UFC 288 Cejudo vs Sterling - who, what and why? + PICKS!

Jack Hughes
April 18, 2023

Cejudo has been begging for a return for some time now, having become a double champ back in 2019, then defeating Dominick Cruz a year later and almost surprisingly, hanging up the gloves. The ‘King of Cringe’ jumps back right into the deep end after almost exactly a 3 year lay off to face Aljamain Sterling, who’s as in form as he’s ever been. The stars have aligned, this is one of the best fights in Bantamweight history.

Co-main, a significant and perhaps title eliminating fight between Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammed. Simply put, no one wants to fight Belal Muhammed. He’s a pressure fighter who never seems to tire, and unless you put him away, he’s likely to win the decision over you. Since joining Khabib’s camp, he seems to have become more aggressive, destroying Sean Brady via TKO in October last year. Gilbert Burns’ activity and recent win over Jorge Masvidal means he’s back in contention. His previous loss to Khamzat was a hard fought war that took the Chechnyan the distance, the only man to have ever done so. Burns is durable and gruesome on the ground. SOME. FIGHT.

Andrade vs Xiaonan. Andrade needs to win this, and this shouldn’t be her most hard fought contest. As a previous champ and with real octagon time, it would surprise me if she did lose. However, Xiaonan has some serious names on her resumé; Gadelha and Dern to name but two…

Let’s make some picks!

Main: Aljamain Sterling, via submission R3.

I want Cejudo to win because it will cause some beautiful chaos in the UFC. He could go up to fight Volkanovski or stick around to defend some of the BIG names coming through in that division, like O'Malley for example. BUT, the feeling is that 3 years is too long a lay off, Aljo is in his prime and I think he’s got the groundwork to get this done, if he can get Henry down.

Co-main: Belal Muhammed, via decision. 

I think Belal has become a pretty clinical martial artist in the last few years, with very few holes in his game and I don’t see Gilbert being able to cause him much problems. That being said, if this fight does get to the floor people need to remember just how high calibre Gilbert’s BJJ is.

Jessica Andrade vs Xiaonan Yan: Andrade via TKO R2.

Andrade needs this W, otherwise she’ll descend into that pseudo-gatekeeper territory and be out of title contention for quite a while. I think this’ll mean a less violent performance, I think she’ll grind out a decision win, but just for the fun of it I’m going to say TKO R2.

Kron Gracie vs Charles Jourdain: Gracie via Submission R2 

The time off will have helped Kron, he is an elite grappler and I don’t think Jourdain has the technical prowess to keep him away from a rear naked choke or any other sort of submission to be honest.

That’s it, end of picks. Some card hey?! Would have loved that Oliviera vs Dariush fight to continue but at least we have that to wait on for a summer bout. What are your picks? Let me know on the Discord chat!

Jack Hughes
Jack has led growth at some of the world’s fastest growing companies