We've got big moves ahead of UFC 288 on May 6. Gilbert Burns (22-5, 15-5 UFC), fresh off a decision win at UFC 287, will return to the Octagon for a five-round welterweight fight vs Belal Muhammad (22-3, 13-3 UFC).
This 170-pound battle will serve as the co-main for the bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo.
As we inch closer to the fight, Burns is a tight -125 favorite over Muhammad.
UFC 288: Burns vs Muhammad Odds
Odds as of May 5
Per our odds calculator, Burns' -125 odds equate to a 55.56 percent chance to win and a $10 bet on him pays out $18. Muhammad's +100 odds give him a 50 percent chance to win and a $10 bet pays out $20.
UFC 288: Burns vs Muhammad Preview
Let's map out how each fighter can win.
How Burns Wins
These two fighters are quite evenly matched, but Burns' aggressiveness (his savage attitude, if you will) sets him apart. Simply put, he's just way more violent than Belal, and that's a good thing.
Muhammad's defense is very good (58% vs significant strikes), and the American often lulls people into these slow, technical battles that favor his finesse. Gilbert can't fall into that pit. Instead, he needs to start a war — that's what helped him knock down Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev earlier in his career.
I don't see a submission in Burns' future, but he'll have tons of success if he pressures and lets his hands fly.
How Muhammad Wins
Muhammad, for all his technical grace, gets a bad rap in UFC circles. Quite hilariously, he has 10 decision wins and two knockouts without ever actually knocking an opponent down. Still, you can't deny "Remember The Name" and his eight-fight win streak.
The Chicago native wins this fight by being patient and waiting for Burns to over-extend. Maybe "Durinho" blitzes and Muhammad pivots to his wrestling for some defense. Maybe Belal uses his quick (but not super powerful) hands to stun Burns and set up a takedown. From there, I imagine Gilbert happily accepts bottom position and tries some jiu-jitsu offense. I like Muhammad to win a decision in that scenario.
Burns vs Muhammad Betting Pick
Muhammad is the decision king, and Burns also just went the distance, but I'm taking the Brazilian to win (and likely to do it inside the distance). Muhammad's made big improvements, but Burns is hyper-aggressive and fighting some of the best rounds of his career.