili went to work in the greatest striking differential for any UFC women’s bout ever, with nearly 300 strikes landed. One of the sport’s most athletic fighters put on a show in Boston to retain her belt and a “Performance of the Night” bonus from the UFC.

After trading the title back and forth with Rose Namajunas, Weili looks to be in rhythm as the world’s best strawweight.

A strong night for Silvas
As fans still were settling into their seats at TD Garden, the first two early prelims presented enticing performances to kick off the night in a pair of women’s bantamweight fights.

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In the opener, Karine Silva thrilled the crowd by finishing a submission victory with a guillotine choke on Maryna Moroz, who tapped out with one second remaining in the first round.

The following fight saw a dominant striking performance from Natalia Silva, who outstruck Andrea Lee 70-43 on her way to a victory via unanimous decision. Natalia Silva thrived off the Boston crowd as the second straight Silva to win a fight to open the night.

Boston hosted both fighters of the next potential bantamweight championship
With O’Malley taking over the bantamweight championship, the new title holder expressed interest — both in the octagon during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan and at a post-fight press conference — in making his first defense against Marlon “Chito” Vera (who opened Saturday’s pay-per-view in Boston) in Las Vegas in December.

The two bantamweights squared off at UFC 252 when Vera knocked out O’Malley in the first round of their co-main event matchup.

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Vera sounded more than willing to run it back in his post-fight press conference.

“If he wins, we go,” Vera said. “I’ll beat his (expletive) again.”

Chris Weidman showed heart in his return
The former UFC middleweight champion stepped back into the octagon for the first time since breaking his leg at UFC 261 in 2021.

The veteran fighter was outclassed by Brad Tavares on Saturday night in Boston but still showed plenty of heart.

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Dana White told reporters Saturday that Weidman powered through a mid-fight MCL injury that likely will require another long rehab.

Weidman made the fight interesting with moments of striking pressure to move Tavares back into the cage. Time will tell if this is it for Weidman’s championship career, although White shared he believes it was in the fighter’s best interest to retire.

“I think he should retire,” White said. “I would say, ‘Chris, I love you. Please, please retire.’ “

Boston found passion in the UFC
The UFC had not been to Boston in five years since UFC 220. If there were any doubts about how invested the city and the crowd would be in the event, those questions were quickly put to rest.

White raved about the record-setting numbers at TD Garden and on pay-per-view for Saturday’s card.

In the arena, the crowd stayed loud all night, peaking with shattering cheers at the card’s pinnacle when a strong right hand from O’Malley dropped Sterling for the bantamweight title.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images