Watch Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo full fight video highlights from the main event of UFC 288, courtesy of the UFC and other outlets.
UFC 288: Sterling vs. Cejudo took place May 6 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (23-3) took on former two-division champion Henry Cejudo (16-3), who returned from retirement following a three-year layoff in the night’s main event. The fight aired live ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Catch the video highlights below.
The return of Triple C is HERE!@HenryCejudo coming to reclaim bantamweight gold at #UFC288! pic.twitter.com/Arc6FLbn9F— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
The 135-lb king ready to defend his throne @FunkMasterMMA ready to make a statement at #UFC288! pic.twitter.com/5oJhERxDFc— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
HERE. WE. GO.— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
Our #UFC288 main event starts NOW pic.twitter.com/0VAT4wYgfA
Big close to the first round for @FunkMasterMMA #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/1TxHvVgLKm— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
La batalla se pelea de pie en este segundo round #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/e3UzqBW27H— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) May 7, 2023
This defence from Cejudo is wild #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/PPgxwUmeqj— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
We go the distance!— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
Who's taking the decision on your scorecard?? #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/NUF6K8zmVr
#ANDSTILL BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!!@FunkMasterMMA with the split decision over Henry Cejudo at #UFC288! pic.twitter.com/nUrECCcwtT— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
All respect between competitors after the war of words in the build up #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/JrohsNaBai— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
Aljamain Sterling's got something to say!! #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/2NrOskSz0P— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
SEAN O'MALLEY ENTERS THE OCTAGON TO CALL OUT STERLING #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/6WREFjS9cc— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
Merab put on O'Malley's jacket #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/1dH5inwJWz— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
The champ calls his shot!@FunkMasterMMA says it's September for a fight with @SugaSeanMMA #UFC288 pic.twitter.com/YugnJ4aZy7— UFC (@ufc) May 7, 2023
For more on Sterling vs. Cejudo, check out the live blog from MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Round 1: Aljo comes out to the center quickly and throws a head kick that Henry evades. Aljo putting the pressure on immediately, while Cejudo is just feeling things out. Aljo not landing anything yet, but the activity is high. Cejudo tries to back him up with a big counter as he circles out.
Aljo really letting his length work early but he overswings and Henry gets a clinch and quickly turns Aljo and plants him in the floor. First takedown.
Aljo now working butterfly guard and an overhook to sweep, but Henry is staying heavy on top. Aljo rolls up and Henry immediately grabs a front headlock. He’s putting pressure on here and Aljo is sitting and waiting for now. Patience from both men but Aljo eventually stands up.
Henry lands a good leg kick. Aljo starting to force the issue. Lands a big body kick. Cejudo a right hand and catches the kick but Aljo gets out. Henry grabs a clinch and this time Aljo gets to the fence and defends. Aljo changes levels but Henry stuffs it and jumps on the front headlock. Aljo tries a peak out to switch but Henry rejects him. Aljo does get a single-leg off it and he’s holding Henry against the fence.
Aljo is able to pass by and scores the takedown! Aljo has the rear waistlock and lands a nasty knee to the body there. Cejudo to his feet but can’t break the grip, and Aljo sneaks to the back! Short time and Cejudo is staying high, fighting the feet and he’ll make the round without a problem. Competetive round and Aljo lands a big elbow just before the hown.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Sterling.
Round 2: Cejudo has a good start to the round, but Aljo finished strong. The length and size are big weapons for him. Let’s see if Cejudo wrestles more this round. And if both men can keep this pace.
Cejudo opens with a low kick. He’s really struggling with the range on the feet as Aljo keeps kicking him. Cejudo is letting the fight come to him a lot. But he lands a big counter right. And a low kick. Aljo with a lancing left. And another.
Cejudo lands a body kick of his own. Single shots from both men. But Cejudo is backing Aljo up now. And a head kick BARELY misses from Cejudo. Aljo tries a stepping elbow. That was dumb. Cejudo goes for another head kick. Clinch that gets broken.
Cejudo is really starting to kick now and Aljo is trading them with him. His kicks have a bit more power it would seem. But Cejudo’s punches are better. Wild shot from Aljo that is easily stuffed by the Olympic champion.
Aljo showing some decent footwork here, cutting angles. Cejudo loading up on counters but coming up short. He is still kicking the legs though. And he’s got Aljo on the backfoot.
Cejudo is feinting a lot now and it’s opening up spots for his right hand. Aljo countering and Cejudo gets aggressive but he’s really of rhythm right now. He’s switching stances a lot and it’s preventing Cejudo from landing in multiple, but he’s getting caught in the middle.
Cejudo lands a high kick on a ducking Aljo but he wears it well. Cejudo finding range for his boxing as Aljo is giving ground. Aljo jabs the body but eats a combo in return. Clinch gets broken. Cejudo lands a clean right hand. Aljo touching and they collide for a scramble just before the horn.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Cejudo, 19-19 overall.
Round 3: Cejudo’s corner tells their fighter to “Burn the Ships.” They want him to step on the gas here. And it may be a good idea.
Cejudo really upping the pressure here. He’s got Aljo backed up and a jumping knee barely misses but a right hand may have landed! Aljo dove on a double and Sterling smashes it down. They stand and Aljo lands a looping right. And a low kick.
Reactive double from Aljo and Cejudo stuffs it and then lands a knee to the body. Another reactive shot from Aljo and this time he grabs the underhook and gets Cejudo to the fence. But Cejudo reverses position. We’re clinch grappling here and they both keep turning. And Aljo just muscles Cejudo down. Cejudo is waiting to stand again, while Aljo is working towards the back now.
Cejudo stands but Aljo has the back, at an angle. Cejudo turns and Aljo lands a nice knee. We’re still clinched against the fence though and Aljo is staying sticky on him. Cejudo can’t separate and Aljo can’t finish the takedown. Finally Cejudo gets out.
And back at range, Aljo shoots again immediately. Cejudo stuffs it and tries to spin to the back but instead Aljo gets on a leg. Cejudo attacking the neck. Knee wrestling against an Olympic gold medalist is perhaps not a good plan. Cejudo stands up and Aljo weaves his way back up to the feet. They exchange kicks.
1-2 from Aljo into a body lock. Cejudo stays up but knees from Sterling land to the body. And Cejudo lands an inside trip! Short time though and the round ends without much happening.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Sterling, 29-28 Sterling overall.
Round 4: Cejudo’s corner tells him he needs these last two rounds. He probably does. He should really wrestle.
Aljo lands a pair of heavy low kicks to start the round. Cejudo lands one of his own. Good body kick from Aljo. Cejudo cutting the cage while Aljo bounces and gives angles. Lands a body kick.
Live odds have this fight as a pick’em still. It’s very close.
Sterling is just sort of out-working Aljo right now. Cejudo lands a stepping right hand but can’t follow it up. He still hasn’t figured out the range. But lands a big knee when Aljo ducks in. Pressure from Cejudo and Sterling keeps kicking.
Cejudo gets Aljo to the fence and grabs a clinch and now the Olympian tries for a takedown. Aljo is able to keep his feet but Cejudo is holding him to the fence. He then breaks but gets putting on pressure. Aljo pops a jab and goes for a poor double leg that gets brushed aside. Good leg kick lands though. And a jab. That jab is starting to really land cleanly. And that calf kick.
Cejudo rushes for a clinch and Aljo lands a knee inside and then breaks. Aljo the long kick boxer is winning this fight now. Cejudo has slowed down for sure and he eats an awkward right hand from the champion. Lazy kick gets caught and Cejudo trying to score a takedown but gives up. Aljo lands a nice knee inside and Cejudo shucks him down into another front headlock. Aljo trying to wrestle through here and DOES. Wow. Aljo was in a bad spot and now he’s got a takedown, with Cejudo against the fence. Cejudo gives up his back to stand up but Aljo lands a combo as the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Sterling, 39-37 Sterling overall.
Round 5: Cejudo’s corner tells him it’s either a tie or he’s down. That’s about right. Sterling’s corner tells him Cejudo is about to come for his head, because he needs a finish. Also probably true.
Both men looking fresh, and Sterling looks pumped up to start. Cejudo comes out hot with pressure but Aljo is on his bike and snapping kicks in there. The length is still troubling Cejudo.
Cejudo trying to feint his way in and lands a body kick. Aljo keeps kicking and keeps moving. Not going to be a stationary target. Cejudo lands a punch to the body and a body kick. He’s upping his output and pressure. But is it too little too late?
Spinning back kick from Aljo backs Cejudo up. But he lands a moment later with a right hand. Aljo might be trying to coast here. He’s not committing to much. Safety first.
Cejudo lands a good left hand but again, only one shot at a time. He then ducks into a single but drops it to land a nice right hand when Aljo moves to defend. Cejudo lands a low kick. He’s starting to find a rhythm. And a combo.
Aljo is consenting to boxing range and that’s dangerous. And he keeps trying a stepping elbow. A clinch and Cejudo lands a pair of good knees. A break and then a head kick glances for Cejudo into a clinch. Sterling breaks free and Cejudo right back on the pressure. 1 minute to go.
Snatch single from Cejudo and he runs Aljo across the cage and gets the takedown! Aljo gives up his back to stand up and Cejudo is desperately trying to hold on and get somewhere. Aljo is up but Cejudo has the rear waistlock. 10 seconds and Aljo turns and no we will run this fight out here. Solid fight.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Cejudo, 48-47 Sterling overall.
Aljamain Sterling def. Henry Cejudo by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).