Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo now targeted for UFC 288 on May 6

The bantamweight title fight between champ Aljamain Sterling and ex-champ Henry Cejudo is now set to take place at UFC 288 on May 6.

Sterling announced the fight on Monday via his YouTube channel. Several people with knowledge of the booking, who wished to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, confirmed to MMA Fighting that verbal agreements were in place for the match with contracts expected to be finalized shortly. .

“I can’t wait for this match, because I think it’s two guys that won’t back down, and I think the fight might get canceled – we’ll see if I’m able to rag-doll it,” Sterling said. Monday. “We’re going to find out in the first five minutes, and from there we’ll figure out if we want to waste a ton of energy wrestling, or do we want to put (our fists) to the test and show the world what high level grapplers can actually do when it comes to punching.

“I know you were impressed with (Kamaru) Usman vs. Colby Covington, it was a striker’s delight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this fight is the exact same. …Henry, I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I know, and hope, that you’re looking forward to fighting me too.

The fight card order for UFC 288 has not been confirmed, and a city and location for the ESPN+ pay-per-view have yet to be announced. A lightweight bout between former champ Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush is also set to take place on the fight card.

Sterling, who at UFC 280 defended the bantamweight title for a second time with a win over TJ Dillashaw, was originally targeted to face Cejudo at UFC 287 on April 8, but the champion’s health threatened to delay the fight. . A torn bicep didn’t require surgery for Sterling, but the game had to be pushed back to early summer. Earlier this month, he said May was the likely deadline to face the former two-division champion, who walked away from the sport after defending the bantamweight title at UFC 249.

“It’s kind of crazy how everything comes full circle,” Sterling said earlier this month. “After the fight I knew I had these fight injuries, before the rematch with (Petr) Yan, then the TJ (Dillashaw) fight kind of kicked the box. Then I knew (stem cell treatments at) bioXcceleratorit’s going to be very good. I’m very optimistic about it and I think it’s going to bring me back to 100% so I can compete with a tough competitor like Triple Zero and remind him that he should have stayed retired.

Cejudo, an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler, will return to the octagon just three days after the anniversary of his previous octagon appearance. The 36-year-old fighter then sought bigger paydays in his decision to walk away from the sport, but last year returned to the UFC’s drug testing pool in anticipation of a comeback.

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