Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
UFC 288 takes place at the he Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday night as bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling defends his title against Henry Cejudo.
We’ve called on Racing Post expert Bobbie Jackson ahead of Saturday’s big night, with all his tips priced up with bet365, where new customers can get £30 in free bets when they bey £10 to use on UFC 288.
UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo
Aljamain Sterling faces arguably his toughest test yet since becoming bantamweight champion when he makes his third defence against former two-weight champion Henry Cejudo.
This is likely to be one for the purists with both fighters leaning heavily on their wrestling skills, although Cejudo does hold a slight advantage when it comes to striking.
Cejudo is one of the best to have ever stepped into the octagon, previously holding titles simultaneously at bantamweight and flyweight, however, a three-year absence leaves a lot of questions to be answered when he returns on Sunday.
Jon Jones recently returned from a three-year hiatus to win the heavyweight title but Cejudo could struggle to repeat that achievement.
Sterling has won his last eight fights and should have the tools to counter Cejudo’s attempt to grind him down via wrestling.
There’s every chance this might go the distance but Sterling is fancied to edge beyond the returning 36-year-old via decision.
UFC 288: Treble Tip
Sterling to win by decision or technical decision
Gilbert Burns to win
Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns clash in the co-main event with the winner likely to earn a shot at welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
Muhammad was last seen when beating Sean Brady at UFC 280 in October to extend his unbeaten streak to nine and many believe he should have already been afforded a title bout.
Burns lost to former champion Kamaru Usman for the belt at UFC 258 in 2021 and he’s since won three and lost one, while he’s fought twice already this year and was victorious as recently as UFC 287 in April.
On paper, this one is tough to call with Muhammad often keen to utilise his wrestling and Burns being regarded as one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists in the division.
The Brazilian has recently shown an improvement in his stand up and he possesses a huge amount of power, which could prove to be the difference.
Jessica Andrade to win
Another fighter making a quick return to the octagon is Jessica Andrade as she faces Yan Xiaonan in a strawweight contest.
Andrade saw a three-fight win streak end at the hands of Erin Blanchfield in February, losing via submission, but she is seeking a swift return to the win column.
Yan hasn’t fought since October when he sealed a decision victory over Mackenzie Dern after successive defeats to Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez.
Brazil’s Andrade has been in and around the title picture since 2017 and she won the strawweight belt in 2019, although she suffered a loss in her first defence.
Her experience and power, having earned nine knockout wins, should allow Andrade to get over the line.
Where to watch UFC 288 & what time does it start?
UFC 288 will be broadcast on BT Sport. UK coverage of the event, which takes place at the Prudential Center, New Jersey, will begin at 11pm on Saturday, 6th May with the prelim bouts before the main card gets going at around 3am and the main event is expected to start at around 6am on Sunday morning.
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