Gilbert Burns vs. Belal Muhammad Official For UFC 288 Co-Main Event

The speculation over who would land the UFC 288 co-main event spot after the withdrawal of Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush is now over with Dana White officially confirming that a five-round welterweight fight between Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad has been signed for the show in New Jersey.

White had made it known last weekend that Burns had been his first choice for the short-notice match-up and the fighter had in turn challenged Muhammad, who had initially countered that by asking for a 175lb catchweight.

However, Burns called his bluff by moving on to call out Dustin Poirier instead, at which point Muhammad changed his mind and agreed to the fight at 170lbs, despite only having a little over two weeks to prepare and make weight for what has been announced as a five round fight.

The 36-year-old Burns gave a good account of himself against Khamzat Chimaev in his only fight last year, but ultimately lost by unanimous decision. However, he’s started 2023 strongly with two wins under his belt already over Neil Magny and then Jorge Masvidal, who he fought to a decision victory just two weeks ago.

Now the No.5 ranked contender goes up against the 4th placed Muhammad, who has racked up a nine-fight unbeaten streak in the division over the past few years.

Along the way Muhammad has beaten the likes of Sean Brady, Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson and Damien Maia, and adding Burns name to that list would strengthen his claim for a title shot.

Burns vs. Muhammad settles in as the co-main event of a UFC 288 card that will be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between current titleholder Aljamain Sterling and former double-champ Henry Cejudo.

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