Belal Muhammad currently ranked fourth in the welterweight division will co-headline the UFC 288 card off against Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns. And yes, Gilbert Burns is the same man that went three rounds with Jorge Masvidal just a few weeks ago at UFC 287. This fight will be a short notice affair for both men as the originally scheduled co-main event between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush was postponed due to an undisclosed injury to ‘Do Bronx’.
Gilbert Burns x Belal Muhammad added to May 6 in Newark. Massive props to both men for agreeing to a fight in 2 weeks with such massive stakes attached. There ya go, NJ. That’s a very fair replacement for Oliveira-Dariush. Just as good, IMO.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 21, 2023
Both Belal and Burns are currently riding high on their win streaks. Belal is unbeaten in his last nine octagon appearances while Burns after suffering a shocking defeat to Chimaev has remained highly active by winning three straight fights in a row. Talking about the significance of this fight and how this situation reminds him of the Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor moment. Belal said, “It’s my Nate Diaz moment. The Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor. This guy’s taking everything I worked for. I wanted the Khamzat [Chimaev] fight, they gave it to Gilbert. I wanted the [Jorge] Masvidal fight. They gave it to Gilbert. Now they’re talking about Gilbert fighting for a title… You want to give him everything that I want? I’m going to have to take it from him.”
Belal Muhammad vs Gilbert Burns match-up
“What I love about this fight is both guys wanted it to be five rounds. Two of the best guys in the division, and both guys think they deserve a title shot after this.”, UFC president Dana White said while announcing the exciting match-up. Burns who is fresh off a convincing victory over Masvidal demanded the UFC to have him as a backup fighter for the title fight between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington that White remains adamant about.
Even though Burns had stated that he would not accept any additional fights during that period, the organization was able to persuade him to compete just a few weeks later. Belal Muhammad on the other hand last stepped inside the octagon in October 2022, where he fought and unexpectedly finished Sean Brady in the second round. Belal who has always gotten flak was not being an ‘entertaining’ fighter silenced all the critics with that performance. A win over a big name like Burns would certainly strengthen his case for the title and the same applies for Burns.