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UFC 258: Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns Preview



UFC 258: Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns Preview

UFC 258 goes down this Saturday at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. In the main event, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman puts his title on the line against Gilbert Burns in the main event.

In the co-main event, flyweight Alexa Grasso welcomes rising prospect Maycee Barber back to the Octagon. The card also features a middleweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Ian Heinisch, a welterweight bout between Belal Muhammad and Dhiego Lima, and a lightweight fight between Bobby Green and Jim Miller.

Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns

It’s clear that Gilbert Burns is coming for the belt Kamaru Usman proudly wraps around his waist, but he is also looking to make history. Should he win on Saturday, Burns will become the first Brazilian to win the UFC welterweight gold.

But beating ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ isn’t going to be easy, because he is a man on a mission to become the greatest fighter of all time. Burns is the better striker, but only by a thin margin. He is explosive and very powerful, but Usman isn’t known to have a weak chin. The reigning champion is also a hard-hitter, but often relies on his wrestling more to win fights, which is going to be his biggest weapon at UFC 258.

Usman will definitely be looking for takedowns during the fight, and Burns doesn’t have a great takedown defence. What he does have is seriously elite submission grappling skills, and Kamaru can’t afford to put a foot wrong on the mat. All in all, it is going to be a very close fight.

Alexa Grasso vs Maycee Barber

Maycee Barber returns on Saturday after a year off due to a knee injury she suffered in her loss to Roxanne Modafferi, and she isn’t taking an easy route back to the Octagon.

Alexa Grasso is a very tough fight for the young American fighter. She’s an excellent boxer, and her combinations are a thing of beauty. However, Barber is a ferocious striker with knockout power, plus excellent wrestling skills. She is going to have a major advantage on the mat, but she has got a good chance of ending the fight on the feet too.

If Grasso wants to win this fight, she will have to stay sharp on her feet and rely heavily on her footwork.

Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch

Kelvin Gastelum has lost three on the bounce, while Ian Heinisch has only won the most recent of his last three fights, so he will have momentum slightly on his side. However, to Gastelum’s credit, he has fought tougher competition and has shared the Octagon with some of the best fighters in the middleweight division.

Both fighters are predominantly boxers, but Gastelum is the better technician and has the edge going into the fight.

Bobby Green vs Jim Miller

Bobby Green vs Jim Miller is a fantastic veteran matchup. With three wins in four fights, Green had a brilliant 2020. In contrast, Miller only won one out of his three fights last year. Both fighters will be looking to start their 2021 on a winning note, and they match very well stylistically. Green has the advantage on the feet, whereas Miller’s best chances to win the fight are on the mat. However, Green has never been submitted in his UFC career.

While Green is the favourite in this fight, a 37-fight UFC veteran like Miller shouldn’t be counted out.

Belal Muhammad vs Dhiego Lima

Belal Muhammad and Dhiego Lima are both on a three-fight win streak, but Muhammad has been more active of the two fighters and has fought better competition in the recent years. Lima hasn’t fought since 2019, so he will be eyeing an impressive win to try and make an entry into the welterweight top 15.

While Lima has the skills and experience to win the fight, Muhammad has a solid ground game, and has spent more time inside the Octagon, and therefore, has the upper hand.

Other Fights On The Card

Maki Pitolo vs Julian Marquez

Rodolfo Viera vs Anthony Hernandez

Polyana Viana vs Mallory Martin                                    

Andre Ewell vs Chris Gutiérrez

Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher

Gabriel Green vs Philip Rowe

Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick

What are your predictions for the UFC 258 card, headlined by Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns?

Yeshel Asif is an MMA journalist based in Pakistan. In his relatively young career, he has worked remotely for Asian Persuasion MMA, MMA Betz, and Fight Booth.