Former Teammates Set to Fight for Welterweight Title in UFC 258 Main Event

Louis Saulnier

The Welterweight Championship is on the line in the main event of this Saturday’s UFC 258. Current champion Kamaru Usman will try to extend his win streak to 17 when he takes on title challenger Gilbert Burns who will be making his sixteenth appearance in the UFC octagon.

As with all UFC cards for the foreseeable future, the PPV event will be taking place at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

UFC 258 Event Details

  • Event: UFC 258: Usman vs Burns
  • Date: Saturday, February 13th, 2021
  • Time: Early Prelims (6:30 pm ET), Prelims (8:00 pm ET), Main Card (10:00 pm ET)
  • Venue: UFC APEX
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

All odds listed are as per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Kamaru Usman (-290) vs Gilbert Burns (+225)

The UFC Welterweight Champion is a sizable favorite in what will be his third attempted defense of his title. “The Nigerian Nightmare” has just one loss on his professional record and it came in just his second fight back in May of 2013. Since then, he has won sixteen straight fights including twelve straight inside the UFC. He’s cruised through most of his competition, outside of a tough fight with Colby Covington in which he still found the TKO finish in the final minute, but this time he’s taking on a former teammate in Gilbert Burns.

Burns and Usman trained together for the better part of eight years before Usman decided to switch teams and begin training with coach Trevor Wittman. This means these two fighters know each other extremely well and will be prepared for what the other offers when they finally meet in the center of the octagon.

Burns enters the contest on a six-fight win streak including a victory over former champion and common opponent Tyron Woodley in May of last year. The two fighters also have a common opponent in Damian Maia. Usman defeated Maia via unanimous decision in 2018 while Burns boasts a 1st round TKO over the Brazilian in March of last year.

Best Bet: Gilbert Burns +225

If you put any value into their time together as training partners, Gilbert Burns has fantastic value at +225. While it hasn’t been confirmed by either fighter, the rumor circulating the MMA world is that Burns got the better of Usman when they would spar together.

If you don’t think fighting an opponent who you’ve sparred with in the past plays a role in how the fight turns out, Daniel Cormier would strongly disagree. He spoke on the idea this week during his show with Ariel Helwani and he made the case that both fighters “know” how it will turn out on Saturday night.

While handicapping based on rumors and heresy is never recommended, it’s hard to pass up on the value of a +225 underdog especially when you consider Gilbert Burns abilities in the grappling department. Burns is a multiple time IBJJF jiu-jitsu world champion in both gi and no-gi competitions. Usman’s usual grappling advantage he has over his opponents could be nullified by Burns’ ability on the ground.

There’s a lot to love betting on Gilbert Burns at +225.

Maycee Barber (+110) vs Alexa Grasso (-134)

A tilt between the No. 10 and No. 15 ranked women’s flyweight fighters is scheduled for the UFC 258 co-main event. Yes, it’s not exactly the most exciting matchup for a PPV event but there may at least be an opportunity to make some money on it.

Barber was a highly touted prospect in the women’s division before being upset as a -1000 favorite against Roxanne Modafferi last year. A big part of the upset loss was a knee injury that kept Barber sidelined for a year. She’ll look to get back on track as she was on a tear through the women’s flyweight division before the loss, getting three-straight TKO finishes before facing Modafferi.

Alexa Grasso will look to get on her first win-streak since entering the organization. She’s been on a “win one lose one” streak since signing with the promotion in 2016. Her most recent fight was a decision victory over Ji Yeon Kim. She’s 4-2 in the UFC when set as the betting favorite.

Best bet: Maycee Barber +110

Before looking at any statistics, it seems insane to set Barber as the underdog considering these two women’s careers. Barber has finished her opponent in seven of her eight wins, an almost unheard-of feat in the women’s divisions. She was deserving of being a -1000 favorite in her last fight but after losing largely due to a knee injury during the first round she’s all of a sudden an underdog in her next bout?

Grasso certainly has impressive abilities but she’s a step down from the best competition in the weight class and her record reflects that fact.

Barber averages an astounding 6.02 significant strikes per minute, hitting at an accurate rate of 60%. Her wrestling ability was slightly exposed in her bout against Modafferi but Grasso isn’t exactly known for her wrestling ability as she averages just 0.32 takedowns per 15 minutes and has a takedown accuracy of 40%.

Barber is a fantastic underdog bet in the UFC co-main event.

Kelvin Gastelum (-220) vs Ian Heinisch ( +176)

The former Ultimate Fighter winner, Kelvin Gestelum, will look to get back in the win column on Saturday after dropping three straight fights. He’ll be facing some easier competition this time around as his recent opponents have been against some of the best fighters in the division including current Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Ian Heinisch will try to climb the UFC Middleweight rankings himself after recently making his rankings debut at No. 15 in the division. His most recent win was a 1st round TKO against Gerald Meerschaert at UFC 250.

Best Bet: Kelvin Gastelum -220

Let’s not over think this one. There are better spots on the fight card to take a shot on the underdog, this is not one of those fights. This is a classic “get right” spot that the promotion likes to award their top fighters after coming out on the wrong side of a murderers row of competition.

Heinisch has had issues in the past with strikers who can also defend the takedown including his two most recent losses against Omari Akhmedov and Derek Brunson. Gastelum offers a similar but better skillset than those two fighters. A path to victory for Heinisch is hard to imagine.

Louis Saulnier
Louis Saulnier