UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo – A Night of Thrills and Controversy

UFC 288, headlined by the bantamweight championship bout between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo, was a night filled with thrilling fights and controversial decisions. The event took place on May 6, 2023, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, marking the promotion’s ninth visit to Newark.

The main event saw current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling defend his title against former UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo. Cejudo, also a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, came out of retirement after three years to challenge Sterling for the bantamweight championship.

The fight was closely contested, with Sterling successfully defending his title against Cejudo via a split decision. The extremely close nature of the fight led to some controversy within the MMA community over the judges’ scorecards. While many fans thought Cejudo did enough to win, others, including UFC welterweight Khaos Williams, believed the judges got it right.

Elsewhere on the card, Belal Muhammad stamped his ticket to a title fight with a five-round decision over Gilbert Burns. Other notable fights included Xiaonan Yan’s first-round knockout of Jessica Andrade, Movsar Evloev’s unanimous decision over Diego Lopes, and Matt Frevola’s first-round TKO of Drew Dober.

The event also saw some impressive performances from fighters like Khaos Williams, who defeated Rolando Bedoya, and Virna Jandiroba, who won against Marina Rodriguez via unanimous decision.

After his win, Sterling was quick to call out Sean O’Malley, who was seated cageside, for a fight. The two traded barbs back and forth before being separated. UFC president Dana White said that the target is for the two to meet at UFC 292 in August.

UFC 288 was a night of high stakes, thrilling fights, and controversial decisions that will be remembered in the annals of UFC history. As the dust settles, fans and fighters alike are already looking forward to the next big event.

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