The UFC is making their way to Boston, Massachusetts this weekend for UFC 292! This 12-fight card gets capped off with a pair of championship title fights, as well as this season’s Ultimate Fighter tournament finals. A beautiful mix of veterans looking for title aspirations and young, hungry fighters looking to make a statement. This should be a fun night of fights!
The Ultimate Fighter Season 31 Finals
For those of you who don’t know, the Ultimate Fighter is a tournament and reality television show held by the UFC. They invite fighters from all over to come to Las Vegas and live in a house with each other to be coached by 2 UFC superstars. This season featured the notorious Connor McGregor coaching a team of prospects, while Michael Chandler coached a team of UFC veterans. As to no surprise, Chandler’s veterans dominated the less involved McGregor’s prospects.
This leads us to the finals in both weight classes. Brad Katona and Cody Gibson face off for the bantamweight final, while Kurt Holobaugh and Austin Hubbard face off for the lightweight final. Here’s how I see both fights playing out:
Brad Katona vs Cody Gibson
With both guys coming from Chandler’s veterans, both men had a brief stint in the UFC previously. Katona, who was the season 27 winner of the Ultimate Fighter, is looking to be the first ever to win the tournament twice. Katona went on to a 1-2 record in his first stint with the UFC, has won 5 fights in a row leading to this massive opportunity. Gibson, another UFC alumni, went 1-3 in his first go around in the UFC (one of those losses coming from current champion Aljamain Sterling). He has racked up an impressive 7-2 record since and won the belt in two different organizations. With this fight, I am going off of what I’ve seen in the show, and that is Cody Gibson – a pure savage. Gibson only needed one round to sub his opponent, while Katona was taken to decision in a fight that I am not certain he won.
My Pick: Cody Gibson to win + 134
Kurt Holobaugh vs Austin Hubbard
Again, both fighters coming out of Chandler’s veteran camp. Holobaugh had 2 prior stints in the UFC, ultimately going winless in 5 bouts. Hubbard, on the other hand, did show some promise in his previous run in the UFC going 3-4 in his 7 UFC fights. Holobaugh will be the more rounded fighter in this matchup, with excellent skills on the feet and on the ground. Hubbard will want to keep this fight standing, so he can apply his relentless forward pressure that usually wears on his opponents to the point he dominates in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. That is exactly how I see this fight playing out. Hubbard will be determined to stuff takedowns and keep his foot on the pedal. This fight has ‘going the distance’ written all over it, which I believe should favor Austin Hubbard.
My Pick: Austin Hubbard to win by decision +145
Marlon Vera Vs Pedro Munhoz
Absolute fireworks to start the main event, when Marlon “Chito” Vera faces off with Pedro Munhoz. Vera, the number six ranked fighter in the UFC’s bantamweight division, is coming into this fight looking to rebound from his previous fight in March, where he lost to Cory Sandhagen. The scrappy veteran, who is always looking to dictate the pace of the fight, got out worked by Sandhagen. Pedro Munhoz, the number ten ranked bantamweight, has been in the organization for 9 years and has always been at the top of the division. Munhoz has been shaky towards the end of his career, but his last fight was one of his most impressive performances up to date when he put an end to Chris Gutierrez’s 7-fight win streak.
Unfortunately for Munhoz, I’m predicting he’s going to be outmatched with a hungry and determined Vera. Vera, who is O’Malley’s lone loss, would be set to have a massive shot at the belt if Sean can somehow win the belt later in the evening, and for that I see him coming out like a man possessed.
My Pick: Marlon “Chito” Vera to win by KO, TKO, or submission + 340
Aljamain Sterling Vs Sean O’Malley
Man oh man am I excited for this one! With the bantamweight title on the line, a true stylistic clash between wrestler (Sterling) and striker (O’Malley). Sterling, who is chasing GOAT status in the UFC, has dominated in one of the most impressive runs in the UFC. Over the past 6 years, Sterling has won 9 consecutive fights against ranked opponents, including 3 title defenses against former champions. O’Malley will have his hands full for this one, but I believe he is up for the test. O’Malley is one of the most electrifying and viral fighters the UFC has seen since the notorious Connor McGregor. O’Malley, a Dana White’s Contender Series alum, has been nothing short of sensational since his debut in the UFC in 2017. Amassing a 9-1 record since joining the UFC, O’Malley has provided us with some of the most viral and vicious KO’s. O’Malley is 16-1 coming into this fight and definitely has the confidence and trash talking to back it up on his side, but that won’t help him from stopping the relentless takedowns Sterling will be throwing his way.
This fight shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. If Sterling has his way with Sean and secures the takedowns, in hopes of keeping him down, he will win by unanimous decision. If O’Malley can keep the fight standing, there is no doubt in my mind that he will find a powerful shot to end Sterling’s reign as bantamweight champion. Even if he doesn’t land that knockout shot, I still see him out-landing Sterling enough to get the nod from the judges. Don’t be surprised when you hear Bruce Buffer scream “AND NEW!” Saturday night!
My Pick: “Sugar” Sean O’Malley to win +205
Best Parlay Plays for UFC 292
- Gregory Rodriguez
- Brad Tavares
- Ian Machado Garry
- Zhang Welli
- Maryna Moroz
- Gerald Meerschaert
- Mario Bautista