UFC 288 Main Card Predictions

The UFC kicks off the month of May with a star-studded Pay-Per-View card featuring a stacked fourteen-bout fight card from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

The Bantamweight Championship is on the line in the main event as reigning champion Aljamain Sterling looks to make his third title defense against the man who never lost the strap, Henry Cejudo, returning from a three-year layoff. In the co-main event, Welterweights gamers step up on short notice as Gilbert Burns faces off with Belal Muhammad in a match confirmed to determine the next challenger for the Welterweight throne.

Drew Dober and Matt Frrevola take center stage in the featured prelim in a guaranteed classic, while prospects like Ikram Aliskerov and Rafael Estevam look to make successful UFC debuts off Contender Series signings.

Be sure to check out the nine prelims predictions!

Aljamain Sterling (22-3) vs. Henry Cejudo (18-2) (BW Championship)

We finally get to see Cejudo defend the title he never lost. Sterling has been on a certifiable tear with eight straight wins and two title defenses to this point. However, I expect Cejudo’s wrestling advantage to dictate where this fight takes place, meaning Aljo will likely be reduced to his distance striking utilizing the constant front leg kick and stiff jab to maintain range. As Cejudo’s boxing is on point and delivers effective shots while in range, his power and one-shot knockout abialioty also help to keep his opponent in check, working within the defensive holes Aljamian leaves with his long kicks and jabs. I expect a narrow boxing match on the feet early while Aljo looks to secure takedowns, while Cejudo stuffs the entry and works dirty boxing for a late knockout or tense decision nod.

My Pick: Henry Cejudo via Knockout

Belal Muhammad (22-3) vs. Gilbert Burns (22-5) (WW)

What an incredible co-main we were gifted through this shot-notice booking. Both are talented grapplers, but I expect Belal’s wrestling to dictate where the fight takes place. Ultimately, I expect a striking-focused battle with the power of Burns opposite the volume of Muhammad. I expect both to mix in fruitless takedown attempts to keep their opponent’s guessing, with Belal’s superior striking selection and jab dictating a very close fight. A split decision in this one would not surprise me.

My Pick: Belal Muhammad via Decision

Jessica Andrade (24-10) vs. Yan Xiaonan (16-3) (SW)

I’m excited for this one as I expect we see a barn burner for as long as it lasts. Both women sling heat on the feet and Xiaonan has the takedown defense to deny Andrade’s power takedown entries, so I expect a war here. I see Andrade taking some real damage before landing a kill shot after the midway point.

My Pick: Jessica Andrade via Knockout

Movsar Evloev (16-0) vs. Diego Lopes (21-5) (FTW)

Much respect to Diego Lopes for stepping in for Bryce Mitchell on short notice and while I believe he has a promising future in the UFC, he’s not up to Evloev’s level. Expect the Russian to work his composed boxing combos and ride control for another decision victory.

My Pick: Movsar Evloev via Decision

Kron Gracie (5-1) vs. Charles Jourdain (13-6-1) (FTW)

While Gracie is by no means a future contender, he has the skills to win this one. While his takedown ability is not up to the level of his submission prowess, Jourdain has been taken down in eight of his ten UFC bouts. Once it inevitably hits the mat (unless Jourdain gets a speedy KO) Gracie will quickly find the neck.

My Pick: Kron Gracie via Submission

Tune in to our home page Saturday night for the live results!

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