The Nigerian Nightmare returns
This weekend the headline fight at UFC® 258: USMAN VS BURNS may rewrite the history books, as Kamaru Usman looks to defend his title against Gilbert Burns in the welterweight division this weekend in Las Vegas.
Usman comes into this match having notched 12 consecutive UFC bout wins, the longest active streak in the UFC. A win in this bout would put him ahead of Georges St-Piers (also 12 wins) as having the longest win streak in UFC Welterweight history. His most recent victory came by unanimous decision over Jorge Masvidal, and in December 2019 he recorded a comprehensive victory over Colby Covington, winning via strikes in the fourth round. The current welterweight champion has only surrendered a total of two seconds of bottom position time in 12 UFC bouts, the second smallest bottom position time in UFC history.
Coming into this as the No.2 contender, Gilbert Burns will fancy his chances of competing with Usman. Burns has won eight of his nine last bouts, including winning his last six coming into this one. He has the lowest strike absorption rate among active welterweights, which allows him to control his bouts by staying out of harms way. He is a grappling specialist, recording eight career wins by submission, five of which were by his notorious armbar.
Back to the Future
The excitement continues in the co-main event with two top 15 flyweight contenders completing to get their name into the title window as Maycee Barber takes on Alexa Grasso.
After the first defeat of her professional career, Maycee Barber will be looking to bounce back. Having won five bouts by TKO and three via submission, Barber has shown her versality throughout her professional career. She won her first three bouts in the Octagon via strikes, and her only UFC defeat came by decision.
With three of her four knockout victories ending in 36 seconds or less, Alexa Grosso can be explosive. She had a successful time completing in jiu-jitsu, winning multiple national and regional titles before making the transition to MMA. She’s won three of her last five bouts and holds a 4-3 record. If she doesn’t get an early knockout expect her to go the distance, as eight of her career wins have come by decisions.
A storm brewing
Also, on the main card, two middleweight contenders are looking to claim American supremacy, as Ian Heinsich and Kelvin Gastelum go head-to-head in Las Vegas.
Kelvin Gastelum is looking to gain his first victory of 2021. He has seven career wins by TKO and four by submission, and he is at his best when he starts quickly, recording six first round finishes. He will need to start quickly to gain control of the contest and will be looking for a victory to propel himself back up the middleweight division.
Winning his last bout via TKO in the first round over Gerald Meerschaert in June last year will leave Ian Heinsich determined to keep the positive momentum going. He has won six of his last eight bouts and holds a 14-3 professional record heading into this bout. He also has six career first round finishes and has five wins by TKO and two by submission. These two are very similar in build, but Heinsich will try to take advantage of his slight reach advantage