Aljamain Sterling vs Henry Cejudo Prediction, Odds & Picks for UFC 288: Expect a Close-Fought Main Event

Devon Platana

Written by: Devon Platana

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Aljamain Sterling vs Henry Cejudo Prediction, Odds & Picks for UFC 288: Expect a Close-Fought Main Event cover


UFC 288 is less than a week away as the biggest MMA promotion in the world takes over Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday. On a night with a card that has something for everyone, nothing compares to the excitement surrounding the massive main event between UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling and the returning Henry Cejudo.

Sterling heads into this weekend’s festivities looking to successfully defend his bantamweight gold for the third consecutive fight. Meanwhile, Cejudo looks to reclaim the championship that he never lost in the octagon due to his 2020 retirement. Needless to say, combat sports enthusiasts wonder if the “Messenger” can still hang with the best in the sport.

In what should be an exciting showdown, Sterling vs Cejudo doesn’t have any shortage of betting opportunities. Here’s a look at the latest odds for the UFC 288 main event from a handful of reputable sportsbooks, as well as a prediction and the best bet(s) for the fight.

Sterling vs Cejudo— Tale of the Tape

Aljamain Sterling — Henry Cejudo

  • Record: 22-3 — 16-2
  • Height: 5’7” — 5’4”
  • Reach: 71” — 64”
  • Weight: 135lbs — 135lbs
  • Age: 33 — 36
  • Fighting Stance: Orthodox — Orthodox
  • Knockouts: 3 — 8

UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo Fight Odds (as of Wednesday, May 3)

Odds are via our top reviewed and recommended sportsbooks.

BetOnline Sportsbook

  • Aljamain Sterling -111
  • Henry Cejudo -115

Bovada Sportsbook

  • Aljamain Sterling -105
  • Henry Cejudo -115


  • Aljamain Sterling -106
  • Henry Cejudo -118


  • Aljamain Sterling -105
  • Henry Cejudo -115

Sterling vs Cejudo Fighter History

A quick glance at the above odds reveals that oddsmakers project that the UFC 288 main event will be a close one. Having said that, Cejudo is the slim favorite on all four highlighted sportsbooks, carrying an average of -116 odds across the quartet — an implied win probability of 53.7%.

It’ll be interesting to see if Cejudo displays any rust in his return to the cage. The 36-year-old veteran was at the top of the mountain when he was last in action, owning a six-fight winning streak before his retirement.

Part of that run saw him defeat Demetrious Johnson (by split decision) to capture the UFC Flyweight Championship before knocking out T.J. Dillashaw in 32 seconds to successfully defend it. Cejudo wasn’t done there, though.

The Los Angeles, California native then went toe-to-toe with Marlon Moraes for the vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship, winning by third-round TKO. That impressive feat made Cejudo just the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold championships in two different divisions simultaneously.

Most recently, Cejudo successfully defended the bantamweight gold against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249, retaining with a TKO in Round 2.

Returning to prominence won’t be easy for Cejudo. After all, Sterling has been putting on a clinic in his absence.

The defending bantamweight champion hasn’t been defeated since December 2017, winning eight consecutive fights since then. Sterling’s career began to skyrocket when he submitted Cory Sandhagen just 1:28 into their fight at UFC 250.

The monumental victory paved the way for Sterling to then challenge Petr Yan for the welterweight title at UFC 259, winning by disqualification due to an illegal knee. The two had a rematch 13 months later, resulting in a split-decision win for the “Funk Master.”

Now, Sterling has even more momentum on his side after his last successful title defense. He took on Dillashaw at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, retaining with a TKO punch in the second round.

Defeating Cejudo will be tough, but Sterling does have some advantages. He stands three inches taller than his opponent while having a seven-inch reach advantage. Sterling also averages more significant strikes per minute with better accuracy (4.70 and 51%) than Cejudo (3.92 and 45%). On the flip side, Cejudo is the better grappler and has the superior takedown defense.

Either way, fans should expect a thrilling headline act this weekend.

UFC 288 Betting Markets & Trends for Sterling vs Cejudo

For those looking for more variety when it comes to a Sterling vs Cejudo bet, BetOnline Sportsbook has a wide selection available.

When it comes to the method of victory at UFC 288, Cejudo is favored to win by points at +210 odds. It’s not too surprising considering how he excels in longer fights, boasting an 8-1 record when his bouts go the distance. Furthermore, two of the defending champion’s three career losses came by points.

Speaking of which, Sterling’s top victory method is also to win by points, albeit at +250. While he’s lost twice by decision, he’s also won 10 times by that method. Besides, Cejudo has only been finished once, meaning Sterling will likely have to go the distance to retain.

Speaking of which, BetOnline Sportsbook favors that this fight will go the distance at -134 odds. Seven of Sterling’s last 13 fights have reached the time limit while half of Cejudo’s 18 career fights have done so as well.

If the fight doesn’t go the distance and you want more value, Cejudo is favored to win by first-round KO/TKO at +1300 odds. Five of his eight career knockouts have occurred in the first round.

Sterling vs Cejudo UFC 288 Fight Prediction

In all honesty, the UFC 288 main event is a toss-up. Both fighters are fantastic at what they do, however, I’m siding with the returning Cejudo. Will cage rust be a factor? Potentially, but he’s one of the best in the world when he gets a rhythm going. His grappling skills also give him a clear advantage, putting the fight heavily in his favor if he can get Sterling down on the mat.

Having said that, I don’t see Sterling getting finished, so I’ll take Cejudo winning by points at +210 odds on BetOnline. If you’re indecisive when it comes to a winner, I’d feel comfortable taking a neutral approach by saying that the fight will go the distance at -134 odds. Regardless of who the victor is, I don’t see a finish occurring.

UFC 288 Event Details

When is UFC 288?

UFC 288 will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Where is UFC 288?

UFC 288 will take place at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

What time does UFC 288 start?

  • UFC 288 Early Prelims Start Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • UFC 288 Preliminary Card Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Start Time of UFC 288’s Main Card: 10 p.m. ET

How can I watch UFC 288?

The early prelims can be viewed exclusively only on UFC Fight Pass. Both the preliminary and main cards can then be viewed on ESPN+ or through your pay-per-view provider.

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Devon Platana
Devon Platana

Devon is a Master of Journalism graduate who joined the sports betting world in 2020. His favorite leagues to cover are the NHL, NBA and NFL, and has a soft spot for fantasy football specifically. Outside of sports, he enjoys the finer things in life like pasta, live music and getting even more tattoos.

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