UFC 288 results: Belal Muhammad puts on striking clinic in dominant win over Gilbert Burns, secures title shot
The UFC welterweight division has another title challenger – and his name (remember it) is Belal Muhammad.
Muhammad staked his claim to a shot at gold Saturday night as he soundly defeated Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision in a five-round co-main event at UFC 288 from Prudential Center in Newark N.J. After 25 minutes of a striking clinic, the judges scored the bout 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 for Muhammad, which pushes his unbeaten streak to 10, including one no contest.
Prior to the fight, UFC president Dana White said the winner would secure a title shot against the winner of the upcoming to-be-booked title fight between champion Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. Afterward, Muhammad made it clear that’s exactly what he expects.
“Leon and Colby, I’m coming for both you guys,” Muhammad said during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Both Muhammad (23-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) and Burns (22-6 MMA, 15-6 UFC) accepted the fight on short notice. In Burns’ case, he was only four weeks removed from his last fight against Jorge Masvidal, which he won by unanimous decision at UFC 287. Saturday’s co-headliner marked Burns’ third fight of 2023, and he may have been feeling the effects of his activity.
Burns visibly looked dejected after the third round and suggested to his corner that he was dealing with a left arm injury, which prevented him from throwing it.
Muhammad, only two weeks removed from Ramadan in which he fasted every day for a month, appeared to be the fresher fighter throughout all five rounds. He repeatedly landed left kicks to the body of Burns, which kept the distance in Muhammad’s favor. Burns never got going with his attack, perhaps being stabilized by Muhammad’s constant switch stances between orthodox and southpaw.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 288 results include:
Belal Muhammad def. Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
Yan Xiaonan def. Jessica Andrade via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:20
Movsar Evloev def. Diego Lopes via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Charles Jourdain def. Kron Gracie via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Matt Frevola def. Drew Dober TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:08
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Devin Clark via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 2:28
Khaos Williams def. Rolando Bedoya via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Virna Jandiroba def. Marina Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Parker Porter def. Braxton Smith via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:10
Ikram Aliskerov def. Phil Hawes via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:10
Claudio Ribeiro def. Joseph Holmes via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:21
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 288.