UFC 292: Aljamain Sterling vs Sean O’Malley Suffers a Major Casualty as Ex-UFC Champ Out Injured Ahead of Vital Fight

Published 08/13/2023, 3:23 AM EDT

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With UFC 292 drawing closer, enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting the high-stakes showdown between UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and the number 2 ranked Sean O’Malley. However, a sudden twist has caused a major blow to the highly anticipated UFC 292 event.

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Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (13-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who was scheduled to square off against rising prospect Mario Bautista, won’t be gracing the octagon. The disheartening news comes because of an injury Garbrandt sustained during training, prompting his withdrawal from the matchup.

Cody Garbrandt says “I’m bummed”

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The absence of Garbrandt from the card was unveiled during the live broadcast of UFC Vegas 78 on Saturday, underscoring the unfortunate turn of events that have transpired. Garbrandt himself took to Twitter to address the situation, his disappointment noticeable in his tweet, “Yes, I’m bummed I tore my disk again. I’ll be back in there sooner than later.”

 

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The matchup was poised to be a pivotal moment for Garbrandt, who was seeking to build upon a recent decision win over Trevin Jones, marking his resurgence after enduring a two-fight slump.

However, the ex-bantamweight champ’s recent career trajectory hasn’t been without challenges. Since losing his UFC bantamweight title to TJ Dillashaw in 2017, the former champ has encountered a series of setbacks, going 2-5 in his subsequent bouts.

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A bitter blow to Mario Bautista’s hopes at UFC 292

In contrast, Mario Bautista (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) had been gearing up for the clash, riding the wave of a four-fight winning streak, three of which were secured by first-round submissions. And a victory over Garbrandt would have undoubtedly propelled Bautista up the rankings.

The 30-year-old fighter’s transformation from a 2-2 start in his UFC journey to this 4-fight winning streak has showcased his undeniable potential. Further, the win would have showcased his mettle against a seasoned name and placed an undeniable stamp on his fighting resume.

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For Bautista, it is incredibly devastating to lose the approaching Garbrant fight because he has been very close to the Bantamweight top 15 rankings and super underrated his entire UFC career. A win over Garbrandt would have shot him up the rankings and put a legit name on his resume.

Now, with Garbrandt’s withdrawal creating a void in the UFC 292 lineup, Bautista remains hopeful that a replacement fighter will step up on short notice to keep him on the card.

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With this unexpected turn of events, all eyes are now on Mario Bautista. If he accepts a short-notice fight, who among the bantamweight division contenders would make the most sense for him to face?

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Written by:

Hiteshwar Sharma

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Hiteshwar Sharma is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. An avid MMA enthusiast with a passion for UFC, he has been engrossed in the world of Mixed Martial Arts since 2016. Among the myriad of fighters who have graced the octagon, none shine as brightly as the legendary Conor "The Notorious" McGregor in his eyes.
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Edited by:

Rupkamal Sarma

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