Welterweights will collide on short notice - Gilbert Burns vs. Belal Muhammad Booked For UFC 288 Co-Main Event

UFC welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad will collide in a pivotal matchup as the UFC 288 co-main event.

News of the booking was announced by the UFC on Thursday.

The UFC had been looking for a matchup to fill the co-main event slot after the postponement of Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush. The card also lost a featherweight fight between Bryce Mitchell and Jonathan Pearce, although Movsar Evloev is rumored to fill against Mitchell.

Muhammad returns following a six-month hiatus stemming from his win over Sean Brady at UFC 280 last October. He has defeated the likes of Vicente Luque and Stephen Thompson during his current win streak.

Muhammad has been calling for a title shot for months and will likely get the opportunity with a short-notice win over Burns.

Gilbert Burns will make the quick turnaround after beating Jorge Masvidal just weeks ago at UFC 287. He has won back-to-back fights so far in 2023, including at UFC 283 over Neil Magny.

Gilbert Burns & Belal Muhammad Collide In Potential No. 1 Contender Fight

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© Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports © Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Gilbert Burns is looking for his second UFC title shot after falling to Kamaru Usman at UFC 258. He has bounced back ever since, with the lone blemish being a close loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273.

Burns and Muhammad had gone back and forth on social media in recent days regarding a fight. The bout seemed to fall apart as soon as it came together after negotiations regarding the contested weight went cold.

The fight will be a five-round co-headliner, making it one of the few non-title five-rounders in UFC pay-per-view history. Stakes are high as Burns and Muhammad fight for the chance at the winner of the expected Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington matchup.

UFC 288 is headlined by a UFC bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Henry Cejudo.

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