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UFC 288 Staff Picks: Sterling vs. Cejudo

150 days ago

UFC 288 is this Saturday, so it’s time for our official Overtime Heroics-UFC 288 Staff Picks. Our writers and editors have all picked their winners for the main card, and it’s round six of our yearlong competition to see who comes out on top!

UFC 288 Main Card

UFC 288 is scheduled for Sat, May 6th at the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey.

UFC 288 Co-Main Event: Burns vs. Muhammad

Tom Kowalsky: “As much as we all love to clown on Blah Muhammed, for being extremely boring, he’s beaten Vicente Luque, Sean Brady, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, and done everything needed to be considered a legitimate contender. However, we have seen the return of a grappling, strong, Gilbert Burns, who is being extremely active and is not coming off Ramadan and is coming off of a fake camp. That means that Gilbert may have some injuries coming into this fight however, it being a five-rounder and him probably being the more conditioned athlete with the better jujitsu and ability to not be held down, I think Belal has a tough time getting his game plan going. Gilbert can take a punch and stunned Khamzat Chimaev a few times. I gotta go with my boy Gil here, though I can see Belal getting it done." Burns via. Decision

Cooper Burke: “As good as Muhammad is, Gilbert Burns has proven time and time again he belongs with the best at 170 pounds. He is a strong striker with an otherworldly BJJ game, and this will most likely nullify Muhammad"s top-tier wrestling. Burns needs to keep it on the feet, and he will be able to pick Muhammad apart easily. Muhammad is tough to put away, but Gilbert Burns will be able to batter him when the fight is on the feet." Burns via. Decision

Austin Marr: “Muhammad definitely has the advantage in pace and cardio but everywhere else this fight goes, it certainly favors Burns. Burns should be in fantastic shape and have the advantage since he"s having such a quick turnaround from his UFC 287 win against Jorge Masvidal last month. I don"t expect there to be a finish, as Muhammad only has six finishes across 25 fights, and only being stopped once, has proven to be hard to put away. Burns is the better striker, more powerful, and better jiu-jitsu practitioner." Burns via. Decision

UFC 288 Main Event: Sterling vs. Cejudo

Tom Kowalsky: “This is a really difficult fight to pick. There are so many variables to take into account. First and foremost, Cejudo hasn’t fought in three years. However, he claims he only took one of those years off after training for the fight, and having trained for this fight for over a year in addition to training other fighters. He’s an Olympic gold medalist wrestler, and a champion across two divisions in the UFC, however, his takedown defense may not be leaps and bounds better than Petr Yan. If I was joking, find Cejudo"s back that’s the guaranteed round for Aljo because I think Cejudo will have a difficult time getting him off just as Yan. Henry also doesn’t have the striking prowess that Yan does. All this being said, I think Henry has a superior fight IQ, and Aljo has benefited from some favorable situations (1 arm TJ, Yan without a corner, Yan DQ). My vote is Henry picking up 3 rounds- especially rounds 4 and 5." Cejudo via. Decision

Cooper Burke: “Ring Rust affects everyone differently, and so if Cejudo is to be believed in his training, he will be sharp and ready after not fighting for three years. As an Olympic champion and former double champ, there is a high-level wrestling pedigree that is sure to cause Sterling problems. As a subpar striker, he will have to land and do damage on the ground, as pure ground control no longer wins fights anymore. If Cejudo can get right back on track and maintain cardio and a strong game plan, he will win by decision." Cejudo via. Decision 

Austin Marr: “Sterling is going to be replaced as the best wrestler in the division by Cejudo. It"s that simple, Sterling beats people with his grappling and pace. I don"t think he can do that with Cejudo who is an Olympic-level wrestler, add in that Cejudo is the better striker and more powerful. Outside of Sterling getting Cejudo"s back in a scramble, this is Cejudo"s fight to lose. The big question is whether the last three years out of the cage will negatively affect Cejudo or not." Cejudo via. Decision

UFC 288 Main Card Staff Picks

Austin Marr (15-9): Cejudo, Burns, Andrade, Evloev, Jourdain

Tom Kowalsky (15-9): Cejudo, Burns, Andrade, Evloev, Gracie

Cooper Burke (18-6): Cejudo, Burns, Andrade, Evloev, Jourdain

How do you think our UFC 288 Staff Picks play out? Let us know in the comments!

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