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UFC Best Bets
UFC Best Bets

The UFC returns to New Jersey for a bill capped by a bantamweight championship bout between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo. Read on for our best bets for Saturday’s UFC 288 based on the odds from our best sportsbooks.

Long Island’s Sterling makes the short trip to Newark’s Prudential Center for his third title defense after besting challengers Petr Yan and TJ Dillashaw by decision and TKO, respectively, in 2022. The 33-year-old now meets Cejudo on an eight-fight win streak, with his UFC record sitting at a solid 14-3.

As for the returning Cejudo, the former two-division champion ends a layoff dating back to May 2020 and last took the cage to defend the bantamweight crown against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249, a clash he won by second-round TKO.

In the bill’s co-main event, streaking welterweight contender Belal Muhammad meets former title challenger Gilbert Burns. The Chicago native has won eight straight contests and was last seen stunning Sean Brady by second-round TKO at UFC 280 in October, while Burns returns to action just four weeks after earning his second straight win with a lopsided decision over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287.

Here are our best bets for Saturday’s UFC 288 (odds via DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and PointsBet; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our UFC best bets.

UFC 288 Schedule & Odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

Main Card (10 p.m. ET):

  • Aljamain Sterling (-105) vs. Henry Cejudo (-115)
  • Belal Muhammad (+120) vs. Gilbert Burns (-140)
  • Jessica Andrade (-170) vs. Yan Xiaonan (+145)
  • Movsar Evloev (-900) vs. Diego Lopes (+625)
  • Kron Gracie (+145) vs. Charles Jourdain (-170)

Prelims (8 p.m. ET):

  • Drew Dober (-210) vs. Matt Frevola (+180)
  • Kennedy Nzechukwu (-175) vs. Devin Clark (+150)
  • Khaos Williams (-340) vs. Rolando Bedoya (+280)
  • Marina Rodriguez (-130) vs. Virna Jandiroba (+110)

Early prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):

  • Braxton Smith (+155) vs. Parker Porter (-180)
  • Phil Hawes (+160) vs. Ikram Aliskerov (-190)
  • Joseph Holmes (+145) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (-170)

UFC 288 best bets

  • Moneyline: Burns ML vs. Muhammad (-126 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Upset: Sterling ML vs. Cejudo (+100 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Winning method: Jourdain by KO/TKO vs. Gracie (+155 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Prop bet: Dober vs. Frevola Under 1.5 rounds (+110 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Parlay: Williams-Bedoya to end by KO/TKO (-200) + Jourdain by KO/TKO (+140) + Dober by KO/TKO (-115) = +573 (via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

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Top picks for UFC 288

Moneyline: Burns ML vs. Muhammad (-126 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

I hate to bet against the streaking Muhammad yet again, but I have to. Admirable as Muhammad’s win streak has been, it’s Burns who enters this matchup with an edge in hand speed, fight-ending power, and strength of schedule. The Brazilian also happens to boast world-class jiu-jitsu, which could make Muhammad reluctant to pursue takedowns in favor of a near-equally dangerous duel on the feet.

Should either man look to pad his average of two-plus takedowns per 15 minutes, Burns could have a grand ol’ time at Muhammad’s expense on the mat. If the pair remain upright, the Brazilian won’t need more than one clean shot to end this clash, leaving a game yet outmatched Muhammad to pick his poison.

Upset: Sterling ML vs. Cejudo (+100 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐

My days of doubting Aljo are long gone, and the return of a former two-division champ in Cejudo isn’t enough to change my mind. Both men are excellent wrestlers who know how to sling leather, but I like Sterling’s measurables in a stand-up battle, as he boasts a seven-inch edge in reach and 4.7 significant strikes landed per minute to Cejudo’s 3.92.

Given the defending bantamweight champ’s sheer size advantage, tireless work rate, and comfort when working from space, I expect Sterling to outduel Cejudo from distance with his patented funky movement and varied arsenal - maybe over five rounds - to spoil the ex-champ’s return from a lengthy layoff.

Winning method: Jourdain by KO/TKO vs. Gracie (+155 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐

As his last name and lineage might suggest, Gracie’s path to victory goes through the takedown, but he’ll have a lot more to think about opposite a volume striker in Jourdain. Indeed, Jourdain has landed north of 100 significant strikes in three Octagon showings and hits pay dirt at a gaudy rate of 5.84 significant strikes per minute, while Gracie ate a whopping 135 zingers in his last outing back in 2019.

All this to say, unless the still-green Gracie has made enormous strides in the striking department, I expect Jourdain to overwhelm him with pressure, volume, and variety to claim a ninth career W by KO//TKO.

Prop bet: Dober vs. Frevola Under 1.5 rounds (+110 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐

In his dozen UFC victories, Dober has earned nine stoppages (eight by KO/TKO) and six first-round finishes, while Frevola hasn’t seen a second stanza in three straight and seven career fights overall. Furthermore, it doesn’t take much tape to see these two lightweights love to slug it out, with Dober boasting a crisp straight left while Frevola features a solid wallop of his own and an output of 3.46 significant strikes per minute.

In other words, expect this pair to trade leather early and often come Saturday night, and whether Dober hits pay dirt with his nasty left or Frevola lands a clean counter hook to the kisser, this matchup shouldn’t require a second round.

Parlay: Williams vs. Bedoya to end by KO/TKO (-200) + Jourdain by KO/TKO (+140) + Dober by KO/TKO (-115) = +573 (via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

UFC best bets made 6/5/2023 at 12:15 a.m. ET.

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