Best UFC 288 Main Event Bets: Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo Picks

  • What: UFC 288 pay-per-view fight card
  • Main Event:Β Aljamain SterlingΒ  vs. Henry Cejudo
  • Date:Β Saturday, May 6, 2023
  • Location: Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
  • Time: Early Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET), Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET) Main Card (10:00 p.m. ET)
  • How to Watch: Early Prelims (ESPN+), Prelims (ESPN+). Main Card (ESPN+ pay-per-view)

On Saturday, May 6, UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling attempts to make his third title defense when he puts his belt on the line against former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo. The bantamweight scrap headlines the UFC 288 pay-per-view card, which streams on ESPN+. Here is some background on the card’s main event fighters before we discuss, in detail, the betting breakdown of the UFC 288: Sterling vs. Cejudo fight card.

Aljamain Sterling won the UFC bantamweight crown in March 2021 via a controversial disqualification when then-champion Petr Yan decked Sterling with an illegal knee. In April 2022, Sterling put that controversy to rest when he defeated Yan via split decision. In his second title defense, which took place at UFC 280 in October, Sterling knocked out former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.

The first thing to get out of the way regarding Henry Cejudo is that he is returning to action for the first time since he retired in May 2020 after he defended the UFC bantamweight title with a TKO win over former WEC/UFC 135-pound titleholder Dominick Cruz. Cejudo won the vacant bantamweight title in June 2019 with a TKO victory over Marlon Moraes. Before he moved to 135, Cejudo held the UFC flyweight belt. He won that title in August 2018 ending the reign of Demetrious Johnson. He defended that title once, beating Dillashaw in January 2019.

Before we look at the best bets for theΒ main eventΒ of theΒ UFC 288 card between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, check out theΒ best UFC betting sitesΒ and where you can find theΒ best odds on all the UFC fights

UFC 288 main event: Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo betting picks

Ton Win UFC 288 Main EventBetOnline ReviewBovadaBetUS ReviewGTBets Review
Henry Cejudo-106-115-110-115
Aljamain Sterling-114-105-120-115

Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo betting breakdown

The bout between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo is an intriguing matchup, and it presents a betting conundrum. The expectation is that Sterling will use his height, length, and movement to keep the fight on the feet, while Cejudo will put most of his effort into getting the action to the mat.

Sterling is the more well-rounded fighter, and I expect he will be comfortable on the feet and on the mat because of his length, striking skills, and grappling. If Cejudo can get Sterling to the mat, expect Sterling to be aggressive from the bottom. He will use his grappling skills to test Cejudo’s ability to control the fight on the ground, and in doing so, he will look for openings to throw up submission attempts.

The short analysis on this fight is that Sterling has more ways to score points with the judges and secure rounds on the scorecard.

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Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo statistical breakdown

The first thing that stands out about this fight is that Cejudo, at 36, has not fought since May 2020. That raises the questions of cage rust and if time has caught up with the 2008 Olympic wrestling gold medal winner. Sterling is three years younger than Cejudo and has fought four times since Cejudo last stepped into the octagon.

The next most notable stat for this fight is Sterling’s height and reach advantage. The champ is three inches taller than Cejudo, and has a seven-inch reach advantage over Cejudo. Sterling’s physical advantages will make it difficult for Cejudo to close the distance and secure the takedowns he will need to control the fight.

Looking at striking, Sterling is a more active striker and a better defensive striker than Cejudo. Meanwhile, Cejudo earns more takedowns per 15 minutes than Sterling, and he has a better takedown defense than the current champ.

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Best UFC 288 bets

The betting odds for the UFC 288 main event are incredibly close, and that makes sense because Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo are very evenly matched. One prop bet to consider for this fight is the length of the bout. Because they are so evenly matched, the best prop bet for UFC 288 is to pick the fight to go the distance.

As for betting on the outcome of Sterling vs. Cejudo, the best UFC 288 bet is to pick Sterling to win via decision. His striking should give him the bout on the feet, and his grappling will be enough to negate the wrestling of Cejudo.

Best UFC 288 main event betting pick: Aljamain Sterling to beat Henry Cejudo and retain the UFC bantamweight title via decision.

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.