UFC 288 features a banger of a main event in Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo, but a number of fights stand out for MMA DFS across the card. The co-main event features a title eliminator between Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns, while the rest of the card is littered with action fights. Below are some UFC 288 DFS picks, with the help of Stokastic’s MMA DFS projections.
UFC 288 DFS Picks: Phil Hawes-Ikram Aliskerov Headlines Prelims
Salaries come from DraftKings.
Yan Xiaonan ($7,400)
In the third fight on the main card, Yan Xiaonan takes on Jessica Andrade as a +165 underdog. This fight is -125 to reach a decision, but the pace should be electric here. Andrade is one of the most active and uptempo fighters on the UFC roster. She averages 6.84 significant strikes per minute and 2.64 takedowns per bout.
While Andrade certainly likes to apply pressure, Xiaonan will push a pace herself. Xiaonan averages 5.45 significant strikes per minute and 0.87 takedowns per bout. The fight is slightly more likely to reach a decision, but don’t sleep on the stopping power of these women. Andrade has 17 of her 24 victories coming by finish, and seven of Xiaonan’s 16 wins came via knockout. This is a fight to target at an interesting price point, with the highest projected pace on the card. However, Xiaonan comes up as one of the better pure underdog plays in the projections.
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Ikram Aliskerov ($9,100)
Ikram Aliskerov is making his UFC debut in another early prelim fight with serious juice, taking on Phil Hawes as a -200 favorite. Aliskerov fought on Dana White’s Contender Series, earning a first-round submission in the process. Hawes has more experience, with a 5-3 UFC record, but he has been knocked out in two of his last three fights. More importantly, this fight has the second-best projected pace on the entire card.
Aliskerov has a wrestling background, landing a takedown immediately in his Contender Series fight. He has five wins by submission and another five by knockout, displaying his power and versatility. His only professional loss came to Khamzat Chimaev on the regional scene. If Aliskerov cannot grab the finish, Hawes should be a willing dance partner in terms of pace. Hawes averages 2.37 takedowns per bout behind his wrestling background. He also lands 5.46 significant strikes per minute. This fight projects to be all action, but the favorite in Aliskerov looks particularly enticing.
As usual, five-round fights deserve close attention as well. The bouts between Henry Cejudo and Aljamain Sterling as well as the Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns fight both are five-rounders. With both almost dead even in pricing, these fights should also be priorities on this slate. To find out more about the main event and the co-main event, check out Stokastic’s MMA DFS projections here!