UFC 292 is live tonight. And this weekend’s fight card is headlined by a pair of UFC title fights. The main event is UFC bantamweight Aljamain Sterling defending his crown against Sean O’Malley. The co-main event is UFC flyweight champion Zhang Weili is defending her title against Amanda Lemos.
The BE staff has looked at all these match-ups and made our picks. Now it’s time for the readers to do the same. Read below to see who the BE readers think will win tonight. There’s also extra analysis from Luke G and Tommy.
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UFC 292 reader picks and predictions
Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley
Readers’ pick: Aljamain Sterling (88.2%).
Tommy: Really looking forward to this fight. Unlike many I think O’Malley has a chance. He’s definitely got KO power and his strikes come from all different angles. That said Sterling is so impressive. Definitely a different edge to him for this fight. I can see Sterling getting caught a few times but securing takedowns and the win. Sterling, submission, round two.
Luke G: Sterling. On paper this seems straight forward. O’Malley, even in his victory (eh) over Yan, showed huge gaps in his takedown defense and ground game. Giving your back to Yan is one thing, giving your back to Aljamain is another. So with that in mind it seems inevitable Sterling can find his way to not only a victory but a submission. This is what my mind is telling me, but I have fear that the MMA Gods have a dark future envisioned where the most unlikable attention seeking “superstar” ever lands a KO punch and ruins not only my night but the foreseeable future. If anyone needs me I’m performing counter magic in my basement.
Zhang Weili vs. Amanda Lemos
Readers’ pick: Zhang Weili (88.2%)
Tommy: Again really going to be a great fight. Both women posses KO power and either one can knock the other out. I think Zhang will need to mix in a few takedowns with a bit of ground and pound to secure the win. Zhang, TKO, round four.
Luke G: Zhang. I think Weili is the better more well rounded fighter. Lemos has huge power but also the kind of decision making that can get you submitted while standing by Jessica Andrade. I think if Weili sets the pace we’ve seen her keep, Amanda just doesn’t have five round cardio. I foresee Weili taking her into deep water and drowning her with an unsustainable pace.
Neil Magny vs. Ian Machado Garry
Readers’ pick: Ian Machado Garry (94.1%)
Tommy: If the press conference is anything to go by this should be an absolute banger. If Magny is drawn into a war he gets knocked out. For him to win he needs to grind Garry against the cage, use his elbows and gain control time. For me that doesn’t work this time. I think Garry is too quick and as long as he keeps his head he will get the win. not sure by what method, but I’ll pick one anyway. Garry, KO, round two.
Luke G: Garry. It pains me to admit I have had to backtrack my Ian Garry hate. He needs to lay off the Aldi Brand McGregor shtick but the kid is clearly very good. I don’t think he will fall into the Siren Song of Magny’s clinch game and I think a KO finish is likely.
Marlon Vera vs. Pedro Munhoz
Readers’ pick: Marlon Vera (64.7%)
Tommy: I really like Vera and thus should be a good battle between the two. Vera should have enough, but he has a tendency to start slow then pick up in the later rounds eventually this will catch up with him not this time though. Vera by Decision.
Luke G: Chito. Unless Pedro reinvigorates his wrestling game and replicates Sandhagen’s approach, I see this following the now typical Chito fight timeline: Pedro has early success, Chito finds his timing, and nukes him late.
Chris Weidman vs. Brad Tavares
Readers’ pick: Brad Tavares (70.6%)
Tommy: Good to see Weidman back after that horrific leg break. He’s on a 2-6 run in his last fights and knocked out a couple of times at 39 and 2 years off. I’m not sure what’s left. Tavares is a decent fighter and years ago this wouldn’t even be a discussion but I think Tavares will win (hope I’m wrong one this one). Tavares by decision.
Luke G: Tavares. Man both these guys are pretty cooked and in a perfect world Weidman is a better fighter than Tavares could ever be, but its not a perfect world and Weidman is 39 years old coming off a freakish leg break and a 2 year layoff.
Gregory Rodrigues vs. Denis Tiuliulin
Readers’ pick: Gregory Rodrigues (100%)
Tommy: This could be such a fun fight. Both have KO power. Rodrigues should win the only doubt I have is with his chin. He gets involved on too many brawls and gets caught in fights he’s winning.
Rodrigues to catch Tiulilin KO, round two.
Luke G: Rodrigues. Both guys coming off an L. Denis is 1-2 in the UFC with his only win over Jamie Pickett. I gotta take Robocop here.
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Andre Petroski
Readers’ pick: Andre Petroski (64.7%)
Tommy: Petroski is a clear favourite in the odds for this one. He is better everywhere, but has a tendency to leave is neck open. Meerschaert reminds me of Paul Craig, if he’s taken down he’s very dangerous and can submit you if Petroski is smart he wins by wide decision. Petroski by Decision.
Luke G: Petroski has looked really solid. Riding a 4 win streak into this one. I favor him on the feet and I think his ground game is solid enough to avoid the Meerschaert submission.
Andrea Lee vs. Natalia Silva
Readers’ pick: Natalia Silva (64.7%)
Tommy: Again the odds are extremely wide in favour of Silva in this one. Although Lee has lost a few fights, the loss against Barber was debatable (not complaining had a bet on Barber), but did think I’d lost.
I think Silva possess amazing kicks is extremely quick and secures the win in a close fight. Silva by Decision.
Luke G: Silva. This is a huge step up for Natalia so I’m unsure why the betting line is so heavy in her favor. She’s got 2 stunning KOs in her 3 UFC wins and hasn’t tasted defeat since fighting Marina Rodriquez in Brazilian regionals back in 2017. Andrea is on a 2 loss streak but those came to Barber and Araujo so those aren’t bad losses in the context of fighting a prospect. I’m nervous for Silva but I think she passes her first real test in the UFC.
Maryna Moroz vs. Karine Silva
Readers’ pick: Karine Silva (64.7%)
Tommy: When researching these two I found out this is actually a rematch albeit years ago which Moroz won by submission. I think both have improved since then and I think in a close fight. Silva will secure takedowns and use her better wrestling but she has to watch she doesn’t get caught. Silva by Decision.
Luke G: Moroz. Moroz submitted Silva earlier in their career, gonna bank on it happening again.
Kurt Holobaugh vs. Austin Hubbard
Readers’ pick: Austin Hubbard (76.5%)
Tommy: Holobaugh has looked impressive on The Ultimate Fighter with a sub and a KO of Jason Knight while Hubbard had a decision win and a split decision win against Roosevelt Roberts, who I thought would win it. I’ll take the more polished Hubbard to win. Hubbard by Decision.
Luke G: Hubbard. I didn’t watch TUF so I’ll just side with the bettors here.
Which two fighters win Performance of the Night awards?
Readers’ pick: Ian Machado Garry (82.4%), Zhang Weili (35.3%)
Tommy: Sterling. I think in a really good fight, he will show why he’s the champ of this division before he steps up a weight class. If Garry puts his money where his mouth is and delivers a KO I think he gets a performance bonus as well.
Luke G: Ian Garry and Natalia Silva. Picking 2 proven finishers to snag an extra 50K. I think both have a chance to make real statement wins here.
Which fight wins Fight of the Night?
Readers’ pick: Zhang Weili vs. Amanda Lemos (29.4%)
Tommy: I think Zhang vs Lemos should be a really close fight and both will put on a show
Luke G: Sterling v O’Malley. Highly probable we have some big back and forth moments and I can’t pick against Bantamweights under the bright lights to bring it.
Which fight are you most excited for?
Readers’ pick: Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley (76.5%)
Tommy: Sterling vs O’Malley. Absolutely love O’Malley and I hope he proves me wrong and becomes the new champion. He’s definitely got the tools to do it but Sterling is just on another level can’t wait.
Luke G: Sterling v O’Malley. Excited in a sick to my stomach way because the fear of living in a world where Sean O’Malley is champion has enveloped my mind.
Christophe maintains his lead in the standings thanks to another strong showing. The best record from last week actually belonged to Chong Li, though, who went 11-2. They are currently 21st in the standings. Let’s see if they can break into the top 20 with picks made for UFC 292.
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