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Aljamain Sterling has retained the UFC bantamweight title with a split decision victory over former champion Henry Cejudo.

Sterling welcomed Cejudo back to the UFC following a three-year absence and it was the reigning champion who proved too good in front of his home crowd in Newark, New Jersey.

In a tight and cagey fight with few flash points, both men had moments in which the momentum was in their favour, but overall, the diversity of offence and physical advantages of Sterling proved the difference.

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All three judges had the fight 48-47, with two in Sterling’s favour and one for the former two-weight UFC champion.

The win makes it three 135-pound title defences for Sterling, the most by any champion in the history of the division.

After the fight, Sterling set up his next defence by calling out Sean O’Malley, who entered the cage for a face off.

UFC 288 full card results

Main card

  • Aljamain Sterling (c) def. Henry Cejudo via split decision to retain the UFC bantamweight title
  • Belal Muhammad def. Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision
  • Yan Xiaonan def. Jessica Andrade via round one TKO
  • Movsar Evloev def. Diego Lopes via unanimous decision
  • Charles Jourdain def. Kron Gracie via unanimous decision

MORE: Is Aljamain Sterling the most disrespected UFC champion?

Prelims

  • Matt Frevola def. Drew Dober via round one TKO
  • Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Devin Clark via round two KO
  • Khaos Williams def. Rolando Bedoya via split decision
  • Virna Jandiroba def. Marina Rodriguez via unanimous decision

FIGHT PASS Prelims

  • Parker Porter def. Braxton Smith via round one TKO
  • Ikram Aliskerov def. Phil Hawes via round one KO
  • Claudio Ribiero def. Joseph Holmes via round two TKO



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