UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling makes the second attempted defense of his 135lb title in three months at this Saturday’s UFC 292 in Boston — and it could be the last time we see “The Funkmaster” in the weight class.
Sterling has signalled that his time as a bantamweight is drawing nigh, after defending his title three times previously. A move to featherweight is likely the next step for Aljo, which would clear the way for Sterling’s teammate, Merab Dvalishvili, to finally get his own shot at gold. Infamously, the pair have been steadfast in their refusal to fight one another, even with the title on the line.
Sean O’Malley hopes to put a wrench in the works this Saturday, though it’s unclear whether an O’Malley win would convince Sterling to stick around 135lbs for a rematch. Regardless, the most popular fighter in Contender Series history gets his first shot at gold Saturday, which, if successful, could propel him to the next level of stardom.
In the co-main event, Zhang Weili puts her newly won strawweight title on the line against Brazilian contender Amanda Lemos. It’s the first attempted title defense of Zhang’s second reign as UFC champ, with a win potentially lining up a fight with either Yan Xiaonan or Tatiana Suarez.
UFC 292 also has the The Ultimate Fighter 31 finals, the return of Chris Weidman from a horrific leg break, and Irish star Ian Machado Garry taking on Neil Magny. The event’s pre-fight press conference rolls around Thursday, kicking off at 6PM ET. Catch that above; the full card is listed below.
Aljamain Sterling (c) vs. Sean O’Malley — for the UFC bantamweight championship
Zhang Weili (c) vs. Amanda Lemos — for the UFC women’s strawweight championship
Ian Machado Garry vs. Neil Magny
Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Mario Bautista
Marlon Vera vs. Pedro Munhoz
Chris Weidman vs. Brad Tavares
Gregory Rodrigues vs. Denis Tiuliulin
Austin Hubbard vs. Kurt Holobaugh — TUF 31 bantamweight semifinal
Brad Katona vs. Cody Gibson — TUF 31 bantamweight semifinal
Andre Petroski vs. Gerald Meerschaert
Andrea Lee vs. Natália Silva
Karine Silva vs. Maryna Moroz