Aljamain Sterling and Jessica Andrade are two of the top selections to take into account for UFC 288 predictions, odds, and best bets.

The main event of UFC 288 is a match between former two-division champion Henry Cejudo and Aljamain Sterling, bringing the bantamweight division’s past and present into conflict.

Cejudo is in his first match after stepping down as the bantamweight champion in May 2020. The storylines leading up to UFC 288 are dominated by fighters making their comebacks and fighters making speedy turnarounds, which makes the card particularly challenging for those who like to wager on major events. Movsar Evloev vs. Diego Lopes, one of the main card fights, doesn’t even yet have a line established because Lopes is filling in for Bryce Mitchell at the last minute after Evolev took the position of Jonathan Pearce.

We’ve done our best to offer our recommendation for the best wager for each main card bout on Saturday, despite all the strange elements that are involved in the program. We had another bad night of results at UFC 287, going 1-4 to drop our overall record for the year to 14-11.

Check out our recommendations for the top wagers on the UFC 288 main event using odds from Caesars Sportsbook.

Kron Gracie vs. Charles Jourdain

Fight to go under 2.5 rounds (-200)

Due to lengthy layoffs or replacements with little advance warning, there are some pretty nasty battles to attempt to pick this week. The first one is Gracie, who hasn’t fought since losing to Cub Swanson by decision in October 2019. While Gracie and Jourdain don’t have a lot of stoppage defeats under their belts, they do have a combined record of one decision win. A way to a submission might be made available if Gracie returns in excellent shape and has internalized the lesson of not attempting to wrestle Swanson. Jourdain might succeed in stopping the fight on the feet if the cage rust becomes apparent and he can seize the initiative. Play it safe with the under 2.5 line rather than speculating on Gracie’s current condition, as they are the two outcomes for the fight that are indicated as the two most likely.

Jessica Andrade vs. Yan Xiaonan

Jessica Andrade ML (-190)

Andrade just suffered a really poor loss to Erin Blanchfield; it was her first defeat since 2015 against a competitor who hadn’t previously won a UFC belt. It’s important to note that Andrade agreed to that bout on short notice and claimed that a wardrobe malfunction caused her to become preoccupied throughout the battle. It will be lot easier to face Xiaonan with a full camp than it will be to get ready for Blanchfield. Despite being a competent fighter, Xiaonan will have trouble taking down someone as versatile as Andrade, who can use her striking to set up takedowns where she should be able to gain the upper hand. At +200, the Andrade by decision line is intriguing, but we’ll play it conservatively because Andrade still has a chance to force the stoppage.

Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns

Fight to go the distance: No (-110)

Similar to the Gracie vs. Jourdain battle, I’d suggest skipping this one. However, this column consistently offers predictions for each matchup with odds listed on UFC main events. It appears that a brief fight will take place since these are two dangerous fighters who want to send a strong message. Burns just competed on April 8 and will make a quick turnaround for this bout. This is especially true given that the bout is scheduled to go five rounds. Although Muhammad isn’t particularly good at stopping fights, the possibility increases if Burns starts to lose steam quickly as the match progresses. Burns also possesses lots of power and the grappling ability to submit anyone. It’s hazardous to gamble on this battle in any way, so do so at your own peril.

Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo

Aljamain Sterling ML (-105)

As with nearly every other fight on the main card, there are so many questions here that it’s probably the smart move to pass on making any play. Cejudo is returning for his fight fight since May 2020, when he retained the bantamweight title with a knockout win over Dominick Cruz. At 36 years old and with three years of rust, is Cejudo the same fighter he was when he was tearing guys up at both flyweight and bantamweight? That feels like a lot to ask. Sterling is a handful in any fight, but he excels at identifying and exploiting flaws. If he believes that dragging Cejudo into protracted grappling matches will wear him down, he will do so. He might try to exchange more there if he believes Cejudo is clumsy. Simply put, it seems inappropriate to fight Sterling after being out of commission for so long.