UFC 288 suffered a massive setback with the main card event, featuring Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush was taken off with the former sustaining an injury. This led to the lightweight champion Islam Makhachev being left without a possible challenger for his eventual title defence in Abu Dhabi in October 2023. Both Charles Oliverira and Beniel Darisuh are reportedly the leading contenders for the 155lb strap, currently held by Islam Makhachev.
In the latest update, Beneil Dariush has reportedly informed that the UFC is aiming to push the Oliveira fight back to UFC 289 in Vancouver, Canada. The main event of that card is Amanda Nunes and Juliana Pena defending their women's bantamweight titles for the third time.
Charles Oliveira's withdrawal from UFC 288 was reportedly driven by a lack of focus and motivation, according to Beneil Dariush. Many saw it as a crucial matchup that will decide the next top lightweight contender. But later it was reported that Oliveira is suffering from an undisclosed injury. The UFC is now looking for a date to reschedule this high voltage fight. It might be held during UFC 289 on 10 June. However, the UFC is yet to confirm the Dariush-Oliveira matchup for UFC 289.
The UFC 288 headline fight will see Henry Cejudo's comeback as "Triple C" takes on Aljamain Sterling, the current UFC bantamweight champion. The other fixtures for UFC 288 are as follows:
UFC 288 PPV Main Card:
115 lbs.: Jessica Andrade vs. Xiaonan Yan
145 lbs.: Bryce Mitchell vs. TBD
145 lbs.: Kron Gracie vs. Charles Jourdain
UFC 288 Prelims Card:
135 lbs.: Johnny Munoz vs. Daniel Santos
115 lbs.: Virna Jandiroba vs. Marina Rodriguez
185 lbs.: Armen Petrosyan vs. TBA
205 lbs.: Devin Clark vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu
UFC 288 Early Prelims Card:
125 lbs.: Rafael Estevam vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
170 lbs.: Rolando Bedoya vs. Khaos Williams
155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Matt Frevola
185 lbs.: Joseph Holmes vs. Claudio Ribeiro
185 lbs.: Ikram Aliskerov vs. Phil Hawes