UFC 288 is set to take place on May 6, 2023 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey as the hometown hero Aljamain Sterling will welcome “Triple C” Henry Cejudo back to the UFC octagon for the Bantamweight Championship. The Co-Main event was also set between No. 2 Lightweight Charles Oliveira and No. 5 Beneil Dariush as fight fans were looking forward to an awesome bout to determine the next title challenger. They received terrible news, however, just the other day as Charles Oliveira had to pull out of his upcoming fight due to an “undisclosed injury.”
Charles Oliveira is OUT of his #UFC288 fight against Beneil Dariush due to an injury
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) April 14, 2023
Some are speculating that the injury may be to Oliveira’s foot, a nagging issue he’s dealt with in the past. Charles Oliveira has been one of the sport’s biggest draws in the last couple of years and fans were massively disappointed to hear that he’ll be sitting this one out. A win over Dariush could have earned Oliveira another crack at the champion, Islam Makhachev, but it’ll now be up to the UFC to find a replacement for their co-main event. Fans have complained about the lackluster of the UFC 288 card and now that Dariush vs. Oliveira is off, Dana White will be hard-pressed to find a solid replacement bout. There’s a number of ways they could go about this, so let’s take a look at some of the possibilities for UFC 288.
Oliveira vs. Dariush postponement
This has been the most likely outcome thus far as Dana White and the UFC have alluded to postponing the fight all together and finding a separate co-main event for UFC 288. He announced during the post-fight press conference from UFC Kansas City that they’ll be working hard to find a replacement fight. One reporter mentioned Gilbert Burns, another mentioned Dustin Poirier. With the event being only three weeks away, the UFC will have to do some work to find willing fighters to step in on short notice in a huge spot. Either way, Beneil Dariush would like to face an opponent that would boost him to a title-shot with a win. Waiting for Oliveira to heal from his injury could be the best option as Charles sits at No. 2 in the rankings and is effectively still the top contender.
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) April 16, 2023
Beneil Dariush vs. Arman Tsarukyan
This fight makes a ton of sense if Beneil Dariush is willing to continue with the fight and take on a new opponent. Tsarukyan has faced some good competition and has made a quick jump up the Lightweight rankings with his 6-2 UFC record. Him and Dariush would be a phenomenal matchup in the striking department and Tsarukyan is more than willing to take the fight on short notice. While Tsarukyan’s scalp may not be worth as much as Charles Oliveira’s, Beneil Dariush would effectively earn himself a title shot if he is able to pick up a dominant win at UFC 288. However, he could still decide to wait for his original opponent, which would be a much more dangerous fight, but a much more impressive win.
— Arman Tsarukyan UFC (@ArmanUfc) April 15, 2023
Beneil Dariush vs. Dustin Poirier
This option was thrown around by a few reporters at the press conference and would seem like a good situation for both of these guys to earn a title shot with a win. We know Dustin Poirier is always game for a short-notice fight and after the news broke of Oliveira/Dariush being cancelled, Poirier stated that he “want[s] to fight.” While there’s no telling what or who he was referring to, the matchup would make a lot of sense for him as he believes Dariush would not be able to keep up with his striking. Poirier is also ranked two spots above Dariush and one spot under Oliveira, so the level of competition would be comparable in both scenarios. If Poirier can step in last minute, this could be an “edge of your seat” type of fight.
I want to fight
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) April 16, 2023
With UFC 288 just three weeks away, there’s no telling who will be in the Co-Main Event. Let us know, who do you want to see step-up and save this card?
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