Get a round of UFC predictions for the promotion’s next pay-per-view extravaganza, UFC 288 on Saturday night.
After a pair of cards in Las Vegas, the MMA world leader returns to PPV, and New Jersey, for a card headlined by a championship matchup in the bantamweight division. After three years away, former two-division king Henry Cejudo is back to regain the 135-pound strap from current king Aljamain Sterling.
Also Read: Francis Ngannou ‘close to signing’ with fight promotion: Why it is likely PFL MMA
The co-main event is a fan-friendly short-notice scrap between two of the very best welterweight fighters on Earth when Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad faceoff in a booking with serious title fight ramifications.
Plus, several other Octagon favorites like Jessica Andrade, Bryce Mitchell, and “Khaos” Williams will return to action at the Prudential Center, in Newark on May 6. With that in mind, let’s make a few bold UFC predictions for the card this weekend.
UFC predictions: 5 UFC 288 fighters getting Ws Saturday
Aljamain Sterling (22-3) vs. Henry Cejudo (16-2)
Sterling’s reign as champion has been one of the more peculiar in UFC history. He won the title from Petr Yan by disqualification, barely defended it by split decision in the rematch, then beat former titlist TJ Dillashaw when he competed with a serious shoulder injury. Now, he will face a former champ that hasn’t fought in three years. It seems like the New York native has been in a can’t-win situation ever since becoming the warden of the division.
Nevertheless, even with such a long layoff, this will be the toughest test of Sterling’s career. Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler and a talented striker. If not for the layoff, “Triple C” would likely be a big favorite. This one should be close for the first couple of rounds, but once “The Messenger” knocks off the ring rust and uploads every bit of information he needs on “Funkmaster,” expect him to cruise to a unanimous decision win.
- UFC 288 odds: Sterling (-105) vs. Cejudo (-115)
- Prediction: Cejudo by unanimous decision
Jéssica Andrade (24-10) vs. Xiaonan Yan (16-3)
At UFC 288, multi-weight star Jessica Andrade goes back down to strawweight and takes on one of the division’s best in Xiaonan Yan. The Chinese star has not racked up a bunch of flashy wins during her time in the UFC, but she is a very skilled fighter that has only loss to the current champ, Carla Esparza, and top contender Marina Rodriguez.
That is pretty much what the Brazilian is if she is in tip-top form after cutting weight to 115 pounds for the first time in six fights. Adrade is a former champion and is still in her prime. Yan will make it very difficult, but sooner or later “Bate Estaca” will land that power strike that has felled many skilled fighters before.
- Odds: Andrade (-190) vs. Yan (+160)
- UFC Prediction: Andrade by TKO, Round 3
Belal Muhammad (22-3) vs. Gilbert Burns (22-5)
After Beniel Dariush vs. Charles Oliveria was removed from the card, fight fans got an outstanding replacement in Burns vs. Muhammad. “Remember the Name” is deserving of a title opportunity now but seems to be blocked by the company’s favoritism for Colby Covington. He is the fighter with a lot to lose in this bout and is taking a big risk.
Burns is a dangerous fighter who can win anywhere. However, it just seems like Muhammad is on an unstoppable rise to a title fight, and has the wrestling and cardio that will allow him to grind out a very close decision victory.
- Odds: Muhammad (+105) vs. Burns (-125)
- UFC Prediction: Muhammad by unanimous decision
Drew Dober (26-11) vs. Matt Frevola (10-3-1)
Drew Dober vs. Matt Frevola has serious potential to be UFC 288’s fight of the night. Both men are fighters that are willing to throw caution to the win in pursuit of landing impactful strikes. Frevola is an underrated fighter and double tough, however, Dober’s power is a serious x-factor in this fight. It just seems like it’s a matter of time before the Nebraska native lines up the punch that drops the aggressive New Yorker and sets up a TKO finish.
- Odds: Dober (-210) vs. Frevola (+180)
- UFC Prediction: Dober by TKO, Round 2
Kron Gracie (5-1) vs. Charles Jourdain (13-6-1)
One of the current members of the legendary Gracie family, Kron Gracie, returns after four years away at UFC 288. The 34-year-old is a gifted grappler, naturally, and is tougher than you would expect. But he has always lacked the necessary striking to reach the higher levels of the sport.
In Charles Jourdain he gets a winnable matchup, but “Air” is very experienced and has faced a wide variety of foes in his career. Meaning he has what it takes to avoid the dangers of Gracie and eventually send him home with a second straight loss in MMA.
- Odds: Gracie (+150) vs. Jourdain (-175)
- UFC Prediction: Jourdain by TKO, Round 2
Categorized: MMA MMA Frenzy