UFC 288 readers picks: Sterling vs. Cejudo to end in a draw?

Bloody Elbows' readers have looked over the UFC 288 fight card and have made their picks.

By: Tim Bissell | 4 weeks ago
UFC 288 readers picks: Sterling vs. Cejudo to end in a draw?
Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo square off before UFC 288. IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

The readers of Bloody Elbow have spoken! As a collective, they think the main event for UFC 288 is too close to call. Our readers, specifically the paid subscribers of our Substack, are completely split on Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo (with a small percentage also predicting a draw).

The UFC 288 co-main event is also a close call, too. But the readers are slightly favouring Belal Muhammad to get the win over Gilbert Burns.

Scroll down to see all our readers picks and also read from three of the readers themselves. This week we have Adam Law (second in our reader standings), GirlCasual (and third) and DJNi (who had one of the best records last week) adding their opinion behind their UFC 288 picks.

Reader picks are an exclusive perk for Substack subscribers. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Bloody Elbow Substack. Paid subscriptions on Substack are the best way to support Bloody Elbow and make sure we can keep doing what we’re doing. In addition to making reader picks (which could earn prizes), paid subscribers also receive premium content directly in their email inboxes. That premium content includes editorials by Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigative pieces from John S. Nash.

BEEF WARS: Henry Cejudo vs. Aljamain Sterling | UFC 288

UFC 288 Readers Picks

Aljamain Sterling (47.4%) vs. Henry Cejudo (47.4%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Draw

Adam Law: I really like this fight although it’s a strange one with Henry Cejudo being out for so long. Feels like the fight was booked at random almost. I’ll pick Sterling as he’s a fantastic grappler and can handle himself on the feet. The only concern I have is that Cejudo’s aggression could start to turn thing in his favour as the fight goes on. Wouldn’t mind either way as it might be Cejudo’s best win when you consider the full context of his other fights and to do it after retiring would be so impressive.

GirlCasual: Math. I’m bad at it. I know that statistics say that it has never been done at his age, so if I pick Henry Cejudo to reclaim the title, I’m proving that I can’t do numbers. Aljo has such a size advantage, he’s younger, and that three year layoff for Cejudo can’t be ignored, so all of that (plus math!) is why I’m saying Sterling is going to win. It’s gonna be a cringe-fest either way.

DJNi: Disclaimer, I only recently got back into watching more fights again in the last month or so. I was a fan before the first ultimate fighter season and for many years. Then I had kids and had no time. I always continued to consume MMA media but watched very few fights. So I haven’t seen many of the younger fighters at all.

That said I’m going with Aljamain Sterling. He’s the younger fighter, he’s bigger, and he’s been active. Also Herny Cejudo was never my friend.

Belal Muhammad (52.6%) vs. Gilbert Burns (47.4%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Belal Muhammad

Adam Law: I’ll pick Burns. This is a tough one too as Burns didn’t look great last time and it’s such a quick turnaround that there reason to think he might look flat. The smart pick is Burns as he’s the much better athlete but Belal is very talented and could absolutely pull off the upset, especially over 5 rounds.

GirlCasual: I’m taking Belal in this one. He’s two years younger, is the fresher fighter in this matchup, and I find him pretty boring to watch, insuring that Leon vs Belal will be a fight I’ll have to endure in the future. I’ll be happier than words can express if Gilbert proves me wrong.

DJNi: I going with Gilbert Burns. I haven’t seen much of Belal but I know he’s good from what I’ve heard. I am a big jiu-jitsu fan and burns has some slick skills there. Whether or not he uses them who knows. With the situation Belal is in, with the whole title shot thing, I just imagine life being cruel and him taking the L here. As the saying goes life’s a bitch and then ya die.

Jessica Andrade (63.2%) vs. Yan Xiaonan (36.8%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Jessica Andrade

Adam Law: I’m a big Andrade fan so rooting for her here. If she fights in her classic style of blitzing striking and big takedowns it should cause Yan big problems. The concern here is that Yan is clearly the more technical striker and could out-box Andrade, however her grappling is a big hole in her game will cause her big problems. If Marina Rodriguez could out-athlete her to an iffy decision I think Andrade can have success too.

GirlCasual: Andrade is gonna work her if she takes it to the ground. Yan’s a live dog, but I’m taking Bate Estaca. (It means Piledriver, how can you NOT take her?!)

DJNi: I think Andrade gets the win. I have never seen Yan fight that I can remember. I have seen Andrade. She is a powerful fighter. From the things I’ve been hearing and the opening odds it sounds like a lot of people agree with my gut feeling.

Mosvar Evloev vs. Diego Lopes

Reader pick: None (Reader pick survey was sent out when Bryce Mitchell was in this match-up.

GirlCasual: Evloev, I’m gonna guess by decision. Movsar ain’t the guy to make your debut against. I give Lopes credit for taking this fight.

DJNi: Who? Don’t think I’ve seen either of these guys either. I’ll go with Evloev basically for getting a full camp before the fight and the coin I flipped landed his way.

Kron Gracie (10.5%) vs. Charles Jourdain (89.5%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Charles Jourdain.

Adam Law: I can’t see Gracie getting the takedowns necessary to submit Jourdain who should be able to out strike him.

GirlCasual: Ice Cream Kron! Jourdain’s takedown defense is…not great. Submission city for Mr. Gracie.

DJNi: Going with Jourdain. What the hell has Kron been doing? Mostly I’m picking Jourdain based on the negatives I seen from Kron because I don’t know who Jourdain is. Kron is getting old and he’s been inactive for a long long time.

Drew Dober (78.9%) vs. Matt Frevola (21.1%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Drew Dober

Adam Law: This should be amazing. I trust Dober’s chin to hold up longer so I’ll pick him but in terms of pure skill they’re about even.

GirlCasual: We do. The fans. We win this, hands down, no matter which dude gets his hand raised. Frevola’s from Long Island, so I have to take him. Hopefully he tries to wrestle. Otherwise I think he might be sent to the moon by the chin known as Drew Dober.

DJNi: I think Dober will get the job done. This one is simple, I think Dober has better wins and Frevola’s Sherdog photo is him shirtless in a leather jacket and a cowboy hat.

Kennedy Nzechukwu (63.2%) vs. Devin Clark (31.6%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Kennedy Nzechukwu.

GirlCasual: Nzechukwu is going to finish Clark. Or maybe Clark will wrestle-hump him and ham for the cameras? Eh, I’m still taking Kennedy.

DJNi: You can just assume that I have no idea who either fighter is for every fight from this fight on down.

I’m going with Nzechukwu. From what I’m hearing he has better game planning and skills. The opening odds seem to agree with this.

Khaos Williams (94.7%) vs. Rolando Bedoya (5.3%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Khaos Williams

Adam Law: Williams by KO.

GirlCasual: Khaos is going to have Bedoya waking up in the middle of July.

DJNi: I will pick Khaos here. Having listened to Zane and Connor break this one down I’ll again go with the odds makers. Sounds like Bedoya is all offence no defense which I do enjoy. Block with your face so you have two free arms to smash. Long ago my friends and I would play boxing games with a rule that no one could block and call it lightning rounds. I can’t pick the guy playing that game without the other player on board.

Marina Rodriguez (78.9%) vs. Virna Jandiroba (21.1%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Marina Rodriguez

Adam Law: I’ve been really impressed by the improvements Jandiroba has been making and I think she’s in the best possible place in her career to win this one. Rodriguez seems like she’s a really bad wrestler and grappler but yet she’s never actually been submitted and doesn’t get taken down as much as you’d think. If she loses the first round badly and wins the 2nd and 3rd I wouldn’t be shocked. I’ll pick Jandiroba to get a couple fight winning takedowns though and not let Rodriguez back up.

GirlCasual: This hurts to pick, because I love both of these ladies. If Jandiroba can exploit Rodriguez’s takedown defense, she has a chance, but I think that Marina gets it done. Better fight IQ, faster on the feet, Rodriguez by decision.

DJNi: I think Rodriguez will win. Jandiroba ususally wins by submission and I don’t think she will be able to sub Rodriguez.

Braxton Smith (57.9%) vs. Parker Porter (42.1%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Braxton Smith

GirlCasual: Braxton Smith, and quickly.

DJNi: I’ll take Smith, sounds like he hits hard and Parker is old balls but it’s heavyweight so flip a coin. Gotta take at least one underdog down here, why not this one.

Phil Hawes (52.6%) vs. Ikram Aliskerov (47.4%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Phil Hawes

GirlCasual: My golden rule: never bet against a guy whose last name ends in ‘v.’ Aliskerov, simply for that reason alone, but it also boots my confidence that his only loss was to Chimaev.

DJNi: Picking Aliskerov based on betting odds and Dagestan.

Joseph Holmes (31.6%) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (68.4%)

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Claudio Ribeiro

GirlCasual: Holmes is younger and slightly bigger, so I’ll take him in this match. He’ll beat Ribeiro on the mat, I’m gonna say Holmes by g-n-p.

DJNi: I think Ribeiro wins. Sounds like he’s faster and odds makers favored him.

Who wins a Performance of the Night Award?

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Reader pick: Gilbert Burns (36.8%)

GirlCasual: Marina Rodriguez, because if she wins it might be in a way that truly announces her arrival. Evloev, Aliskerov, or Kron Gracie also have a shot to snag one of these if they sub their opponent dramatically.

DJNi: I’ll say Aljamain and Burns because I expect both of their fights will be good and I’m hoping for a solid finish from both of them.

Which fight wins Fight of the Night?

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Readers pick: Drew Dober vs. Matt Frevola (47.4%)

Adam Law: Dober vs Frevola is a near perfect action fight.

GirlCasual: C’mon. Dober vs Frevola. Is there any fight on this card that you’re truly more excited about?

DJNi: I’ll go with Dober Vs Frevola. Dober has 6 bonuses and likes throw hands.

Which fight are you most excited for?

UFC 288 reader picks and predictions

Readers pick: Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo

Adam Law: Aljo vs Cejudo is the most meaningful fight and with Cejudo coming back after retiring it’s got a lot of intrigue.

GirlCasual: Dober vs Frevola for the guaranteed fireworks. (And because Long Island.) If Aljo wins, I will be excited for Henry Cejudo to retire again, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking here.

DJNi: Aljamain Sterling Vs Henry Cejudo. It has the most on the line. There is some intrigue with seeing Cejudo come back and I can’t hear him talk while he’s in the cage. I think Sterling is very good and its and interesting new test for him.

Leader board

Heading into UFC 288 we are very close atop our leaderboard, with Adam Law trailing Christophe with just one correct pick. There pack of people who make regular picks are pretty bunched up, so we could see a lot of movement here after UFC 288 is all said and done.

PositionCommunity MemberCorrectIncorrectTotal Picks%Picks BackWeek 7 RecordBonus Points
2Adam Law4836840.57116-42
5Just Simon4242840.50074-63
7Luke G3836740.514110-04
8Sensei Scott3846840.452112-82
11Mark Strong3242740.432170-04
12Fishtown Simon3020500.600190-03
13Benjamin Thornton2935640.453200-01
14Khabib “The Seagull” Nurmagomedov2413370.649250-03
15Keyon Talieh2327500.460260-02
16Kathy Hernandez2314370.622260-01
18Beato Puente2018380.526290-02
30Tito Orcheese105150.667390-01
Arran D105150.667390-01
32Thomas Goncalves1015250.400390-01
36Stone Nicholson93120.750400-0
37don’t care96150.600400-0
38Nasal Waxing84120.667410-01
39The Oatmeal Handtruck87150.533410-01
Eric Marentette85130.615410-0
49Jason Steiger75120.583420-0
54Perfectly Cromulent64100.600436-41
56Darker Than Black66120.500430-01
57Ayaan Khan69150.400430-01
Are Daneel69150.400430-01
62Smot Poker59140.357440-01
63Oatmeal Handtruck55100.500440-0
64Matthew Doolan57120.417440-0
66Pastor Rose58130.385440-0
70Call Me Robert411150.267450-01
72The Professor46100.400450-0
Geo Thornton49130.308450-0
Dennis Donoghue49130.308450-0
Kevin P37100.300460-0
78Patrick Brosnan19100.100480-0

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

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