What’s up fight fans!? This Saturday UFC 288 is coming to us from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Headlined by a bantamweight title fight between the current champion Aljamain Sterling and former 2 division champion Henry Cejudo. These guys straight up do not like each other and I’m very much looking forward to seeing them settle their differences in the octagon!
Belal Muhammad Vs Gilbert Burns
Before we get to the highly anticipated main event, the co-main event features two bad-ass dudes who have a title shot in their grasp with a win this Saturday. The number four ranked welterweight Belal Muhammad takes on the number five ranked Gilbert Burns. This fight was put together just a few weeks ago when the Oliveira-Dariush fight got canceled due to an Oliveira injury. As much fun as that fight would have been, this is an awesome replacement.
Belal Muhammad comes into this fight riding a 4-fight win streak and most recently giving Sean Brady his first career loss when Belal knocked him out at UFC 280. Belal is the definition of a well-rounded fighter. He is so comfortable anywhere this fight goes and has insane cardio to match.
Gilbert Burns jumps right back into the octagon after just recently having his way with Jorge Masvidal just a month ago at UFC 287. Burns, who many thought would get a title shot against Edwards after his previous win, looks to add one more competitive win to his resume before challenging for the gold.
Both these men have a similar fight style and want to pressure and move forward the entire fight. I’m interested to see who will lead the dance and impose their will on the other. Both men have ridiculous cardio and a solid chin to the point I don’t see either fighter finishing this one inside the distance. Which means this fight comes down to who is going to win the wrestling and grappling exchanges. In my opinion, Burns has the slight advantage on the ground but I genuinely believe Belal has every tool in his toolbox to not get held down. Belal’s cardio is going to keep him in this fight because he just refuses to take his foot off of the gas in every single fight. Belal is going to wear Burns out throughout the fight and will look to secure a win from the judges.
My Pick: Belal Muhammad to win +106. Also Belal to win by decision +220
Aljamain Sterling vs Henry Cejudo
Now for the fight I am most looking forward to. The main event bout between current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, who will be defending his belt against former 2 division champ, and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo.
The champion Aljamain Sterling is looking to defend his belt for the third time this weekend. After successfully defending the strap twice in 2022 with what was a split decision win over Petr Yan and a 2nd round stoppage of TJ Dillashaw. This will be his biggest test yet when he welcomes Cejudo back into the octagon.
Henry Cejudo, who retired as the champion in 2020 after successfully defending his belt 3 times as the UFC bantamweight champion, is returning to action after a 3-year layoff. For most fighters that would be a death sentence to take that much time off from fighting, but Cejudo is a different animal. He ran through both the bantamweight and flyweight during his reign in the UFC. Cejudo is looking to take his belt back and I’m exciting to see if he can look like the Cejudo we know and love!
On paper this fight is an interesting matchup stylistically. Both fighters have outstanding wrestling and grappling and want to push to pace. Both men also have shown much improvement in their striking over the course of their career and that’s where I believe the fight will be won. Who can land more strikes and possibly even a fight ending blow? My money will be on Cejudo to return to the UFC with a bang and to remind these bantamweights how truly scary Cejudo is inside the octagon.
My Pick: Henry Cejudo to win -115
Best Parlay Plays for UFC 288
- Ikram Aliskerov
- Smith/Porter under 1.5 rounds
- Khaos Williams
- Kennedy Nzechukwu
- Movsar Evloev by KO or Sub