UFC returns this weekend with a bantamweight championship bout as its main event. The current UFC Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, will face off against former champion Henry Cejudo. Cejudo was stripped of his belt after initially retiring in 2020.
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The co-main event in the welterweight division is equally exciting. Belal Muhammed goes up against Gilbert Burns, with the winner earning the chance to challenge current champion Leon Edwards.
Burns, who previously defeated Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287, accepted this fight quickly, adding even more intrigue to this high-stakes matchup.
We will also examine the Kron Gracie vs. Charles Jourdain fight on the undercard. After breaking down the match, we will have predictions for these fights.
Sterling vs. Cejudo
Aljamain Sterling, the crafty and strategic Bantamweight champion, will put his title on the line for the third time against the former two-division champion and Olympic gold medalist wrestler, Henry Cejudo. Cejudo is returning to the Octagon after three years away from competition.
Let’s take a look at these odds for this bout.
Sterling is the slight underdog despite being the current Bantamweight champion. Perhaps that’s due to the controversial fashion in which he won the belt. Sterling won his initial title due to an illegal knee from Petr Yan resulted in a disqualification.
He did secure a split decision win over Yan in their rematch, and, more recently, TKO’d an injured TJ Dillashaw in their fight. These controversial finishes are the primary reason Sterling is an underdog in this upcoming fight.
Henry Cejudo, a former two-division champion and Olympic gold medalist, is a worthy competitor with an impressive record. However, his biggest win also came from a controversial split decision against Demetrious Johnson.
Cejudo has also dealt with doubt from fans and media after he only defended the flyweight title once, defeating TJ Dillashaw after a controversial stoppage.
In his two bantamweight fights, he defeated Marlon Moraes, who went on a horrific losing streak after their fight. He defeated Dominick Cruz in a controversial stoppage, Cruz, who was given a title shot after a loss.
This feels like it will be a close match, but I’m leaning toward Sterling by split decision in this one because of the three-year layoff for Cejudo. Cejudo is also 36, and I just don’t see him being able to return to the Octagon victorious after three years away.
The pick for this fight is Aljamain Sterling on the money line at -102, courtesy BetOnline.
Muhammad vs. Burns
Belal Muhammad’s meteoric rise from a lower-ranked fighter to a legitimate title contender is truly impressive. His eight consecutive wins showcase his skills and make him a more than deserving fighter in position for a shot at the welterweight championship.
Gilbert Burns is fighting again, with only four weeks between fights against world-class welterweights Masvidal and Muhammad.
Burns has been performing well, winning three out of his last four fights, his only loss coming from a highly entertaining bout against Khamzat Chimaev.
We should be in for a great fight, as Burns and Muhammad share many similarities in their fighting styles.
Both are exceptional at grappling, and they both have improved their striking. The one factor that should separate the two is Burns’ superior striking power.
I don’t believe Muhammad is equipped to compete with Burns in a stand-up battle and I think he avoids Muhamad’s takedown attempts.
I am picking Burns by unanimous decision in this one. His odds are -125 with Betonline.
Kron Gracie vs. Charles Jourdain
Let’s not forget this fight on the undercard between Gracie and Jourdain. This is another fight in which a fighter returns after a long layoff. This time Kron Gracie is attempting his return to the Octagon after a four-year hiatus.
Jourdain has amassed a wealth of experience in the UFC at just 27 years old. This fight offers an opportunity to see if he can realize his potential as a fighter.
If he can remain composed and avoid Gracie’s grappling, Jourdain has the tools to inflict significant damage and ultimately dismantle Gracie.
Jourdan has real title aspirations and needs to prove himself against a grappler like Gracie. Additionally, Jourdain is fighting to avoid his third straight defeat, which could potentially lead to being cut, despite how entertaining his fights are.
I am picking Jourdain by TKO in the second round. His money line price is -166 at Betonline.
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