UFC bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling goes for his 10th win in a row, but second-ranked contender Sean O'Malley will have something to say about that. Here are our Sterling vs. O’Malley UFC picks based on the odds from our best sportsbooks.
A pure striker who can land slick combinations, O’Malley earned his shot at gold with a razor-thin split-decision victory over Petr Yan at UFC 280. Prior to the bout, Yan was widely considered the uncrowned king at 135 pounds, so it was a massive win for O'Malley.
Meanwhile, Sterling has authored an all-time campaign at 135 pounds. An absolute wizard on the mat, Sterling solidified his spot atop the mountain with a split-decision triumph over former double-champ Henry Cejudo. Aside from Cejudo, Sterling’s growing list of victims includes Pedro Munhoz, Jimmy Rivera, Cory Sandhagen, T.J. Dillashaw, and the aforementioned Yan.
With the bantamweight title hanging in the balance, here is our best Sterling vs. O’Malley pick for UFC 292 (odds via our best sports betting apps; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Sterling vs. O’Malley pick
Aljamain Sterling to win (-233 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Sterling may be a bridge too far for O’Malley.
By most metrics O’Malley should have a decided advantage on the feet. The challenger is the more accurate striker, and lands at a higher volume. Of course these numbers may be a bit inflated since O’Malley’s strength of schedule pales in comparison to Sterling’s, but the MMA Lab product should be able to set the tone with his striking.
That said, I expect Sterling to eventually drag this bout to the ground where he’ll start imposing his will. O’Malley was taken down six times in his win over Yan, so there’s a good chance Sterling can snatch him at least once. The champ averages just over two takedowns per 15 minutes, and that’s likely all he’ll need. I expect Sterling to unleash hell on the floor where he’ll tirelessly pursue submissions and advantageous positions.
If there isn’t enough meat on the bones for you to back Sterling at -233, you can always bet a double chance over at PointsBet. Nineteen of Sterling’s 23 career victories have come via submission or decision, and you can back him to win by either method (submission or on points) at -165.
Sterling vs. O’Malley best odds
Sterling opened as a -220 favorite, and that number has jumped as high as -260 depending on the sportsbook. If you’re backing the champ straight up, your best odds can be snatched up over at PointsBet (-233)
If you want to maximize value while still betting on Sterling, you can always back him to win via submission (+195 PointsBet). “The Funkmaster” is miles ahead of O’Malley on the ground, and has eight submission victories in his career.
Sterling vs. O’Malley fight info
- Date: Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023
- TV: PPV, ESPN +
- Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Sterling-O’Malley pick made 8/18/2023 at 8 a.m. ET
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