Sanabul Fight News: UFC 288
UFC 288, headlined by Henry Cejudo and Aljamain Sterling, exceeded many fans expectations with multiple finishes, a few back and forth wars, and some good drama and star-power to finish off the card. Claudio Ribeiro, Ikram Aliskerov, and Parker Porter all showed out on the early prelims with some very entertaining knockout finishes, with all three men cementing themselves as forces to be reckoned with in their divisions.
Virna Jandiroba used her high level grappling skills to dominate the fight against Marina Rodriguez and take her where she is least comfortable, mauling her for three rounds on the canvas. Virna is a scary grappler in that division, I look forward to seeing her continue to move up the rankings. Khaos Williams earned a decision victory against UFC newcomer Rolando Bendoya in what many would have considered a very tight battle. Kennedy Nzechukwu came back from some very tough adversity against Devin Clark in an all-out war in the first two rounds, coming back in the second round and locking up a nasty standing guillotine that had Devin Clark flat on the canvas. Kennedy is a scary man once he’s hurt in that octagon.
The featured prelim that had fans all excited was Matt Frevola in Drew Dober, in what everyone knew would be an all-out brawl, most likely ending in a finish. The fight delivered as promised, the men went to war with their hands and Dober ended up being the man to catch the unlucky blow, with Matt Frevole most likely cementing himself in the Top 10 of that lightweight division.
Charles Jourdain and Kron Gracie was an extremely interesting match-up, with Kron Gracie making his return after a multi-year layoff, and being the son of Rickson Gracie, the BJJ legend, many were excited to see him back in that octagon. Kron Gracie is known for his massive resume in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and finishing fights/grappling matches via submission rather than letting it go to a decision, so Charles Jourdain had to be careful. Charles fought a perfect fight, keeping a distance on his feet while still piecing Kron up, he stayed very tight and safe when Kron did get the fight to the ground, a very fun matchup.
Diego Lopes surprised fans everywhere in his UFC debut against Movsar Evloev, a surging featherweight contender. Lopes put up an incredible fight in a very tight contest, and almost had Movsar submitted multiple times, Evloev did come out with the decision win but had a hard time doing it, Lopes’ stock definitely goes up after that one, will cementing Evloev at the top of that division as well.
Jessica Andrade and Yan Xiaonan had a title eliminator bout on the horizon to move along the card, with Zhang Weili waiting patiently to see who will challenge for the belt next. A UFC card in China might be something to look forward to as Yan Xiaonan knocks out Jessica Andrade, and sets up a China vs China title fight in the strawweight division.
The Co-Main event was set in stone and ready to go, with Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad facing off for a title eliminator to see who gets to fight for that belt after Colby Covington. Gilbert Burns ended up hurting his shoulder in the first round, and having to fight for 25 minutes with a compromised body, and only being able to use his right arm to strike or shoot a takedown. Although he was hurt, he still put up a great fight with Belal being unable to really land anything significant or finish the fight with an injured opponent. Belal ended up getting the decision victory, and likely setting himself up for the title shot next.
Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo were ready to finish off the card, with both men itching to hold that Bantamweight belt once more, and prove who the better fighter is after a long feud. The fight went all five rounds, with both men putting up great fights and showing very different skill sets, fans everywhere were torn on who won the fight, but the judges scored the fight for Aljamain Sterling. After the fight, Sean O’Malley was called into the octagon to square off, with Merab Dvilishvili stealing his jacket and starting a bit of an aggressive scrum in the octagon, this sets up a title shot with Sean and Aljamain very nicely, a fight fans are very much looking forward to seeing.