UFC 288: Sterling vs Cejudo - Favorite Bets for the Weekend
The UFC is returning to the northeast this weekend with UFC 288 taking place in Newark, New Jersey. There are currently 12 fights scheduled for the event, which is headlined by the return of Henry Cejudo as he challenges Aljamain Sterling for the UFC Bantamweight championship. With weigh-in results finalized, the lineup set, and all of the prop betting markets opened, let’s take a look at some of my favorite bets for this weekend’s card:
Claudio Ribeiro vs Joseph Holmes
Both of these fighters have 100% stoppage rates in their wins heading into their matchup on Saturday so you can definitely expect some fireworks in this one. Ribeiro is 10-3 as a pro with all of his wins coming via KO/TKO, while Holmes is 8-3 with two wins via KO/TKO and six by submission.
Both of these fighters are heavy-handed strikers with the ability to stop a fight on their feet and they have a combined 13 first-round stoppages between them. In fact, only one victory between the two fighters came past the second round (a fifth-round KO/TKO from Ribeiro). While most of Ribeiro’s fight-ending threat comes on the feet, Holmes' best chance to get the job done will be on the ground if he can get it there.
With either fighter capable of getting the early stoppage, I’m definitely expecting this one to end relatively quickly and before the midway point of the fight.
My favorite bet for this fight is Under 1.5 Rounds at -128 (FanDuel).
Kennedy Nzechukwu vs Devin Clark
Nzechukwu is 11-3 with eight wins coming via KO/TKO, including each of his last four victories. He’s going to have massive 5” height and 8” reach advantages in his bout this weekend against Clark, who is 14-7 as a pro with five victories coming by stoppage.
Nzechukwu will definitely be the more dangerous fighter in the striking exchanges in this matchup, and his 80% takedown defense should keep this one standing for the majority of the fight. Clark has been stopped in six of his seven losses, which doesn’t bode well in a matchup where he is at such a size disadvantage.
I expect Nzechukwu to spend the first round getting comfortable before really opening up with his striking in the latter rounds. Each of his last four stoppages has come after the five-minute mark, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pick up another one here against Clark.
My favorite bet for this fight is Kennedy Nzechukwu by KO/TKO at +155 (FanDuel).
Kron Gracie vs Charles Jourdain
Gracie is 5-1 with a 100% submission rate in his wins and will be returning after a three-and-a-half-year layoff to open up the main card against Charles Jourdain. After suffering the first loss of his career in his last fight, Gracie will have his hands full in his return against Jourdain, who is 13-6-1 with twelve stoppage wins of his own.
Jourdain is a pretty good striker with high volume but has made questionable decisions in some of his past fights, which has led to a 4-5-1 record in the UFC. Despite the layoff and time away from the octagon, Gracie will easily be the more dangerous fighter on the ground with his grappling in this matchup and he will only need to capitalize on one mistake from Jourdain to finish this fight.
While Jourdain might have some early success in the striking exchanges, this fight will almost certainly end up going to the ground at some point, where I expect Gracie to snatch up another submission win. Since the books have him listed as a slight underdog in this matchup, my favorite bet for this fight is Kron Gracie by Submission at +220 (FanDuel).
Note: Joseph Holmes missed weight by three pounds for his middleweight bout against Claudio Ribeiro. As of now, the fight is still scheduled to proceed.