UFC 292 Predictions: Picks For Every Fight On Main Card In Boston

Can Sean O'Malley dethrone Aljamain Sterling at TD Garden?


Aug 18, 2023

UFC 292 at TD Garden in Boston has a chance to be really, really good.

Sure, the main card features a slew of heavy favorites, which theoretically makes the action more predictable, but nothing is guaranteed inside the octagon. And several fights feature combatants with contrasting styles, adding an extra layer of intrigue.

The main card is headlined by two championship showdowns. Aljamain Sterling defends his bantamweight title against Sean O’Malley, while Zhang Weili defends the women’s strawweight title against Amanda Lemos.

Sterling’s nine-fight winning streak — which includes three successful title defenses — puts him in rarefied air. A victory over O’Malley would cement his legacy, whereas a win for Sugar would catapult the challenger toward superstardom.

All told, the entire card could have major UFC implications down the road. So, grab your popcorn and settle in for the first UFC pay-per-view event in Boston since UFC 220 in 2018. It should be electric.

So, how do we see everything shaking out? NESN’s Ricky Doyle and Tim Crowley offer their main-card fight predictions below.

*All odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Marlon Vera -200 vs. Pedro Munhoz +160
Ricky: Munhoz via decision
Munhoz never has been finished in his career, which includes seven losses. So, it’s easy to see him going the distance here. Meanwhile, Vera’s knack for starting slow could be an issue, as he’ll only have three rounds to work with after three straight five-round, main-event bouts. Expect a close, entertaining slugfest that goes to the judges’ scorecards.

Tim: Vera via TKO

Mario Bautista -225 vs. Da’Mon Blackshear +180
Ricky: Bautista via decision
Hats off to Blackshear for having the intestinal fortitude to step in for Cody Garbrandt. The man just fought Saturday night in Las Vegas! But Bautista is firing on all cylinders right now, racking up four consecutive wins, including three straight first-round submissions.

Tim: Bautista via submission

Ian Machado Garry -520 vs. Neil Magny +370
Ricky: Garry via decision
The odds tell the story. Garry, 25, is an undefeated up-and-comer with championship potential, whereas Magny, 36, is a veteran fill-in on the back end of his MMA career. This should be another stepping-stone fight for Garry. Just don’t be surprised if he’s forced to work for it.

Tim: Garry via KO

Zhang Weili (c) -325 vs. Amanda Lemos +250, UFC women’s strawweight title
Ricky: Zhang via KO
Just not sure Lemos can keep up. Zhang is so well-rounded and has very few weaknesses, which should enable her to fend off an early onslaught from Lemos en route to a stoppage. We know Zhang can go the full five rounds if necessary. The same can’t be said for Lemos, and that could pose a problem for the challenger.

Tim: Zhang via decision

Aljamain Sterling (c) -260 vs. Sean O’Malley +205, UFC bantamweight title
Ricky: Sterling via submission
It would behoove O’Malley to keep this fight upright, as his best chance at an upset is to use his length and striking ability to pick apart Sterling on their feet. That’s easier said than done, though. Sterling is an expert on the mat. If he’s able to take down O’Malley, especially in the later rounds when cardio becomes a factor, the champ most certainly will walk away from the cage (and potentially the division) with the belt still around his waist.

Tim: Sterling via decision

Thumbnail photo via Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union via USA TODAY Sports Images

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