Predictions and odds for every UFC 288 main card fight.
Another month, another huge UFC pay-per-view comes our way. This Saturday, May 6, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (22-3) will look to make his third title defense when he meets the returning double champion Henry Cejudo (16-2) in the main event from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
That is far from it though. From the early prelims all the way to the colossal headliner, UFC 288 promises to be a stacked card that is likely to deliver a few shocks as well as some legacy-defining moments.
To get you all prepped for this massive event, here are the predictions and odds for all of UFC 288's main card clashes.
*All odds are from DraftKings.com
Predicting every UFC 288 main card fight with betting odds
Kron Gracie (+155) vs. Charles Jourdain (-180)
Kicking off the main card sees the return of one of the best jiu jitsu practitioners in all of the UFC. Kron Gracie (5-1) puts the legendary Gracie name back on a UFC fight card when he faces off against Charles Jourdain (13-6-1) in an intriguing featherweight matchup.
The last time we saw the IBJJF European and ADCC world champion compete in MMA was back in 2019, when he dropped a unanimous decision loss to Cub Swanson in a fight of the night bonus winner. His opponent is facing a slightly worse run of form, dropping his last two in a row.
Jourdain definitely has more to lose as a loss to a returning Gracie could see him cut from the UFC, however, since Gracie last competed, Jourdain has fought a total of nine times. The record might not be outstanding, going 4-4-1 during that stretch, but his activity will prove too much for his opponent.
Expect a similar exhilarating war as the one between Gracie and Swanson all those years ago but with Gracie not making it to the end this time around.
Prediction: Charles Jourdain by KO/TKO (+130)
Movsar Evloev vs. Diego Lopes
*Odds not yet available for this fight.
Another featherweight bout continues the action, although we are still to be sure if this fight remains on the main card or not. Undefeated prospect and No. 10 ranked Movsar Evloev (16-0) was meant to face Bryce Mitchell in a contest to see which prospect really is a legitimate threat at 145 pounds.
Unfortunately for fight fans, Mitchell was forced to pull out with an injury, leading to Diego Lopes (21-5) taking the fight on five days notice to make his UFC debut. In all honesty, Evloev seemed poised to go through a wounded Mitchell so don't expect anything different.
Lopes has a strong ground game, winning 11 of his 21 fights by submission, but he has never faced a grappler on the level of Evloev. There's intrigue in picking Evloev to finish the fight but considering he's had such a late change in opponent, expect him to grind out a lopsided unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Movsar Evloev by decision
Jessica Andrade (-190) vs. Xionan Yan (+160)
An absolute banger of a fight in the women's strawweight division, this fight could be a potential title eliminator given the state of the UFC's 115-pound division. The No.4 ranked Jessica Andrade (24-10) takes on the No.6 ranked contender Xionan Yan (16-3) in what could potentially walk away as the fight of the night when it is all said and done.
Andrade has long been a staple of both the strawweight and flyweight divisions, jumping up and down to wreck havoc to whoever is in front of her. She might have lost her most recent bout against Erin Blanchfield but that was at flyweight and Andrade came in as a short notice replacement. Her last fight at strawweight? A performance bonus submission victory over the No.3 ranked Amanda Lemos.
Given her resume, it's hard to pick against her but Yan is one of the toughest opponents out there. She has just as much power as Andrade, winning seven fights by knockout, and picked up a needed win against Mackenzie Dern the last time she competed.
It's a very tough fight to call but let's take the more experienced Andrade to pick up the win. She should have the advantage on the ground and grappling exchanges so expect her to pick up another win by submission.
Prediction: Jessica Andrade by submission (+500)
Co-main event: Belal Muhammad (+105) vs. Gilbert Burns (-125)
We all have to be extremely thankful that these two warriors were willing to step in to fill a massive void on the card. Following the cancellation of Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush, it seemed that UFC 288 would have to bank on a fight of the year contender from their main event to save face.
Thankfully, Belal Muhammad (22-3) and Gilbert Burns (22-5) were more than ready to take up this slot. Better yet, the fight is a five round co-main event, with the winner almost all but guaranteed a title shot against Leon Edwards.
Given the elite level skills these two possess and all the uncertainties surrounding the fight, it would be surprising to see either men push for a quick finish. There's a reason they both clamored for a five round fight, with both hoping to show off their full skillset through 25 minutes to make a real statement as to who deserves the shot more.
It's a tricky fight to pick and I'd advise staying far away from it if you are betting. We've seen Burns handle the grappling of Khamzat Chimaev so there's little to suggest that he can't do the same against Muhammad. Burns picks up a vital victory on his quest for a second title shot.
Prediction: Gilbert Burns by decision (+250)
Main event: Aljamain Sterling (-105) vs. Henry Cejudo (-115)
The fight that this whole card was built around, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (22-3) will be looking to add the biggest name to his already impressive resume when he faces former UFC double champion and Olympic gold medallist Henry Cejudo (16-2) with the title on the line.
Despite not competing for three years, Cejudo is the betting favorite. Perhaps it is because of his accolades in the sport or because people still do not want to give Sterling his flowers as a champion but there's a reason why the odds are so close.
The layoff from Cejudo definitely plays a part. The size discrepancy, although not that much in Sterling's favor, can also play a significant part given that Sterling is constantly flirting with a move up to featherweight while Cejudo made a name for himself in the flyweight division. Still, this is hard fight to pick but we have to go with the more active man.
Cejudo might be a former double champion but since he last competed, Sterling has won four fights in a row in a run that included winning the bantamweight title and defending it twice. He won't be able to put Cejudo away like he did to T.J Dillashaw but Sterling will find a way to defeat Cejudo.
Prediction: Aljamain Sterling by decision (+225)