UFC 292 features a long-awaited main event featuring bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and superstar Suga’ Sean O’Malley. The two fighters step in with many unanswered questions that we will find out this weekend.
UFC 292 Urgent Questions: Is Aljamain Sterling Legitimate?
Aljamain Sterling is a very good fighter. But his reign over the bantamweight division has been plagued with asterisks. With wins over Cory Sandhagen and Jimmie Rivera in his run up to the title, many believed he was the king in waiting.
His capturing of the title, however, threw Sterling into turmoil. After losing the fight for some time, Sterling was kneed illegally by then-champion Petr Yan. This resulted in Yan being disqualified and handing Aljamain Sterling the belt as the only man to win the belt via disqualification. This turned much of the fan base against him as fraudulent.
In the rematch, Sterling beat Petr Yan in a close split decision and much of the fan base called the close fight a robbery. Sterling then went to beat another former champion by taking in TJ Dillashaw at the end of 2022. He dominated Dillashaw by finishing him in the second-round but Dillashaw fought with a seriously compromised shoulder.
In his most recent fight, Sterling took on another asterisks fighter in Henry Cejudo who was the former champ that had not fought in three years. That, too, was a split decision in a close fight.
Sterling will look to legitimize his reign with a win over O’Malley and eyes a potential super fight with Alexander Volkanovski at featherweight.
Will Sean O’Malley Welcome The World To The Suga’ Show?
The rise of Sean O’Malley has been weird. Coming up through the UFC ranks, he the who’s who da fook is that guy of the bantamweight division. Upon joining the promotion, O’Malley has put away a host of journeyman.
When he got his first opportunity against a quality opponent, Chito Vera put him away by smashing the legs and knocking him out in the first round from ground and pound.
After the loss, O’Malley went back to the drawing board. He took on slightly elevated competition next when he beat Thomas Almeida. He then took Kris Moutinho to a decision and was unable to put the tough Moutinho away. Raulian Paiva was next, and he was put away in the second. He then took on Pedro Munhoz and that fight ended in a no contest after O’Malley poked his opponent in the eye.
Sean O’Malley was then given his second big test, bigger than the Vera fight this time. He took on former champion Petr Yan and showed he was truly elite. O’Malley won the fight in a close and contested split decision.
A win over Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292 would answer the question burning on everyone’s mind: can O’Malley handle a wrestler? Only one way to find out: lock them in a cage together.
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