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Kron Gracie vs. Charles Jourdain full fight preview | UFC 288

UFC Fight Night: Ngannou v Velasquez Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight scrappers Kron Gracie and Charles Jourdain will throw down this weekend (Sat., May 6, 2023) at UFC 288 inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

It’s been the better part of four years since Gracie last stepped into the Octagon, a losing effort against Cub Swanson that did pick up “Fight of the Night” honors. What’s Gracie going to look like after such a massive layoff? It’s anyone’s guess, but he’s consistently must-watch entertainment thus far through his short professional career. Jourdain, meanwhile, has more than proven himself one of the most exciting fighters on the roster, landing himself squarely in blood-and-guts brawls more often than not. He’s become a fan favorite, but on the heels of consecutive losses, what the Canadian really needs is a bounce back into the win column.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

LIVE! Watch UFC 288 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Newark, N.J., for the first time in more than three years on Sat., May 6, 2023, with a blockbuster Bantamweight collision inside Prudential Center that will see Aljamain Sterling attempt another successful title defense against returning two-division titleholder and former gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler, Henry Cejudo. In UFC 288’s last-minute pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, former Welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns, locks horns with No. 4-seeded contender, Belal Muhammad, in a five-round, 170-pound No. 1 contender eliminator match.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Kron Gracie

Record: 5-1
Key Wins: Tatsuya Kawajiri (Rizin World Grandprix 2016: Final Round), Alex Caceres (UFC on ESPN 1), Hideo Tokoro (Rizin World Grandprix 2016: First Round)
Key Losses: Cub Swanson (UFC Fight Night 161)
Keys to Victory: Gracie is absolutely one of the best grapplers on the UFC roster. He was a terror on the competitive grappling scene, and in the cage, he’s proven lethal when able to force a grappling exchange. Otherwise, he relies on pressure boxing to create his openings.

Gracie’s complete lack of effective offensive wrestling will always be a liability, but his style of creating chaos and hoping it leads to submissions should play well against Jourdain. “Air” loves chaos and scrappy exchanges, and he’s happy to overcommit to punches or throw easily caught kicks, meaning it’s not terribly difficult to dump him to the canvas.

Hopefully, Gracie remembers his strengths here. If he’s opportunistic, he should be able to get Jourdain down somehow, and he’s on a different level on the canvas. This could really be a great return performance from Gracie, provided he actually makes use of his greatest asset.

Charles Jourdain

Record: 13-6-1
Key Wins: Doo Ho Choi (UFC Fight Night 165), Lando Vannata (UFC Vegas 52), Andre Ewell (UFC Vegas 45)
Key Losses: Nathaniel Wood (UFC Paris), Shane Burgos (UFC Long Island), Julian Erosa (UFC Vegas 36)
Keys to Victory: Jourdain loves to throw down. He’s able to push a hard pace for three rounds and has very solid natural power, which makes him a dangerous foe particularly late in fights. He’s struggled with getting controlled on the canvas, but Jourdain is able to make it a scrap nearly every time.

At 27 years of age, Jourdain already has a lot of high-level UFC experience. He’s faced his share of ups-and-downs, and hopefully, he’s going to come out the other side as a better fighter. He clearly has potential, and this fight may help demonstrate whether he can really live up to it.

Put simply: Jourdain has to fight controlled here. He cannot throw caution to the wind and engage recklessly. It could pay off, sure, but the more likely outcome is he winds up trapped on the canvas, forced defensive by Gracie’s elite submission game. If Cub Swanson made the choice to tone down his wildness, it’s probably a good idea for Jourdain to do the same.

If Jourdain can play it patient and refuse to give Gracie an easy path to grappling, he should do a ton of damage and pick his foe apart. He’s got the skill set to do so, but this match up will test whether or not he has developed the discipline.

Bottom Line

This fight feels more entertaining than important.

Are we expecting Gracie to return a contender at 34 years of age with less than 10 professional fights? I am not. At this point, the best hope for Gracie seems to be that he improves some of his flaws a bit, puts on entertaining fights, and is more active. Winning is obviously preferable to losing, but he can do that either way in this case if he accepts another fight in 2023.

The stakes feel more significant for Jourdain, who has real title aspirations. It’s far too early to rule them out in a post-Charles Oliveira title reign world, but it would really be encouraging to see Jourdain progress and turn away a grappler here. In addition, he’s fighting to avoid three straight defeats, which is still potentially cut worthy regardless of how fun those fights happen to be.

At UFC 288, Kron Gracie and Charles Jourdain will open the main card. Which athlete earns the victory?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 288 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 288: “Sterling vs. Cejudo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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