It was recently announced that UFC 288 had lost its highly anticipated co-main event matchup between former lightweight champion Charles Olivera and Beneil Dariush. The UFC wasted no time in getting this fan-friendly matchup back together, it was announced it had been rebooked for UFC 289 when the company makes its return to Canada on June 10 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
This however did not solve the initial problem, UFC 288 and the quality of the card had taken a significant hit. Perhaps a victim of their own success this card admittedly feels a little underwhelming, you’ve got to consider we have seen the return of in my opinion the best to ever do it, Jon Jones, Leon defending the belt on home soil and Izzy regaining his Middleweight title all in recent memory. Of course, cards, as stacked as they have been, can’t continue at that rate but I think all fans would agree that the upcoming PPV needed a boost.
The UFC as they so often do, delivered. They’ve put together a short-notice fight with both men receiving a little over two weeks’ notice. Former title challenger Gilbert Burns will take on streaking contender Belal Muhammad, in a fight that I personally can’t see disappointing. Firstly I think credit has to be given to both men for stepping up to the plate and accepting such an important fight with title implications for both men on such short notice, what makes it even more impressive is that both men requested that the fight be five rounds.
After his recent unanimous decision victory against Jorge Masvidal less than two weeks ago, Gilbert Burns had claimed he would like to be a backup fighter for the rumoured Leon Edwards Vs Colby Covington title fight and would not be accepting any other fights in the meantime. The UFC once again flexing their muscles and convincing Gilbert to fight just four weeks after his most recent bout, already his third fight this year he has previously picked up a dominant first-round submission victory against Neil Magny and of course the aforementioned Jorge Masvidal bout. Gilbert Burns is currently the number #5 ranked Welterweight in the UFC.
Belal Muhammad on his part is looking to catapult himself into his first-ever shot at UFC gold by extending his unbeaten streak to double digits. His current win streak of four fights includes the likes of Sean Brady, Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia. His win streak was snapped due to a no-contest (eye poke) against current champ Leon Edwards in March of 2021, just before the aforementioned win streak began. It will be his first time entering the octagon this year, with his last fight against Sean Brady coming in October of last year. Belal is currently the number #4 ranked Welterweight in the UFC.
The UFC 288 lineup now includes Belal Muhammad Vs Gilbert Burns as the co-main event and the Bantamweight title fight as the headliner between current champion Aljamain Sterling and former champion Henry Cejudo. Two great fights with a lot on the line for each of the four competitors, UFC 288 is set to take place on the 6th of May at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and promises to be another great event for the company.