UFC 288 kicks off with a five-fight main card that is culminated with Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo for the UFC bantamweight championship. The event will take place live from the Prudential Arena in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday, May 6.
Sterling (22-3) will be making the third defense of his title. He won the title from Petr Yan at UFC 259 after Yan delivered an illegal knee to Sterling’s face while he was down. The rematch with Yan was signed for UFC 273 and Sterling used smart grappling and timely striking to take a split decision from Yan. He followed that up with a TKO win over T.J. Dillashaw.
Cejudo (18-2) is a former Olympic Gold Medalist in freestyle wrestling, winning the 55 kilograms division in 2008. He won the flyweight title in an upset of Demetrious Johnson on UFC 227 and made a successful defense against Dillashaw before deciding to move up to bantamweight and take on that division’s champion Marlon Moraes. Cejudo stopped Moraes by TKO in the third round at UFC 238 to hold titles at both divisions. He finished Dominic Cruz at UFC 249 in the second round and retired shortly thereafter. Now he returns to the octagon after a three-year layoff.
Cejudo is a -115 betting favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, Sterling is the underdog at -105.
The main card gets going at 10 p.m. ET, and Sterling vs. Cejudo is the final fight on the card. Their bout is likely to get going around midnight or later, depending on the length of the undercard and previous bouts on the card.