In the co-main event of UFC 288, we saw a five-round welterweight title eliminator. Former title challenger Gilbert Burns (22-5) was ready to go with a quick turnaround to take on the surging Belal Muhammad (22-3, 1 NC).
We just saw Gilbert Burns less than a month again at UFC 287 take on Jorge Masvidal. In what turned out to be Masvidal’s retirement fight, Burns put on a masterclass pretty much dominating the fight wherever it went. It was Burns’ second straight win after the Khamzat Chimaev loss. Both of those wins by Burns have come this year.
Belal Muhamamd has just as good of a case for a title shot as anyone. If you’re keeping track, Muhammad is 12-1, 1 NC in his last fourteen fights which includes three four-fight winning streaks. However, every time he’s gone for the fifth, his progress has been halted. Will his fortune change at UFC 288? That’s what he was looking to do in defeating Durinho.
UFC 288 Recap
The UFC 288 welterweight title eliminator kicked off with Muhammad taking the center. Burns circles on the outside light on his toes. The crowd is behind Burns as he lands a quick right hand to start his striking. Low kick from Burns. Muhammad switching stances a lot here in the opening minute.
High kick attempt from Muhammad is blocked by Burns. Burns upping the pressure and Muhammad lands a straight left. Left hook from Burns followed by a left straight from Muhammad. Overhand right from Burns just glances off the chin of Muhammad. Jab now from Muhammad.
Body kick attempt from Burns and then he lands a right hand. Another right from Burns and a low kick. Quick left from Burns lands. Muhammad holding the center, but Burns’ speed is a factor right now. Big body kick from Muhammad lands and Burns answers with a right.
Back-to-back power body kicks from Muhammad. Jab from Muhammad lands. Low kick now from Muhammad. Right hand from Burns but a left straight from Muhammad rocked Burns briefly. Muhammad charges forward and now Burns lands a right to back him off.
Body kick from Burns now. The round comes to a close and that could go to either man but the biggest moment belonged to Belal Muhammad at UFC 288.
Entering the second at UFC 288 and Muhammad should be up on the scorecards. Burns takes the center to start the second round and he lands a low kick. He tries to land his lead left but it’s blocked. Power body kick now from Muhammad. Right hand lands for Burns.
Another big kick from Muhammad. Burns is starting to hang his hands a little due to the body shots. Burns trying to move forward but he eats a 1-2 from Muhammad. Big right hand from Burns as he steps in and he looks to land it again. Jab now from Muhammad.
Halfway through the round and these two are playing chess right now. Big right hand from Burns lands on Muhammad. Muhammad holding the center here and lands another beautiful body kick. Straight left now from Muhammad. Body kick and a combo from Muhammad and Burns circles away.
1-2 from Muhammad and he lands another big body shot. Burns steps in and both men throw but nothing big lands. Low kick from Burns but Muhammad charges forward and lands. The round comes to a close and I think Belal Muhammad is likely up two at UFC 288.
Entering the third at UFC 288 and Burns needs to get some momentum back. Muhammad immediately starts with pressure here in the third round. Burns steps in but eats a counter from Muhammad. Burns circling and Muhammad is trying to cut him off here.
Left straight lands for Muhammad. Not a lot of volume here for Durinho. Jab from Burns lands and then he lands a low kick. Big body kick from Muhammad and a jab behind it. Another kick from Muhammad. Lots of pressure here from Muhammad and he lands a looping right.
1-2 now from Muhammad and he comes up top with two head kicks. Combination now from Muhammad. Burns is throwing nothing in return right now. Just as I type that, Burns lands a big right. However, a huge body kick then lands for Muhammad.
Muhammad goes high with the kick and it almost lands. Two short jabs from Muhammad. Head kick attempt from Muhammad. Burns is bouncing on his toes but once again isn’t throwing much. He throws a body kick and a right hand. Muhammad counters with back-to-back kicks. Left straight now from Muhammad.
Three straight lefts from Muhammad and a body kick. Muhammad is really pulling away with volume. High kick now from Muhammad and a jab. The round comes to a close and it’s 3-0 Belal Muhammad at UFC 288 on my scorecard.
Entering the fourth at UFC 288 and Gilbert Burns appears to be dealing with a left arm injury but he’s going to power through. Low kick from Burns starts the fourth. Muhammad is very heavy on the pressure here. Body kick from Muhammad. Double jab from Belal Muhammad.
Two right hands land for Burns. 1-2 from Muhammad backs Burns up and he lands another body kick. Another power body kick from Muhammad. Left hand from Muhammad and a body kick behind it. Burns is getting beat up but he tries a high kick.
Looping right for Muhammad and a low kick from Burns. 1-2 now from Muhammad. Body kick from Burns now but Muhammad just keeps pushing forward. Huge right hand from Burns lands but Muhammad just eats it. Low kick from Burns. Burns is trying more here in the fourth, but he’s definitely compromised.
Burns winces as his left shoulder looks hurt. Muhammad is now targeting the area. Multiple high kicks in a row land on the left arm. Burns circles on the outside and it appears he’ll survive for now. Low kick from Burns. Head kick from Muhammad and a body kick behind it. Right hand from Muhammad.
Power right hand from Burns lands right on the chin of Muhammad. Muhammad has a helluva chin. The round comes to a close and it’s 4-0 Muhammad at UFC 288.
Entering the final round at UFC 288 and Gilbert Burns is going to need a miracle. They touch gloves to start the fifth and here we go. Burns holding the center here and looks for his right hand. He shoots for a takedown and immediately backs away from it.
Muhammad now pushing forward and lands a 1-2. High kick attempt from Muhammad. 1-2 lands for Muhammad again and then another body kick. Burns throws back-to-back right hands but nothing really lands. Under three minutes left in the fight.
Right hand lands for Muhammad. Low kick from Burns. Body kick from Muhammad and then a left straight. Burns lands a powerful low kick that briefly buckled the leg of Muhammad. Muhammad looks okay through as he lands a jab. Both men trade right hands in the center.
High kick from Muhammad. Pressure now from Muhammad and moves forward behind three jabs. Combination now from Muhammad. 1-2 from Muhammad. Burns lands a couple of right hands but not much on them. The final bell sounds and it should be a shutout for Muhammad.
Belal Muhammad def. Gilbert Burns by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)