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UFC 258: Usman vs Burns - Feb 13 🇺🇸


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On Saturday 13th February at the APEX in Las Vegas, the UFC returns to PPV with this lot. 


Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns - Welterweight Title

Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso 

Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch

Julian Marquez vs Maki Pitolo

Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher 

Rodolfo Vieira vs Anthony Hernandez

Belal Muhammad vs Dhiego Lima

Polyana Viana vs Mallory Martin

Andre Ewell vs Chris Gutierrez

Gabriel Green vs Phil Rowe


As always, this isn’t the final bout order. I doubt it’s even the final card. There’ll probably be a few more fights added yet but I thought I’d get the thread up now as it’s only a few weeks away. Not the strongest PPV but I love that main event and, like I said, there’s probably still some stuff to be added. I hope so anyway.




Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns tops the bill and what a fight it should be. Can’t wait for this. Well, I say that but I have been waiting for it for the best part of a year now. This was supposed to have happened already. It was all set to headline UFC 251 in July.


It was shaping up to be a hell of a fight but Burns got COVID and had to withdraw. Jorge Masvidal stepped in and got outworked and footstomped to a lopsided decision loss and it was beautiful. The timing sucked big time for Burns though. He was riding a real wave of momentum, coming off 6 wins in a row. He beat Gunnar Nelson, he stopped Demian Maia in a round, then in May he utterly dominated Tyron Woodley to a 50-45 shutout.


But COVID took him out of commission before he could get his title shot and the division rolled on. I’m so glad they’ve stuck with this matchup though. There’s been all kinds of silly talk when it comes to the Welterweight division over the last year or so. The rumours of Conor McGregor moving up to 170, people trying to rush Khamzat Chimaev into the title mix, Jorge Masvidal thinks he deserves another shot, there’s been talk of Nick Diaz making a return, the GSP rumours are never ending. It goes on and on. Then there’s Leon Edwards, Colby Covington and Wonderboy Thompson who are in the conversation on merit. But this is the fight that makes sense and Burns is the most deserving of the shot at the gold.


Usman’s going to be a difficult man to knock off the throne though. He’s 17-1, on a 16 fight win streak, hasn’t lost in over 7 years and he’s barely dropped a round while beating the likes of Leon Edwards, Demian Maia, Rafael Dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley and Jorge Masvidal. And his win over Covington was not only a great fight, it was easily one of the most satisfying to watch ever for me as well. Maybe second only to Lesnar vs Mir 2.



Never gets old.

This is some fight. I’d have to favour Usman. How can you not? I genuinely think he’s one of the very best fighters on the planet at the moment, regardless of weight class. His wrestling is obviously the foundation everything else is built on but he’s formidable all-round, his cardio and pace is insane, he fights intelligently and I think he’s a bit underrated in the striking as well. Burns is a handful for anyone and if it hits the ground there’s few in MMA who can live with him in the grappling. We’re talking about a BJJ world champion and 2nd degree black-belt here. And on the feet he’s shown he can crack too. You’re not safe anywhere fighting Gilbert Burns. That mix of legitimate world class Jiu-Jitsu and knockout power is some combo. And like Usman in the standup, I think Burns’ takedowns are kind of slept on. He’s not a typical ‘BJJ guy’ with no wrestling like we saw in the early days with the Gracies.

Another interesting twist here is that they’re friends and they’ve trained together a fair bit in the past;



They were teammates under Henri Hooft going back to the Blackzilians days. They know each other and what they’re up against very well. That always adds an extra layer of intrigue. Especially in a high level clash like this. Usman is training with Justin Gaethje under Trevor Wittman for this fight from what I’m reading.

In the end I’m fancying Usman to retain. It pains me to admit it but I think if anyone at 170 poses a real serious threat of taking the belt from him at the moment it’s still Covington. People forget but that fight was neck and neck until Usman turned his jaw to dust. But aside from that, I think Burns has a skillset to test Usman more than most in the division. It’s certainly a much better fight on paper than Usman vs Masvidal ever was. Only crap thing about this is one has to lose, which is a shame because it’s been nice to watch both of them rise through the ranks. And for one of them that’s about to come to a halt. Great, great fight though.



Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso. This could be fun. Barber is usually in exciting fights because she’s so aggressive. I’m still not 100% sold on her but she’s still only 22 years old and clearly has potential and room to improve. She’s coming off a points loss to Roxanne Modafferi a year ago but she was 8-0 with 7 finishes before that. Grasso has been great to watch so far. One of the more consistently exciting women fighters on the roster. She even dragged Carla Esparza to a cracking fight that got FOTN in 2019. She’s had really good scraps with Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Randa Markos as well. Bit of a hot and cold UFC run in terms of wins and losses but she’s ace. These two should match up for a lively one. Barber goes for it and Grasso will happily meet her head on.



Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch. Interesting one this. Just don’t know what we’re getting with Gastelum at this point. He hasn’t looked at the races at all since that epic battle with Israel Adesanya back in April 2019. Since then he’s gone 0-2, looked flat against Darren Till then got heel hooked in a minute by Jack Hermansson. He’s still not even 30 yet, I don’t want to write him off by any means. It’s not like Till and Hermansson are bums. But another loss here would be 4 on the bounce for Gastelum. And with these much talked about roster cuts looming, it’s the worst time to be on a losing streak. This is a slight step down in opposition but still a tough one. Heinisch is no mug. He’s 14-3 and coming off a quick TKO over UKFF favourite Gerald Meerschaert in June. He’s also got Octagon wins over Antonio Carlos Junior and Cezar Ferreira.



Julian Marquez vs Maki Pitolo should be enjoyable enough. Marquez was considered a bit of a hot prospect at one point. He burst into the UFC in 2017 with an absolute corker of a debut against Darren Stewart. A real forgotten gem. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to fire up the old Fight Pass and give it a look. Marquez won but then lost his next fight against Alessio Di Chirico and hasn’t been seen since. That was 2018. He’s 7-2, all his wins via finish and he also has a headkick KO over Phil Hawes (who scored a big knockout on the Khabib-Gaethje undercard recently) and a first round stoppage over a shot Matt Hamill. He’s still got some potential but a 2+ year layoff is no joke. Pitolo is a tough little Hawaiian with a record of 13-7 and 10 finishes. No world beater and he’s coming into this fight off the back of 2 consecutive losses but he’s a scrapper and pretty entertaining to watch as far as I recall. Should be a good opponent for Marquez to return against.



Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher. Let’s try it again. I feel like I’ve previewed this fight about 27 times already. They booked it a bunch of times in 2020 but no joy. Hopefully it actually happens this time because it’s a cracking fight. Could well see these two getting some bonus money. Kelleher always brings it and Simon doesn’t exactly shy away from a scrap himself. Simon’s probably mostly known as the guy who got stopped by old man Urijah Faber in seconds but he’s better than that. His performance against Rani Yahya probably stands out as his best to me. He looked a bit of a force in that one, especially considering how experienced and crafty Yahya is. Simon just fought on the Chiesa vs Magny card, subbed Gaetano Pirrello then called out Kelleher to settle their unfinished business. Glad they’ve rebooked it. Kelleher’s never going to be a top contender but he’s game as fuck and usually good for an exciting fight. He’s beat Julio Arce twice, submitted BJJ black-belt Iuri Alcantara in his UFC debut (quite an upset at the time), beat Renan Barao, almost went the distance with John Lineker which is an achievement in itself. He’s great to watch. Should be a good one this.



Rodolfo Vieira vs Anthony Hernandez. This should be well worth a look. Vieira looks the business so far. He’s a real grappling beast. 4 time BJJ world champion, 7 time BJJ World Cup champion, ADCC champion. His grappling victories include names Bellator fans will recognise like Rafael Lovato Jr, Benson Henderson and AJ Agazarm and he also holds wins over BJJ masters Keenan Cornelius, Buchecha Almeida, Xande Ribeiro and Braulio Estima. Basically, he’s a fucking animal on the mat. In 2017 he switched over to MMA and he’s gone 7-0 with 7 finishes. He’s submitted Oskar Piechota and Saparbek Safarov so far in the UFC. Hernandez is a decent enough next test but one I’d expect Vieira to pass without too much hassle. He’s 7-2-0-1 and coming off a quick stoppage loss against Kevin Holland in May.



Belal Muhammad vs Dhiego Lima. This was meant to go down on the Wonderboy vs Neal card in December but Muhammad got struck down with COVID. It’s an OK filler fight, nothing more. I like Muhammad. He’s had a couple of really fun fights on the undercards over the years plus he seems a real cool guy on Twitter and stuff. Slightly underrated as well, IMO. He’s coming off 3 very solid wins over Lyman Good, Takashi Sato and Curtis Millender and also holds wins over Tim Means, Jordan Mein and Randy Brown. It’s Lima I’m indifferent to here. Just never really rated him. Seems a nice enough guy and he’s on a decent little 3 fight streak himself but I’ve just never got into his fights. Doesn’t help that he’s always being compared to his brother either. Bellator definitely got the better half of the Lima brothers.



Polyana Viana vs Mallory Martin. It’s a nothing fight really. I’ve liked Viana for a while and not just because she’s fit. Ever since that story came out about some twat trying to mug her in Brazil and she battered him, I’ve been a fan. She’s had her ups and downs but she’s definitely got the raw skills. She’s 11-4 now with all her wins coming inside the distance. She armbarred Emily Whitmire in 2 minutes in her last fight, snapping a 3 fight losing streak. She also scored a first round knockout victory over Amanda Ribas back in 2015. To date, she’s still the only woman to beat Ribas. So she’s had her moments. She just hasn’t been able to find any real consistency. Don’t recall seeing Mallory Martin fight before. She’s 7-3, a BJJ brown-belt and she’s coming off a submission over Hannah Cifers in August.



Gabriel Green vs Phil Rowe. Dunno. I don’t recall seeing either of these two fight before. Green’s 27 years old, 9-3, all finishes. He made his UFC debut against Daniel Rodriguez in May and lost on points. Rodriguez is a bit of a finisher so Green going the distance with him is a testament to his durability at least. Rowe is 30 from New York and nicknamed ‘The Fresh Prince’. 7-2 record, all finishes. He fought on Dana’s Contender Series in August and got a TKO over Leon Shahbazyan, the older brother of UFC Middleweight standout Edmen.


That’s your lot for now. I’ll edit as and when for additions and the inevitable pullouts and changes and all that cack. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Well colour me excited for this one, With all the hype that went into their last build before it fell apart at the very last minute. You started to get excited and look at Burns as a true contender and I was hyped for it (Obviously I'm a huge Masvidal fan so what ended up going down made me even happier until the cage door closed) After seeing Usman do what he did to Masvidal I think this has made Usman look even harder to beat and dethrone so this will be a really fun one. 

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17 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Course it has. I think we’re back in Vegas for this. Wasn’t the strongest co-main event in the first place but this card really can’t afford to be losing fights. Hopefully they can get something else in that spot.

Yeah Dana said in the last press conference that they will try and return to Fight Island in June/July which was quite upsetting as the Vegas shows obviously have no crowds and the fights tend to fall apart more frequently.

Shame to lose the co-main, I predict Kelvin vs Henisch being bumped to the co-main spot and Belul and Lima getting bumped to the main card.

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What a shitter Like it's been said above it seems like the curse of the APEX cards strikes again. While it wasn't the biggest co-main I do think they need to have a strong enough co-main after what happened with the Usman vs Masvidal main event it was commented by alot of people that Usman's draw will have been hurt by the way he went in there against Jorge. 

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10 hours ago, Zebra Kid Mark said:

Shame to lose the co-main, I predict Kelvin vs Henisch being bumped to the co-main spot and Belul and Lima getting bumped to the main card.

They’re shuffling some fights around at the moment. Rozenstruik vs Gane is now headlining the Fight Night on Feb 27th so I’m hoping Reyes vs Prochazka gets moved into the co-main spot here. That would actually be an improvement on the original Hall vs Weidman 2 fight. We’ll see. I hope they don’t just whack Gastelum vs Heinisch in that slot. It’s a good fight but it’s weak as piss for a PPV co-headliner.

It’s a different kettle of fish to the 257 card. Like we said at the time, that one could’ve had a dog shit undercard and still would’ve drawn because of Conor McGregor. So it wouldn’t have been worth them loading up the undercard. A card like this needs beefing up a bit though. I fucking love Usman vs Burns. Purely as a fight I’m looking forward to that more than I was Poirier vs McGregor 2. But neither are smashing the box office so you’d think they’ll scramble to get a good co-main on there. If Chandler vs Hooker fell apart 2 weeks before 257, they probably wouldn’t have bothered replacing it because the show does just as well without it. On a card like this though, they can’t really afford to lose the co-main. I’m really hoping it’s Reyes vs Jiri.

On a lesser note, Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher got rescheduled and added to this card. Not a big fight or anything but a really fun one and it does give a little bit of a boost to the undercard. 

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  • wandshogun09 changed the title to UFC 258: Usman vs Burns - Feb 13 🇺🇸

"Along with news of the offer, AG Fight also reports that Oliveira has declined the bout. Not because he wants more time to prepare, but because he’s solely focused on getting his shot at UFC gold next time he returns to the cage. At the moment, it appears that any path to the title will likely lead through Dustin Poirier—coming off his massive KO of Conor McGregor back on January 24th."

Edited by jimufctna24
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