UFC 288 First Look: Sterling vs. Cejudo Betting Picks, Odds, and Predictions

profile image of David Manyun
UFC First Look fight

Our Top Betting Pick for UFC 288

Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo: Aljamain Sterling ML (-103) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

BetOnline logo
Aljamain Sterling ML (-103)
Visit Site

The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, is preparing for a visit from the UFC as it’ll host a bantamweight championship bout involving a former two-division champion we haven’t seen compete for three years.

Henry Cejudo has come out of retirement to test the 8-fight unbeaten streak of the current 135 lb titleholder Aljamain Sterling. The betting lines are split down the middle for this highly anticipated bout.

Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the main event clash between Sterling and Cejudo, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC picks, predictions, and analysis.

Sterling vs. Cejudo Key Facts

  • Henry Cejudo is the former bantamweight champion and is 2-0 in this weight class.
  • Henry Cejudo returns after three years from competitive action.
  • Aljamain Sterling is undefeated in six years, riding an 8-fight win streak.

UFC 288 Information

  • When: Saturday, May 06, 2023 – 09:05 PM EDT
  • Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
  • Scheduled Bouts: 14
  • Main Event: Aljamain Sterling (C) vs. Henry Cejudo [Bantamweight Championship]
  • Moneyline Probability: Sterling – 50.7% (-103) / Cejudo – 53.9% (-117)
  • Totals Probability: Over 4.5 – 50% (-150) / Under 4.5 – 45% (+122)

Aljamain Sterling

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Reach: 71”
  • Nationality: United States
  • Affiliation: Serra Jiu-Jitsu
  • Current Streak: 8 wins
  • Pro MMA Record: 22-3-0
  • UFC Record: 14-3 [2 KO/TKO, 4 submissions, 7 decision, 1 DQ]
  • Moneyline Betting History (Last 3): +340 (win), -130 (win), +105 (win)

After collecting the UFC bantamweight championship via a technicality, Aljamain Sterling didn’t receive the respect a champion deserves. When Petr Yan delivered the illegal strike and the belt was handed to Sterling, he was trolled and disrespected by fans and critics alike.

However, Sterling avenged his name when outclassing Yan in the rematch, a fight that saw the product of Serra Jiu-Jitsu extend his UFC win streak to eight consecutive bouts.

And now, with two championship defenses over former titleholders in the bag, Sterling can further extend his reputation and legacy by defeating the former two-division champion Henry Cejudo.

Aljamain Sterling Combat Sports Accomplishments

  • UFC Bantamweight Champion (One time, current, two defenses)
  • UFC Performance of the Night (One time)
  • Tied for the most wins in UFC bantamweight division history (8)
  • Tied for the longest win streak in UFC bantamweight division history (8)
  • Cage Fury Fighting Champion (One time, three defuses)
  • Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champions (One time)

Sterling Best Moneyline Odds: -103 at BetOnline

Henry Cejudo

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’4”
  • Reach: 67.5”
  • Nationality: United States
  • Affiliation: Fight Ready MMA
  • Current Streak: 6 wins
  • Pro MMA Record: 16-2-0
  • UFC Record: 10-2 [4 KO/TKO, 6 decisions]
  • Moneyline Betting History (Last 3): -225 (won), +135 (win), +200 (win)

For the past three years, we’ve watched Henry Cejudo talk smack to the UFC’s biggest stars, including the top-ranked competitors of the bantamweight, where he retired as the champion. Eventually, online trolling became redundant, and Cejudo was slowly beginning to fade into the history books.

The 36-year-old former two-division champion finally put his phone down and is coming out of retirement to walk directly into the title picture. Many questions surround his return, but we can’t deny the outstanding UFC career he previously owned.

After six years of competing at the highest level of MMA, Cejudo collected 10 victories, two championships in multiple weight classes, and wins on his record, including some of the greatest fighters in UFC history like Dominick Cruz, Demetrious Johnson, and T.J. Dillashaw.

Henry Cejudo Combat Sports Accomplishments

  • UFC Bantamweight Champion (One time, one defense)
  • UFC Flyweight Champion (One time, one defense)
  • Multi-division UFC champion
  • UFC Performance of the Night (Three times)
  • UFC Fight of the Night (One time)
  • National Wrestling Hall Of Fame inductee (2018)
  • Summer Olympics Freestyle Wrestling Gold Medallist (2008)
  • Pan American Championships Gold Medallist (2008, 2007, & 2006)

Cejudo Best Moneyline Odds: -115 at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

UFC 288 Main Event Fight Statistics

  • Sterling lands 4.7 significant strikes per minute.
  • Cejudo lands 3.92 significant strikes per minute.
  • Sterling absorbs 2.18 significant strikes per minute.
  • Cejudo absorbs 2.77 significant strikes per minute.
  • Sterling owns an average of 1.9 takedowns per 15 minutes.
  • Cejudo owns an average of 2.12 takedowns per 15 minutes.

UFC 288 Skillset Analysis: Styles Make Fights

We can highlight the predominant attribute that heavily assisted Cejudo during his pro-MMA career: wrestling. However, his time spent in the octagon has displayed more than a wrestler with grappling skills, as his striking power and overall fight IQ have assisted him in winning bouts outside of a wrestling game plan.

Aljamain Sterling is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, with 36% of his career wins coming by submission. His grappling background and skillset honed at Serra BJJ are noteworthy, but much like his Saturday evening opponent, he’s displayed diversity in the cage with offensive wrestling and striking.

Aljamain Sterling Moneyline: The UFC 288 Best Bet Formula

The available UFC odds at U.S. betting sites opened Cejudo as a +130 underdog, but we’ve watched the public betting action shift him into the favorable betting position at -115.

The significant reach advantage, overall size, speed, and output of Sterling’s offensive striking will likely be the difference-maker. We should expect clinch and grappling exchanges, but the scrambling ability of Sterling and the wrestling defense of Cejudo have the potential to keep this fight standing.

Cejudo has the power advantage on the feet, but I struggle to visualize him getting on the inside of Sterling, who’ll utilize his length to probe jabs, front kicks, and leg kicks to get the upper hand in a numbers game.

UFC Pick: Aljamain Sterling ML (-103) [1.03u to win 1u] at BetOnline

UFC 288 Main Card & Odds

UFC 288 Preliminary Card & Odds

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.