UFC 258 Preview: Usman vs. Burns

By Nick DiNisco

Date: Saturday, February 13

Location: The UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV

Time: Prelims begin at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+, Main Card begins at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV

In the first PPV event since the stacked card at UFC 257, Kamaru Usman (17-1-0) will defend his title against former teammate and #1 challenger, Gilbert Burns (19-3-0). These two will finally stand opposite each other with the Welterweight (170 lbs) belt up for grabs. 

Usman is undefeated in the UFC, while successfully defending his title last summer against Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal had stepped in on short notice for Gilbert Burns, who unfortunately contracted COVID-19 the week of the fight. Usman won by decision against Masvidal in an invigorating main event. After the UFC 258 main event was made official, Kamaru relocated to Colorado to work with Trevor Wittman, popularly known as Justin Gaethje’s head coach, to potentially change and/or learn new styles of striking and grappling prior to Saturday night. 

Gilbert Burns’ climb to the top of the division started in August of 2019, the first fight for Gilbert in the Welterweight division. After defeating his first two opponents, Burns focused his attention on fellow brazilian fighter, Demian Maia. Burns made quick work of Maia as he recorded a KO/TKO in the first round. With his popularity growing, Gilbert was set to fight Tyron Woodley in a Welterweight main event. Burns put on a masterpiece performance against Woodley and won by unanimous decision and cemented his name as the #1 contender. 

With Usman and Burns being former teammates and training partners, it makes for an interesting narrative for UFC 258. Both fighters are familiar with each other’s fighting styles, which will make for interesting defensive game plans. While both men are known for their grappling talents, each other’s standup game has vastly improved over their last handful of fights. 

Both fighters have been looking forward to this date for some time now, as their first two scheduled bouts were pushed. This will be a very intriguing fight with a lot of storylines. This clash of the two best welterweights will only be the beginning of what should be an exciting year of championship fights. 

Sideline Selection

Kamaru Usman is the heavy favorite coming into the fight because of his past results at defending the belt and the experience he has under the lights. This is Burns’ second fight occurring under the lights. I believe there is a lot of value on Gilbert Burns for this fight as I see it as more of a balanced fight then Vegas oddsmakers see it. With that being said, I have Gilbert Burns by decision in what many will see as a stunning victory. 

Official Las Vegas Odds (via DraftKings):

Kamaru Usman -278

Gilbert Burns +220

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