This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
The UFC heads to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for UFC 288 on Saturday, May 6. In the main event of the pay-per-view card, Aljamain Sterling looks to defend his bantamweight title against former flyweight and bantamweight champ, Henry Cejudo.
Below, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog, a prop and a two-fighter parlay. All odds are via the DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Weight Class: Welterweight
The co-main event of the pay-per-view card is a five-round fight that was made on short notice after Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush was pushed back a week. What is an interesting wrinkle of this fight is that it comes just after Ramadan ended and Muhammad was hoping for this scrap to be at 185lbs, but it will happen at 170.
Burns and Muhammad are very similar as both are very good grapples with their striking have both improved and both have solid cardio. On the feet, Burns does have more power which could be the difference as they are nearly identical in all the other stats.
Ultimately, I do worry about what Muhammad's training camp has been like, especially with him wanting this to be at 185lbs. It will be a back-and-forth fight, but I like Burns to win a decision here.
UFC 288 Best Bet: Gilbert Burns -125
Weight Class: Bantamweight
Although Sterling's reign has been full of controversy, Cejudo's reign at 135lbs wasn't exactly dominant as he beat Marlon Moraes who gassed out badly after beating up 'Triple C' and he then TKO'd Dominick Cruz in his first fight in years.
Cejudo is no doubt the better wrestler, but Sterling has unique takedowns so I do think he can catch Cejudo off guard at points. Then, on the feet, I think Cejudo will have a hard time with his range and timing due to the time off. Sterling is also very active on the feet and is hard to hit and I think he can win the early rounds and edge out a decision.
UFC 288 Best Bet: Aljamain Sterling (-105)
Weight Class: Middleweight
Hawes, meanwhile, was a touted prospect for quite some time, but he kept on falling short right before the UFC. He lost on TUF 23 to Andrew Sanchez, was submitted by Louis Taylor in WSOF and was knocked out by Julian Marquez on the Contender Series. After getting into the UFC, he started out strong but has since lost two of his last three and both by KO (Roman Dolidze and Chris Curtis).
The problem with Hawes is he is there to be hit, and his cardio leaves a lot to be desired. Hawes will have a hard time getting Aliskerov down, and on the feet, I expect the Russian to land big shots and KO Hawes, similar to what Dolidze did. Taking ITD is the better play, however, as there is a chance he clubs-and-subs him.
UFC 288 Best Bet: Ikram Aliskerov ITD (-110)
Weight Classes: Bantamweight & Middleweight
Santos is a brawler who had a close fight against Julio Arce before scoring an upset knockout win over John Castaneda in a one-sided fight. Munoz, meanwhile, is 2-2 in the UFC, and the loss against Tony Gravely is a concern, as he was caught early and finished. Santos is a great striker and has power. I expect him to come out aggressive and land big shots to finish Munoz Jr. early, similar to the Gravely fight.
The other leg is the second fight of the night (this parlay is the first two fights of the night), and I like Claudio Ribeiro to beat Joseph Holmes. Holmes is someone I was high on coming into the UFC, but he has disappointed early. He doesn't throw much volume and can be taken down (though Ribeiro isn't known for his wrestling).
Riberio may be coming off a KO loss to Abdul Razak Alhassan in a crazy fight, but he showed off great striking and crazy power in that fight. I expect the Brazilian to land the better shots and either get a KO or just piece up Holmes like Pickett did to win a decision.
UFC 288 Best Bets:
Here is a recap of my best bets for this weekend's UFC 288 event:
- Gilbert Burns (-125)
- Aljamain Sterling (-105)
- Ikram Aliskerov ITD (-110)
- Daniel Santos & Claudio Ribeiro parlay (+139)
For up-to-date information on the latest odds and props from multiple sportsbooks, check out the UFC odds page on RotoWire.
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