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UFC predictions
UFC predictions

UFC gold is on the line in the promotion's return to Boston's TD Garden. Check out our best bets for Saturday’s UFC 292 card based on the odds from our best sportsbooks.

Aljamain Sterling puts his bantamweight crown and nine-fight win streak on the line against fan favorite Sean O’Malley in the main event. The reigning champ unified the crown with a decision over Petr Yan in April of last year and defended it with a stoppage of TJ Dillashaw and a split decision over Henry Cejudo.

For his part, O’Malley has won four straight and eight of nine in the Octagon, with a hard-fought decision over Yan at UFC 280 earning him a crack at the belt.

In the co-main, strawweight queen Weili Zhang puts her title on the line against challenger Amanda Lemos. Zhang enters the first title defense of her second reign nine months after submitting Carla Esparza to win the crown, while Lemos is coming off back-to-back stoppages of Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez.

With all that said, here are our best bets for Saturday’s UFC 292 (odds via our best sports betting apps; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our UFC best bets.

UFC 292 schedule and odds

(odds via DraftKings)

Main Card (10 p.m. ET):

  • Aljamain Sterling (-258) vs. Sean O’Malley (+210)
  • Weili Zhang (-310) vs. Amanda Lemos (+250)
  • Ian Machado Garry (-500) vs. Neil Magny (+380)
  • Da’Mon Blackshear (+185) vs. Mario Bautista (-225)
  • Marlon Vera (-198) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+164)

Prelims (8 p.m. ET):

  • Chris Weidman (+210) vs. Brad Tavares (-258)
  • Gregory Rodrigues (-355) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (+280)
  • Austin Hubbard (-180) vs. Kurt Holobaugh (+150)
  • Brad Katona (-170) vs. Cody Gibson (+142)

Early Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):

  • Andre Petroski (-225) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+185)
  • Andrea Lee (+245) vs. Natalia Silva (-305)
  • Karine Silva (-155) vs. Maryna Moroz (+130)

UFC 292 best bets

  • Fight line: Vera ML vs. Munhoz (-198 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Upset: Meerschaert ML vs. Petroski (+198 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Winning method: Meerschaert by submission vs. Petroski (+390 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Prop bet: Weidman vs. Tavares goes the distance (+114 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Parlay: Sterling vs. O’Malley Under 3.5 rounds (-145) + Garry vs. Magny goes the distance (+120) + Vera (-198) = +459 (via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

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UFC top picks for UFC 292

Fight Line: Vera ML vs. Munhoz (-198 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

Marlon Vera can be a terror on the feet when he’s in his bag and pushing his advantages, and as the more athletic and versatile striker in this matchup with Pedro Munhoz, I’m counting on a vintage showing from “Chito” come fight night.

Munhoz is a willing striker and exceptionally durable, but he lacks the raw pop Vera packs in his mitts and eats a whopping 5.90 significant strikes per minute. Provided Vera avoids shooting recklessly into Munhoz’s patented guillotine choke, the Ecuadorian should put Munhoz on the back foot, sling heaps of leather and elbows, and land the more consequential blows en route to a rebound victory.

Upset: Meerschaert ML vs. Petroski (+198 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

I’m a sucker for a Gerald Meerschaert upset and a willing recidivist for several reasons. Firstly, the seasoned submission artist has stunned highly touted opposition like Bruno Silva and Makhmud Muradov in the Octagon, and he gets a similarly promising foe in Andre Petroski, who may just indulge him with a grappling match, as he averages over five takedowns per 15 minutes.

Should the streaking Petroski choose to pad that stat, he’ll be entering Meerschaert’s world, and I’m banking on the latter to flaunt his edge in experience and make Petroski pay for even the slightest mistake on the mat for another upset.

Winning method: Meerschaert by submission vs. Petroski (+390 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Instead of settling on a Sterling submission win over O’Malley, I’m doubling down on this week’s upset for a more rewarding payout (+195 to +390).

Petroski is solid on the mat, but Meerschaert boasts the more varied submission repertoire, over five times the experience (51 pro bouts to 10), and over six times the tapouts (27 to six). Furthermore, Meerschaert is willing to trade leather on the feet to earn a takedown or eat some on the mat in pursuit of submissions, and should Petroski initiate either scenario, the crafty Meerschaert will need only the slightest of openings to snatch a neck or a limb and secure a 28th career tapout.

Prop bet: Weidman vs. Tavares goes the distance (+114 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Granted, Chris Weidman is brittle, but given that dreaded fragility, his lengthy layoff, and Brad Tavares’ methodical, risk-averse ways, these veteran middleweights should require the full 15 to determine the better man.

Indeed, fighters with Weidman’s injury history, age, and inactivity are often gun shy, while Tavares is notoriously conservative in the cage, having gone the distance in 16 of his 22 UFC showings. With a tentative Weidman likely to pursue the takedown and Tavares defending 80% of his opposition’s attempts and landing only three significant strikes per minute, this pair should produce a tepid three rounds and leave the judges with the burden of picking a winner.

Parlay: Sterling vs. O’Malley Under 3.5 rounds (-145) + Garry vs. Magny goes the distance (+120) + Vera (-198) = +459 (via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

This week’s parlay includes our fight line pick and a pair of prop bets for the main card. Sterling and O’Malley boast nearly two dozen finishes between them, and their clash should end well inside the distance, with the former aiming to secure submissions on the mat and the latter riding his rangy striking. As for Ian Garry vs. Neil Magny, I expect each man to show the other ample respect, with Garry methodically striking from the outside and Magny jabbing his way into the clinch, en route to a judges’ verdict.

UFC best bets made 18/8/2023 at 12:04 a.m. ET.

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