A battle of two bantamweight greats went down as the UFC 288 headliner on Saturday night. And the reigning 135-pound king, Aljamain Sterling, fended off Henry Cejudo’s campaign to regain the belt he never lost.
The two met at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on May 6. They competed for five, hard-fought rounds which saw both men utilize their striking, and high-level wrestling and grappling to earn the judges’ nod.
In the end, “Funk Master” edged the scorecards via split decision (47–48, 48–47, 48–47). He notched his third consecutive bantamweight title defense and extended his 135-pound win streak to nine — both UFC records.
Cejudo, who fought for the first time in three years, had his six-fight streak halted. During the UFC 288 broadcast, No. 2-ranked contender “Sugar” Sean O’Malley faced off with Sterling, setting up the next divisional title fight. When “Triple C” had his time with the microphone, he said he wasn’t sure if he’d continue competing in mixed martial arts.
Conor McGregor Takes Aim at Cejudo During & After the Fight
Conor McGregor, who has publicly feuded with Cejudo online several times, was watching the event. And he took multiple opportunities to rip on “Triple C.” “16 wins 2 losses,” McGregor tweeted mid-way through the fight. “Guy is a novice in MMA.”
“Mastermind stuff hahaha,” he continued.
After the decision was read by Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer, McGregor tweeted: “Easiest money I’ve ever made. Not a scratch on Aljo! Congrats Funkmaster! Good little fighter is Henry but give it a rest with these agendas all the time. The guy is sub 20 fights in his career. His little feints an all ahaha omg please teach me mastermind lol. Done the splits like a stripper and got dumped on his ass he did hahaha oh lord it’s tasty.”
“Notorious” then tweeted that he scored the match 4-1 in favor of Sterling.
He then posted a video on Twitter of himself trolling Cejudo’s “f****** genius” striking technique. Watch below:
McGregor’s technique talk may stem from the times when Cejudo has posted content about Notorious’ striking. For example, after the irishman posted a video of himself hitting pads ahead of his trilogy match with Dustin Poirier, Cejudo tweeted: “Everything is done naked. No fakes, no faints, no level changes. But you think your going to get a different result. You work to much on combinations where you should be working entries, set ups, and setting traps. Just a tip from the goat. Mahhhh.”
See the video and Cejudo’s words below:
MMA World Reacts to the UFC 288 Main Event
Here are a few reactions to the fight from the MMA world:
Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson tweeted: “Great fight congratz to @funkmasterMMA great game plan and execution!! keep you heard @HenryCejudo.”
Top-ranked UFC middleweight Derek Brunson tweeted: “Since when did triple C become a fan favorite ? (Laughing emojis) took some Time off and reminded people How much they miss you (laughing emoji).”
“Sterling vs Cejudo was incredibly close, no matter who you scored it for,” MMA bettor Luca Fury tweeted. “Don’t cry robbery no matter which side you were on. That’s a very close one that deserves a rewatch before final judgement. The line being a dead even pick ‘em was correct — toss up type of bout. #UFC288
UFC welterweight contender Michael Chiesa wrote: “Hey @felderpaul, you owe me two sandwiches now. Thank you @funkmasterMMA.”