UFC 258 Preview: Kamaru Usman – Gilbert Burns

Daniel Cunningham
Dec 14, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kamaru Usman (red gloves) reacts before a bout against Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC 258, we will finally get to see the highly anticipated welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman (17-1) and Gilbert Burns (19-3). The former teammates are on a collision course to prove who’s the best welterweight in the UFC.

Kamaru Usman truly lives up to his nickname inside the octagon. The Nigerian Nightmare has terrorized the welterweight division since making his UFC debut back in 2015. Usman is a perfect 12-0 inside the octagon.

Outside of Colby Covington, nobody has even been competitive with Kamaru Usman inside the octagon. Between his pressure, his strength, and his elite grappling control, nobody has been able to stop The Nigerian Nightmare.

At UFC 258, Usman will be going for his third title defense in the welterweight division. His opponent is going to be an extremely familiar face. Gilbert Burns was one of Kamaru Usman’s teammates and lead training partners for years.

The two men helped each other sharpen their skills outside of the cage. Burns was originally a lightweight in the UFC, but he struggled there. Since moving to welterweight, he’s looked like an absolute killer.

Burns is riding a six-fight winning streak heading into UFC 258. He is a world champion in BJJ and he has incredibly fast hands. Combine that with his power and you have someone poised to give Kamaru Usman his biggest challenge yet.

UFC 258 Prediction

This fight is so incredibly fascinating. First and foremost, you have the styles of the two men. If you were going to draw up a perfect opponent stylistically to beat Kamaru Usman, it’d be Gilbert Burns.

However, the UFC champion does things that can give Burns a lot of trouble inside the octagon. One of those being his control along the fence. At times, we’ve seen Burns struggle against guys who can press him against the fence and hold him there.

Kamaru Usman is the best in the division when it comes to clinch control. If Usman gets Burns along the fence and Burns can’t get him off, it could be a long night for the challenger. However, if Usman cannot maintain control over Burns, it could be a long night for the champion.

I’m so torn on the UFC 258 main event. I give the wrestling and the strength advantages to Usman. However, I give the striking and the pure grappling advantages to Gilbert Burns. This fight is truly a 50/50 fight in my opinion.

In my bold UFC predictions for 2021, I predicted that Gilbert Burns would be the welterweight champion. I feel like I can’t go back on that now. While I won’t be shocked at all to see Usman win, I’m going with the underdog here to become the new UFC welterweight champion.

Prediction: Gilbert Burns by Unanimous Decision