UFC 288 Prelim and Early Prelim Card, Prediction and Best Bets: Where’s the Best Early Value?

Devon Platana

Written by: Devon Platana

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UFC 288 Prelim and Early Prelim Card, Prediction and Best Bets: Where’s the Best Early Value? cover


UFC 288 is just over 24 hours away as the top MMA promotion in the world takes over Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Though a lot of attention is on the headlining bout and the main card, the early prelims and preliminary cards also have their fair share of fights worth checking out.

Fortunately, Betting News has gathered the latest odds for all of UFC 288’s preliminary and early prelims fights, along with our prediction for each matchup.

UFC 288 Preliminary Card & Odds (Odds as of Friday, May 5)

The UFC 288 odds listed below are via BetOnline Sportsbook.

Lightweight: Drew Dober (-215) vs. Matt Frevola (+172)

Drew Dober (26-11, 1NC) aims to extend his winning streak when he takes on Matt Frevola (10-3-1) this Saturday night. Both fighters are on fire as Dober has won three straight fights by KO/TKO while Frevola has also knocked out his latest two foes.

Although both sides have momentum, I like Dober winning at UFC 288. He’s beaten tougher competition than his opponent has, even defeating Polo Reyes and Terrance McKinney — two fighters that knocked Frevola out.

Taking that history into account, I like the idea of Dober knocking Frevola out tomorrow night.

Best Bet: Drew Dober by KO/TKO (-110)

Light Heavyweight: Kennedy Nzechukwu (-176) vs. Devin Clark (+142)

Kennedy Nzechukwu (11-3) has been impressive lately, TKO’ing Karl Roberson and Ion Cutelaba in his two most recent outings. He looks to keep the ball rolling against Devin Clark (14-7), who’s gone 1-1 since his return to the light heavyweight division, defeating Jung Da-un by unanimous decision in his latest fight.

Having recently showcased his finishing ability, I see Nzechukwu picking up the victory here. First of all, he’s five inches taller than Clark with an eight-inch reach advantage. Secondly, Clark has been knocked out thrice in his career, which doesn’t bode well against his hard-hitting opponent.

Don’t be surprised if Nzechukwu knocks out another opponent in Newark.

Best Bet: Kennedy Nzechukwu by KO/TKO (+145)

Welterweight: Khaos Williams (-325) vs. Ronaldo Bedoya (+250)

Rolando Bedoya (14-1) is set to make his UFC debut after picking up six of his last nine victories by some sort of finish (four by KO/TKO, two by submission). Standing in his way is Khaos Williams (13-3), who’s trying to get back in the win column at UFC 288 following a split-decision loss to Randy Brown.

I’m not a huge fan of betting on this fight. Williams hasn’t been consistent lately while it’s too early to tell what Bedoya brings to the table. Instead, I’m taking a neutral approach by saying that this fight will last longer than 1.5 rounds.

After all, each of Williams’ last four fights have gone over that length while the same is true for each of Bedoya’s previous six.

Best Bet: Fight to Go Over 1.5 Rounds (-110)

Women's Strawweight: Marina Rodriguez (-132) vs. Virna Jandiroba (+108)

Marina Rodriguez (16-2-2) hopes to bounce back after a TKO loss to Amanda Lemos ended her four-fight winning streak. She’ll have her hands full with Virna Jandiroba (18-3), who’s coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over former Invicta FC Strawweight Champion Angela Hill.

Although Rodriguez is the favorite, I see Jandiroba scoring the upset victory. It’s Jandiroba’s grappling skills that give her the edge against an opponent who’s been taken down 14 times in her last seven fights. With how dangerous Jandiroba’s submission arsenal is, Rodriguez could be in trouble early on.

Best Bet: Virna Jandiroba to Win Outright (+108)

UFC 288 Early Prelims Card & Odds

Heavyweight: Braxton Smith (+138) vs. Parker Porter (-170)

Braxton Smith (5-1) has been on fire ahead of UFC 288, winning each of his last five fights by first-round knockout. He’ll look to keep his run going against Parker Porter (12-8), who has lost back-to-back fights. Even worse, Porter was finished in both losses, losing to Jailton Almeida by submission before being KO’d by Justin Tafa nine months later.

While Smith’s early MMA career has been impressive, he’s yet to face a UFC fighter. Having said that, it’s hard to trust Porter after back-to-back convincing losses. I feel more comfortable siding with Smith picking up the upset win as he attempts to make the most of his UFC debut.

Considering how Porter has been knocked out four times in 18 previous fights (22.2%), there’s a good chance that Smith keeps his knockout trend going.

Best Bet: Braxton Smith by KO/TKO (+195)

Middleweight: Phil Hawes (+164) vs. Ikram Aliskerov (-205)

Phile Hawes (12-4) has struggled to maintain consistency lately, getting knocked out twice in his last three fights. Meanwhile, Ikram Aliskerov (13-1) has racked up five consecutive victories, winning three of his most recent four fights by submission.

There’s little reason to trust Hawes at UFC 288 due to his recent history of being finished. Aliskerov has nine finishes to his name (four by KO/TKO, five by submission), so it’s clear that he has the tools to deal with a slumping foe like Hawes.

Regardless of how he does it, I fully expect Aliskerov to finish off Hawes Saturday night.

Best Bet: Ikram Aliskerov by KO/TKO or Submission (-105)

Catchweight (189 lbs): Joseph Holmes (+154) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (-192)

Joseph Holmes (8-3) has struggled to get his UFC career on the right path, losing two of his last three bouts — including the last to Jun Yong Park by submission. Claudio Ribeiro (10-3) is also hungry for a victory after he was KO’d by Abdul Razak Alhassan just 28 seconds into the second round of their UFC Vegas 67 clash.

Although both men are coming off losses, I have to side with Ribeiro. It’s important to remember that he was on a six-fight winning streak before losing to Alhassan, defeating each of those opponents by KO/TKO. Holmes hasn’t come close to impressing that much, which is why I have no faith in an upset.

Best Bet: Claudio Ribeiro to Win Outright (-192)

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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