2023 has been a year of some extraordinary PPV events. As such, UFC 288 will be looking to continue that trend with some big names and action-packed fights. Although many feel as though this card will not live up to the standards set by its predecessors, they could be left surprised come fight night.
Taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, the event will go down on May 6, 2023. Headlining the event, we have Aljamain Sterling defending his title against the returning Henry Cejudo. Additionally, fans will also witness #4 ranked welterweight Belal Muhammad take on #5 ranked Gilbert Burns in the co-main event.
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Previously, the co-main event was meant to be Charles Oliveira against Beneil Dariush. Unfortunately, an injury to Oliveira means that the fight will now be pushed to a later date. With that said, let’s take a look at Movsar Evloev vs Diego Lopes. In what has been put together at the last minute, we will see two promising featherweights go head to head.
UFC 288: Movsar Evloev vs Diego Lopes, stats
|Stats||Movsar Evloev||Diego Lopes|
|Height||1.7 m||1.8 m|
|Reach||1.84 m||1.84 m|
Evloev vs Lopes: Fight Breakdown
Initially, Movsar was scheduled to take on Bryce Mitchell. However, due to an injury to Mitchell, he has been pulled from the card. As such, Brazilian featherweight Diego Lopes will step in for the fight on 5 days’ notice. Understandably, Evloev is seen as a massive favorite coming into this one.
Notably, Movsar has made a promising start to life in the UFC. Going 6-0, the Russian’s biggest scalp was that of Dan Ige in June last year. However, a concerning point to note is that none of Evloev’s wins have come by finishes. Thus, stepping in on short notice, there will be an expectation from the #10 ranked featherweight to deliver something special. Known for his high-pressure striking and wrestling, it is very clear what Evloev brings to the table.
On the other hand, Diego Lopes is a relatively unknown quantity on the main stage. However, in the words of UFC President Dana White, Lopes is an excellent grappler and boasts a 90% finish rate throughout his career. Moreover, Lopes has worked closely with women’s flyweight champion, Alexa Grasso, with some suggesting that he is her main BJJ coach.
Previously, Lopes failed to punch his ticket to the UFC when he lost to Joanderson Brito in the Contender Series. Thus, you can expect him to put on his best performance when he faces Evloev on Saturday night. Although miracles can always happen, it is highly unlikely Diego will be taking this one.