Aljamain Sterling retained his bantamweight title at UFC 288 on Saturday with a split decision over former two-division champion Henry Cejudo, who made his return to the Octagon after a three-year layoff. The bout was closely matched, but Sterling once again proved he's a legit champion while setting the UFC bantamweight record for most title defenses with his third.
In the co-main event, Belal Muhammad used a brilliant performance on just 16 days’ notice to dominate former title challenger Gilbert Burns. Muhammad made his case clear for a welterweight title shot with his ninth win in 10 fights with a no-decision in there against the now-champ Leon Edwards.
Xiaonan Yan became the first non-title holder to knock out Jessica Andrade after a counter right hand dropped the former champion allowing Yan to finish her with hammer fists in the first round.
In the second fight of the main card, Diego Lopes made the most of his short-notice UFC debut against undefeated Movsar Evloev, but it just wasn’t enough. Lopes had multiple submission attempts including a dangerous leg lock at the close of the third. He lost the fight, but he won some fans. Evloev won by unanimous decision to stay undefeated. He now has 17 wins in a row.
All three judges scored the pay-per-view opener between Charles Jourdain and Kron Gracie 30-27 in favor of Jourdain, who used his superior striking to pick Gracie apart. Gracie had spent four years on the sidelines and it showed in his return to the Octagon. Jordain gets back in the win column after losing his previous two bouts and is now 14-6 in his MMA career while Gracie falls to 5-2 after two straight losses.
How UFC 288 went down
UFC 288 main card results
Welterweight: Belal Muhammad def. Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
Women's strawweight: Xiaonan Yan def. Jessica Andrade by TKO (punches) at 2:20 of R1
Featherweight: Movsar Evloev def. Diego Lopes by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Featherweight: Charles Jourdain def. Kron Gracie by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
UFC 288 prelims full results
Lightweight: Matt Frevola def. Drew Dober by TKO (ground and pound) at 4:08 of R1:
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) May 7, 2023
Light heavyweight: Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Devin Clark by submission (standing guillotine) at 2:28 of R2:
Welterweight: Khaos Williams def. Rolando Bedoya by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Women's strawweight: Virna Jandiroba def. Marina Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
UFC 288 early prelims full results
Heavyweight: Parker Porter def. Braxton Smith by TKO at 2:10 of R1:
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 6, 2023
Middleweight: Claudio Ribeiro def. Joseph Holmes via TKO (ground and pound) at 3:21 of R2: