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UFC 292: Five things we learned

UFC 292 results

(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC 292 results
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC 292: Five things we learned

UFC 292 will go down as a historic pay-per-view. Sean O’Malley flipped the UFC on its head as he knocked out Aljamain Sterling to win the UFC bantamweight title. The remainder of UFC 292 saw impressive results that are crucial to the landscape of several divisions. Let’s discuss all the important results from UFC 292 and go through everything we learned.

Sean O’Malley is a superstar

The main event of UFC 292 created a superstar. Yes, from a technical perspective, O’Malley and his head coach Tim Welch created and executed an outstanding game plan. The story is bigger than that, however. It is not every day that a budding superstar becomes a full-blown star.

O’Malley is now one of the biggest stars in the sport. The UFC posted the whole second round on YouTube and it has gotten 3.9 million views in 12 hours. First of all, the UFC notoriously does not show fight clips from pay-per-view events on social media. For the organization to post the entire second round is insanely unique.

On top of that, O’Malley had social media buzzing. It is rare for a fight to garner this much attention on social media. In the future, that will translate to pay-per-view buys.

Weili Zhang is the best female fighter on the planet

In the UFC 292 co-main event, Weili Zhang dominated Amanda Lemos. I am not a fan of using statistics to explain how a fight went because it removes context, but the difference in strikes landed is notable in this bout. According to UFC stats, Zhang landed 296 strikes to Lemos’ 29 while adding six takedowns and 16 minutes of control time.

In this bout, Zhang proved that she is the best female fighter on the planet. Zhang has an outstanding combination of physical attributes and technical skills. Furthermore, in this matchup, she did a great job of exploiting the best path to victory to get her hand raised. Despite what the official pound-for-pound rankings say, she should hold the number one position.

I will say, Zhang has some battles on the horizon. Yan Xioanan is making a case for a title fight and Tatiana Suarez has shown clear championship potential. It will not be easy for her to maintain her position at the top of the sport.

Ian Machado Garry is on the right path

Ian Machado Garry got a dominant result at UFC 292 as he thoroughly dominated Neil Magny on his way to a 30-24 scorecard.

Machado Garry looked outstanding against Magny. On the feet, he smoked Magny with leg kicks while adding some massive shots to the head. Meanwhile, he won clinch positions and took away Magny’s biggest strength.

Machado Garry is currently on the path to stardom. The hype train is growing and he is on the proper path to pick up more passengers. Machado Garry is slowly working his way to the top of the welterweight division. At this point, he has two ranked wins. It looks the plan will be for him to continue improving as he adds more names to his resume. That is a great way to improve his skills while making new fans. It’s a great combination.

Marlon Vera is a happy man

The overall results of UFC 292 left Marlon Vera as a happy man. In his bout, he earned a well-fought decision victory over Pedro Munhoz while putting his striking on display. In the main event, the trajectory of his career changed as O’Malley won bantamweight gold.

Vera was likely desperately rooting for O’Malley to win the belt. The only loss in O’Malley’s career was against Vera. Now, the champion is calling for a rematch to erase the only blemish from his resume. As a result, Vera has an opportunity to skip the line and fight for a title. If Sterling was the champion, he would have needed at least two wins, in my estimation, to get a title bout.

Do not strike with Natalia Silva

On the prelims of UFC 292, Natalia Silva put the UFC women’s flyweight division on notice. The elite prospect got an opportunity to fight ranked opponent Andre Lee and she made the best of it.

Silva absolutely diced Lee on the feet. It began with her ability to kick. This allowed her to repeatedly land leg and body kicks. On top of that, once she threw kicks, she managed to land some really solid punches on the inside. At the end of the day, the speed of her striking was too much to handle.

When the UFC rankings are updated next week, Silva will have a number next to her name. As she climbs those rankings, opponents should take notice of her striking skills and look to grapple. Obviously, saying not to strike with her is a little bit of hyperbole. Although, if you strike with Silva you better be an elite striker in your own right.

***

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