UFC returns with UFC 288 this weekend. This weekend, the mixed martial arts leader returns to the home of the New Jersey Devils, with a bantamweight title fight atop the card, as reigning champion Aljamain Sterling squares off against returning former two-division world champion Henry Cejudo in a deeply compelling and potentially legacy-defining matchup for each man.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo Preview
Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling looks for his third successful title defence in 14 months as he welcomes "Triple C," Henry Cejudo, back to the Octagon in the main event on Saturday night.
Sterling had two successful title defences in 2022, winning a split decision against Petr Yan in their highly anticipated rematch at UFC 273 before stopping TJ Dillashaw in the second round at UFC 280 in October. In total, the 33-year-old champion has won eight straight matches and has a 22-3 record, including a 9-0 record in New Jersey.
Cejudo startled many when he announced his retirement from MMA following his UFC 250 victory over Dominick Cruz, but after just under three years away, the former flyweight and bantamweight champion is back.
The Olympic gold medalist was in the midst of an incredible run of form when he retired, having won six consecutive, the last three by stoppage, so it will be interesting to see whether he can continue up right where he left off this weekend.
Sterling is at his finest beginning grappling exchanges and driving a torrid pace that puts opponents on their heels, while Cejudo is an elite wrestler who relies on his own pace and conditioning as well. Each man has worked hard to hone his striking over the course of his career, so it will be fascinating to see how things play out once the cage door closes and the action begins.
Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns
While this fight was only put together a few weeks ago, it is an absolute banger that will determine the next welterweight title challenger.
Muhammad comes into this fight on a four-bout winning streak and a nine-fight unbeaten streak, having ended Sean Brady's undefeated start to his career at UFC 280. Since his brief meeting with current champ Leon Edwards two years ago, the 33-year-old Chicagoland native has aced every test and upped his game at every turn, culminating in his stoppage victory over Brady in Abu Dhabi.
Burns returns to the octagon just a few weeks after defeating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287, joining a select group of competitors who have competed on consecutive pay-per-view events. The skilled Brazilian has already won two races this year, and if he wins a third before June, he will be at the top of the standings heading into the second half of 2023.
Both men love to lead the dance and define the terms of engagement through their pace and pressure, so it'll be intriguing to watch who can pull control of the exchanges away from the other and force their will on the other.
You can see the complete fight card for the event below.
UFC 288 Fight Card:
UFC 288 Preliminary Fight Card
UFC 288 India Time and channel
UFC 288 Main Card will be live in India on Sunday, 7 May 2023 from 7:30 am Indian Standard Time (IST) on Sony TEN 1, Sony TEN 2, Sony TEN 3 and Sony LIV.
What are your predictions for the event? Let us know in the comments below.