UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns Preview

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman prepares for his title defense. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman prepares for his title defense. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP


The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to American soil this past weekend. After an eventful stay in Abu Dhabi, local fighters and potentially fans will embark on their chances to get involved with a huge main event matchup.

Teammates will collide, Sanford MMA’s finest will clash for the UFC Welterweight title in a scenario that should be familiar with both men. It has been rumoured these two have sparred hundreds of rounds against each other, making the live fight an exciting spectacle to watch play-out.

Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns

UFC Welterweight Bout

Kamaru Usman (17-1-0)

One of the most underappreciated UFC champions in recent memory must be Kamaru Usman. Maybe his style does not leave all opponents dazed and confused. You cannot deny the man of his accolades and achievements.

A former NCAA Division II Champion, Usman had to abandon his dream of competing at an Olympic level due to injuries. But yeah, he was that damn good. And it is evident in his MMA style today.

The Ultimate Fighter Alumni made his way onto the UFC roster through the assistance of his robust wrestling base. Once the Olympic dream was over, Usman put his full efforts into mixed martial arts. Once gaining the opportunity to fight on the UFC’s reality show (The Ultimate Fighter or TUF) the rest was history.

Kamaru Usman is riding a sixteen-fight winning streak, and his previous loss was in 2013 when his skills were still at a low level. But since then, the competition has been overpowered and outperformed. Usman’s criticism stems from his inability to finish fights, but just look at the killer’s row he’s faced and still dominated through sheer strength and skill. I think it’s time we cut Usman some slack and understand he’s heading towards a legendary legacy.

Gilbert Burns (19-3-0)

Gilbert’ Durinho’ Burns, a three-time World Champion grappler, grappling World Cup Gold medallist, and current #1 contender for the UFC welterweight title. Post International grappling success, mixed martial arts led the Brazilian to the interest of the UFC. His professional career (7-0) all began with stoppages inside the first round, so it was no surprise when Dana White came calling.

The constant activity in the welterweight division has gifted Burns with a vast amount of experience during his six years at the company; currently, 12-3 and riding a six-fight win streak has earned him the right to finally compete for UFC gold – the final piece of silverware he desires.

Usman vs. Burns Fight Preview

The approach to each fighter’s game plan will be interesting; they both hold the advantage of knowing each other’s flaws from training sessions. But this also makes the fight a difficult one to predict.

Kamaru Usman has often steered towards his top-heavy grappling offense, whether that be control against the cage or complete takedowns and suffocation from the pressure. Can the Nigerian maintain this momentum with a World champion Jiu-Jitsu specialist underneath him?

Gilbert Burns’s ground abilities are apparent, but I think his movement on the feet and speed could rack up some points throughout the twenty-five-minute fight.

Predicting the outcome is tough, but I anticipate both men having the hesitation and toughness to avoid getting knocked out or submitted in this contest. Competing against your trainer partner will have its advantages and disadvantages, and the one weakness I envision is the capability to finish the fight inside the distance.

The oddsmakers are offering some great value on this fight to reach the judge’s scorecards. And considering the history of Usman contests, I am surprised we do not see a decrease in this price. Grab It now before it is gone.

Over 4 ½ rounds @ -125 with William Hill

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