2023 so far has consistently hit more than it has missed for the UFC in regards to PPV events. Fans have been treated to several excellent cards so far this year. UFC 283 saw two championship fights on the same night at Light Heavyweight and Flyweight.
UFC 284 saw a superfight occur between Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski and Lightweight champ Islam Makhachev. UFC 285 brought us the return of one of the goats Jon Jones and a new Heavyweight champion. UFC 286 showcased the first defence of Leon Edward’s Welterweight title and the culmination of the trilogy between himself and Kamaru Usman. Finally, UFC 287 gave us the rematch between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira as well as the retirement fight of Jorge Masvidal. This hot streak of excellent pay-per-view cards has been broken in the eyes of many fans by the incoming UFC 288 card.
An extremely solid main event between Bantamweight champion, Aljamain Sterling and returning former double champion, Henry Cejudo is not enough to save this card from the wrath of public opinion with many fans online saying that the event would be better suited as a fight night. This derision of the card only became more intense when the co-main event between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush had to be scrapped due to a pullout from Oliveira. This left the main card with a co-main featuring Jessica Andrade vs Yan Xianan, Drew Dober vs Matt Frevola, Movsar Evloev vs Bryce Mitchell and finally Kron Gracie vs Charles Jourdain.
It has been somewhat saved, however, with the introduction of a five-round co-main event between top welterweights, Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns.
Evloev vs Mitchell and Andrade vs Xianan are the only pairings that are both ranked in their divisions respectively and none of the four happen to be big draws with large fan bases. It was clear that at least one more fight had to be added to the main card to really improve the PPV. Thanks to Dana White, we got this with Muhammad vs. Burns.
The Brazilian is fresh off of a win over Jorge Masvidal just two weeks ago. In what would be relatively unheard of the Brazilian will fight twice in the same month and two wins would do wonders for boosting his way to become the front-runner in the division.
There were two names that Burns mentioned that could accompany him to the octagon on May 6th. The first one was Belal Muhammad. Currently sat one ranking above Burns at #4 in the division, Muhammad has been clamouring for a title shot for some time now. A win over Burns would only add to this argument and would put him in a difficult spot to deny as the number one contender. The two were quite vocal on Twitter, negotiating the terms of the fight.
We await this one with bated breath and we can’t wait to see it!