Maycee Barber drops her second straight to Alexa Grasso at UFC 258

The co-main event of UFC 258 featured a big time matchup in the women’s flyweight division. Top prospect, Maycee Barber (8-1), was making her return against the tough, Alexa Grasso (12-3).

Maycee Barber was the talk of the UFC after her first few fights resulted in finishes. She was aiming to become the youngest champion in UFC history, however, those plans were derailed in her last fight.

Barber tore her ACL mid-fight and she was beaten decisively by Roxanne Modafferi. It was a humbling fight for the rising contender, but Barber insisted that she is back and better than ever. She had a tough test in front of her in Alexa Grasso.

Grasso spent the majority of her career at strawweight but she’s found comfort in the UFC‘s flyweight division. Grasso is coming off of a decision win over Ji Yeon Kim in August and she was ready to make a statement against Barber at UFC 258.

UFC 258 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 258 co-main event got underway with a lot of feints from Barber. A big inside leg kick lands for Barber, but Grasso looked very composed. The two come together and Barber presses Grasso against the fence.

However, Grasso was able to reverse the position and force a break. The two went back to striking with three minutes left in the round. Grasso landed a nasty combination from the outside as Barber attempted to come in.

Barber shot in with a sloppy takedown attempt that Grasso easily defended. However, Barber was able to press Grasso against the fence. Grasso defended well and pushed Barber against the fence. A couple of clean elbows land by Grasso, but Barber reverses.

These two flyweights kept exchanging controlling positions along the fence. A massive elbow lands for Barber on the break that backs Grasso up. Grasso lands some clean shots from the outside, but Barber landed some big shots too. Good opening round at UFC 258 for Alexa Grasso.

Round 2

The second round at UFC 258 with pressure from Barber. Barber was throwing a lot of feints, but they were so far away that they weren’t even coming close. Grasso comes in with a crisp combination that backs Barber up.

The striking of Alexa Grasso looks incredible. Grasso steps forward and she rocks Maycee Barber with a couple of big shots. However, Barber was able to force a clinch which allowed her to regain her composure.

Barber lands a nice elbow long the fence, but Grasso landed good shots of her own. A big knee to the body lands for Maycee Barber. However, Grasso used that to break the clinch. A big left and right hand lands for Barber, but Grasso just ate them.

A nice leg kick lands for Grasso. Barber caught the next kick and used it to take Grasso down. However, Grasso used an armbar to reverse the position. Grasso then got the top position and tried to lock in a choke. Beautiful ground work for Alexa Grasso. 2-0 Grasso at UFC 258.

Round 3

Going into the final round at UFC 258 and Maycee Barber needs a finish in this one. Barber pushed forward looking for a headkick early, but Grasso looked so composed as she blocked. A ton of confidence from Alexa Grasso.

One minute into the round and nothing has landed by Maycee Barber. Barber pushed forward but ate a couple of clean shots for her trouble. The two come together and Grasso pushed Barber up against the fence.

A couple of big knees to the body land for Alexa Grasso. However, Barber lands a takedown. Barber lands some big shots on the ground, but Grasso gets back up. Barber pushed forward with massive power shots.

Grasso looked a little overwhelmed during the storm from Maycee Barber. Another clinch and Grasso gets control. However, Barber reverses the position. A big elbow over the top lands from Maycee Barber.

One minute left and Barber is running out of time. Grasso reversed the position and was holding Barber along the fence. The two break and Barber was swinging with everything she had. A big final round for Barber, but Alexa Grasso should get the win at UFC 258.

Alexa Grasso def. Maycee Barber by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Kelvin Gastelum grinds out decision over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258

A big middleweight matchup was featured on the main card of UFC 258. Former interim title challenger and Ultimate Fighter winner, Kelvin Gastelum (15-6), took on the rising contender, Ian Heinisch (14-3).

This fight was a huge crossroads fight for both men. For Gastelum, he walked to the cage tonight carrying a three-fight losing streak. Just a couple of years ago, Gastelum was looked at as one of the best middleweights in the UFC.

However, many have soured on Gastelum after his last few performances. He needed a win in the worst way tonight, but it wouldn’t be easy. Ian Heinisch is a very promising contender in the middleweight division.

Heinisch was introduced to the UFC fans through Dana White’s Contender Series. Between his skills and his backstory, there is plenty of reason to root for Heinisch. He was looking to pickup the biggest win of his career at UFC 258.

UFC 258 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 258 middleweight contest got underway with a big leg kick for Heinisch. Heinisch then landed another leg kick before shooting in for his first takedown. Gastelum defended well and used a scramble to get back to his feet.

Gastelum pressed Heinisch up against the fence, but Heinisch attacked a kimura. It looked tight, but Gastelum defended well and was able to break the hold. Another scramble saw Gastelum get the back of Heinisch.

Gastelum went for a takedown of his own along the fence, but Heinisch attacked the kimura again. However, Gastelum wound up getting the mount and he broke the hold. Heinisch was able to buck out of the mount and the two went back to striking.

A big leg kick for Gastelum lands and Heinisch was breathing heavy. Gastelum pushed forward then forced a clinch along the fence. Gastelum landed a couple of takedowns, but Heinisch did a good job of getting back up. It’s 1-0 Gastelum after one at UFC 258.

Round 2

Heinisch looked like he was feeling the moment of UFC 258 before the second round started. A lot of deep breaths coming from Heinisch as the action resumed. Gastelum opened the striking with a big leg kick, but Heinisch countered with a big right hand.

Heinisch shot in for a takedown, but Gastelum easily shrugged him off. Heinisch lands a big flying knee but Gastelum just ate it and took Heinisch down. Gastelum worked his way to Heinisch’s back, but Heinisch was able to get back up.

The two resumed striking halfway through the round. Gastelum moved forward with heavy pressure and forced another clinch along the fence. A scramble broke the two up. Heinisch kept looking for a high kick, but it was hitting all arms.

Gastelum shot in for a takedown of his own, but Heinisch defended well. Heinisch was breathing very heavy as he march forward. A massive body kick lands for Heinisch. Just before the round ended, Gastelum forced another clinch along the fence. 2-0 Gastelum at UFC 258.

Round 3

Heading into the final round at UFC 258 and Ian Heinisch is going to need a finish in this one. Gastelum opened the striking with a leg kick. Heinisch steps forward with a big elbow that lands clean. He followed it with a takedown, but Gastelum forced a scramble to get back up.

Heinisch kept looking for big kicks in the third round. Gastelum steps forward with a beautiful combination and Heinisch backed up to the fence. After a quick reset, Heinisch launched with another flying knee.

However, just like in the second round, Gastelum used that to get a takedown. Heinisch hits a beautiful reversal and gets the back of Kelvin Gastelum. He’s got the hooks in and he started looking for the choke.

Heinisch tried to get the front mount, but Gastelum countered well and got back to his feet. A big left hand lands for Gastelum and Heinisch shoots in for a takedown. Both men looked fatigued in the final seconds. Heinisch gets another takedown, but can’t keep Gastelum there.

Gastelum gets back up and lands a takedown of his own as the bell sounds. The last round was close, but Kelvin Gastelum should get the decision at UFC 258.

Kevin Gastelum def. Ian Heinisch by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

UFC 258 Preview: Kelvin Gastelum – Ian Heinisch

A big matchup in the middleweight division goes down tomorrow night at UFC 258. Former title challenger and Ultimate Fighter winner, Kelvin Gastelum (15-6), will be taking on Ian Heinisch (14-3).

Both men will make the walk at UFC 258 with a ranking by their name. For Ian Heinisch, he’s coming in at 15th. Heinisch was first introduced to the fans on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018.

The Hurricane earned himself a UFC contract with a knockout victory. From there, he would go on to have two impressive wins inside the octagon. That’s when the UFC gave him Derek Brunson. Brunson was able to show that Heinisch still had a ways to go in his career.

After Heinisch lost to Brunson, he dropped a fight to Omari Akhmedov. Heinisch decided to take some time before his next fight and really focus on his standup. It showed in his last fight when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert. However, he is taking another big step up in competition at UFC 258.

Entering 2019, Kelvin Gastelum was looked at as one of the best middleweights in the UFC. He was actually set to take on Robert Whittaker for the title before Whittaker had to be out for a significant amount of time. Gastelum ended up fighting Israel Adesanya for the interim title.

While Adesanya won, Gastelum looked very good and gave Izzy the fight of his life. However, after that fight, Gastelum has lost back-to-back fights. He’s in desperate need of a win tomorrow to avoid his fourth straight loss in the UFC.

UFC 258 Prediction

This matchup at UFC 258 is truly a crossroads matchup. In this fight, Gastelum will either get back on track or Heinisch will continue to ascend in the middleweight division. This fight has big implications for the division.

For Kelvin Gastelum, I think he needs to keep the fight at range tomorrow night. When Gastelum is on, we’ve seen him show off incredible striking and footwork. His boxing is extremely crisp when he’s on. He also has dynamite in his hands.

Heinisch needs to mix things up tomorrow to be successful. He needs to really work the low leg kicks and mix in some takedown attempts to keep Gastelum guessing. If Heinisch is able to take Gastelum down, he needs to keep wrestling him to win at UFC 258.

While many people are down on Kelvin Gastelum, I still believe he can be one of the best in the world. I think he’s going to have that turnaround performance he needs tomorrow. I’m expecting him to be sharp and land what’s needed to end his UFC losing streak.

Prediction: Kelvin Gastelum by Unanimous Decision

UFC: Bobby Green – Jim Miller called off

UFC 258 has lost it’s second main card fight this week. The promotion announced this evening that the lightweight matchup between Bobby Green (27-11-1) and Jim Miller (32-15, 1 NC) has been called off.

As mentioned, this is the second main card fight to be scrapped this week for UFC 258. Earlier in the week, the highly anticipated bantamweight clash between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera was called off. That fight was scrapped due to a positive COVID test.

There were some signs of doubts for this matchup that developed earlier today. 23 of the 24 scheduled fighters made the walk to the scale earlier today with very few issues. However, Bobby Green was the last one to weigh-in for UFC 258.

This fight between Miller and Green was put together just a few weeks ago and it appeared that Green had trouble cutting weight. Ultimately when Green stepped on the scale, he weighed in at 156 pounds and the fight was on.

However, questions started forming when Green and Miller didn’t appear for the post weigh-in staredowns. Dana White announced that Bobby Green had collapsed in the back and doctors were taking a look at him. The UFC 258 matchup was then in serious danger.

What’s next for the UFC?

A couple of hours after that incident, the UFC announced that Green was not cleared to fight. The fight has been called off after Green collapsed backstage after an extremely difficult weight cut.

Again, I feel like the short-notice nature of this fight played a role in the weight cut. However, we don’t and probably won’t know what exactly happened. At this time, there has not been any word on if the UFC will try to remake this fight.

With Green and Miller off the main card, Ricky Simon (17-3) and Brian Kelleher (22-11) has been promoted to the UFC 258 main card. This fight should be very entertaining and is a solid choice to replace the Miller-Green matchup.

UFC 258 Preview: Belal Muhammad – Dhiego Lima

One of the fights that’s flying under the radar at UFC 258 is the welterweight matchup between Belal Muhammad (17-3) and Dhiego Lima (15-7). Muhammad will make the walk tomorrow night ranked 13th in the UFC‘s welterweight rankings.

When this fight was originally booked, I have to say that I was a bit surprised. Sure, Dhiego Lima has won three in a row, but I figured Belal Muhammad would get a ranked opponent. However, that was not the case.

Muhammad is 8-2 in his last ten fights in the UFC after losing his debut. He’s got very good wrestling and he mixes that with some unorthodox but effective boxing. In his last three wins, Muhammad has shown off just how good he can be when he gets his hands on you.

He’s faced three good strikers in a row, but nobody had an answer for the wrestling of Muhammad. The only guys who have defeated Muhammad have been Geoff Neal, Vicente Luque, and Alan Jouban. All three have great striking and could defend the takedown.

The blueprint is there at UFC 258 for Dhiego Lima. The Ultimate Fighter runner-up comes into this contest on a three-fight win streak. However, this is the first action for Lima since late 2019.

Between injuries and a COVID cancellation, it’s been some time since we’ve seen Lima compete. Lima has very good power in his hands and his striking is very good. However, this fight is going to come down to his grappling defense.

UFC 258 Prediction

When sizing up this matchup at UFC 258, you have to look at the styles of these two welterweights. When you do that, it’s pretty easy to see what the game plan will be for both of these fighters.

For Dhiego Lima, he has to keep the fight standing. If he can keep this purely a striking match, he has a great chance to pickup the upset win tomorrow night. However, if he can’t keep Muhammad off of him, it’s going to be a long night.

Belal Muhammad needs to do the exact same thing he’s done in his last three UFC fights. Throw some unorthodox shots and chain those into takedown attempts. Work the clinch along the fence and get this fight to the ground.

In reality, I don’t see Lima having anything for Belal Muhammad. The only way I see Lima winning is by landing a big shot as Muhammad shoots in. If that doesn’t happen, expected Muhammad to impose his will and walk away with another unanimous decision.

Prediction: Belal Muhammad by Unanimous Decision

UFC 258 Preview: Maycee Barber – Alexa Grasso

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 258, the women’s flyweight division will be on display. Top prospect, Maycee Barber (8-1), will be making her return against the tough, Alexa Grasso (12-3).

Maycee Barber’s nickname is exactly what the UFC thought of her. The promotion was building her up as the future of the division and perhaps a future challenger for the flyweight title. However, that was all derailed in her last fight.

Barber fought Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246 which was headlined by Conor McGregor. When it’s a Conor McGregor card, all eyes are on you as a fighter. The promotion had to be hoping for a Barber breakout performance.

Instead, Barber was pretty much dominated by Modafferi for the entire fight. Granted, Barber did tear her ACL in the first round which hindered her performance. She’s had a year to recover and she suggests that she’s back better than ever. Prior to that loss she was 3-0 with three knockouts in the UFC.

Standing across from Barber is Alexa Grasso. Grasso came into the UFC as a strawweight but has transitioned to the flyweight division. She made her flyweight debut in her last fight back in August. Grasso looked good in picking up the decision victory against Ji Yeon Kim.

She will come into this fight against Maycee Barber ranked fifteenth in the division. Despite the loss in her last performance, Barber is still ranked tenth in the division. Grasso is actually the betting favorite as of now.

UFC 258 Prediction

The UFC 258 co-main event is going to be decided for me in the first couple of minutes. I think it’ll all come down to the way that Maycee Barber looks early on. If she’s tentative, I think she could be in trouble tomorrow night.

Alexa Grasso has very good boxing and she’s very good from striking on the outside. If Barber is too tentative, I could see her getting outpointed over the course of three rounds by the sharp Alexa Grasso.

For Barber to be successful in this fight, she needs to fight with pressure and urgency. She doesn’t need to be reckless, but she needs to use her strength and power advantages. Barber needs to get on the inside with power shots and perhaps mix in some takedown attempts.

If Barber fights to her ability, I believe she will win at UFC 258. However, if she’s too relaxed on the outside, I believe Grasso can get the win. Ultimately, I believe we are going to see a good performance from Maycee Barber tomorrow night. I believe she’ll get this to the ground and lock in a choke to get a statement finish.

Prediction: Maycee Barber by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 2

UFC 258 Preview: Jim Miller – Bobby Green

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 258, we will see a fun matchup between veteran lightweights. Jim Miller (32-15, 1 NC) and Bobby Green (27-11-1) will go head-to-head tomorrow night to kick off the PPV main card.

Bobby Green is coming off of a loss heading into UFC 258, however, 2020 was overall a big bounce back year for Bobby Green. A frustrated Green had gone back-and-forth about retirement given the way some decisions had gone against him in the UFC.

Nevertheless, Green decided to bite down on his mouthpiece and fight in 2020. He started the year off incredibly at 3-0. Green looked like he was inching towards a ranking before he lost a decision to Thiago Moises. Green’s looking to get back on track tomorrow night.

Jim Miller has been with the UFC since 2008 and he’s fought a who’s who of the lightweight division. If there’s been a top contender that’s emerged over the last decade, they’ve likely fought Jim Miller at some point.

Miller comes into this contest at 3-3 in his last six fights. One of those losses came against top contender, Charles Oliveira. Miller last fought at UFC 252 where he lost a decision to Vinc Pichel.

UFC 258 Prediction

Both of these veteran lightweights are looking for a bounce back win at UFC 258. For Green to get the win tomorrow night, he has to stay loose with his striking and he needs to be careful of his front foot.

Given Green’s boxing ability and his wrestling skills, he’s normally very heavy on his front foot. This could be a problem against a guy like Jim Miller. Green needs to be a little more loose on that front foot and look to strike from the outside.

Jim Miller needs to go right after the lead calf of Bobby Green at UFC 258. We’ve seen how devastating powerful calf kicks can be and Jim Miller has great calf kicks. While Green is going to have an advantage from the outside, Miller needs to add up some calf kicks.

If he’s able to do some damage to the lead leg, then he can transition into his grappling. When it comes to the fight tomorrow night, I really like Bobby Green in this matchup. At this stage of their careers, I believe that Green will stay loose and score enough points from the outside to win a decision.

Prediction: Bobby Green by Unanimous Decision

UFC 258 Preview: Kamaru Usman – Gilbert Burns

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

Jimmie Rivera – Pedro Munhoz is off UFC 258; fight to be pushed back

A highly anticipated matchup is off of this weekend’s UFC 258 main card. MMA Fighting was the first to report that the bantamweight matchup between Pedro Munhoz (18-5, 1 NC) and Jimmie Rivera (23-4) has been called off.

The UFC has not come out with a statement, but MMA Fighting is reporting that a positive COVID test has cancelled the fight. The tentative plan is for the promotion to push back the fight to the Fight Night on February 27th.

UFC 258 isn’t the most stacked card for a PPV and losing this bantamweight matchup is a pretty big hit. The lightweight matchup between Jim Miller and Bobby Green is getting promoted to the PPV main card.

Jimmie Rivera was looking to pickup his second consecutive win on Saturday night. Rivera has always been known as one of the best in the UFC, however, every time he’s approached a title shot, he’s stumbled.

His three losses with the promotion have come against Petr Yan, Aljamain Sterling, and Marlon Moraes. This matchup at UFC 258 was actually a rematch from a fight back in 2015. Rivera defeated Munhoz by split decision that night.

UFC redemption for Munhoz

Pedro Munhoz has lost twice in a row and he was looking to bounce back this weekend. UFC 258 was his opportunity to settle the score with Jimmie Rivera and it was his opportunity to end his current losing streak.

Munhoz rose to the top of the UFC’s bantamweight division after he knocked out former champion, Cody Garbrandt. However, he would then go on to lose decisions to Aljamain Sterling and Frankie Edgar which shuffled him back.

By all indications, there should be no issues with this fight taking place in two weeks. Of course, that has yet to be confirmed by the UFC. I was personally really looking forward to this one. Hopefully fight fans will get to see this one sooner than later.

UFC attempted to make Chandler – Oliveira; Oliveira turned it down

The UFC lightweight division is in a very unique spot at the moment. It’s the most exciting division in the promotion, however, there is a lot of cloudiness surrounding the top of the division. Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) has said he’s retired, yet he’s still the UFC champion.

Back at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knocked out Conor McGregor (22-5) in the main event. In retrospect, that fight should have been for the vacant lightweight title with the assumption that Khabib is staying retired.

In the co-main event of the evening, Michael Chandler (22-5) knocked out Dan Hooker (20-10) in the first round. The win was a huge statement in the UFC debut of Michael Chandler. Chandler had spent virtually his entire career with Bellator to that point.

After the fights, Dana White said that the UFC was going to have to figure out what to do with the division. Obviously, Dustin Poirier would be fighting for the title next, but the promotion didn’t know who that would be against.

Poirier only seemed interested in McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Meanwhile, Dana White seemed more interested in having Chandler fight Poirier for the lightweight title. This is an idea that Poirier was not a fan of because he felt Chandler hadn’t earned a shot in the UFC.

UFC attempted to book Chandler – Oliveira

Last week we learned that the co-main event of UFC 258 between Chris Weidman and Uriah Hall fell through. Also around the same time, Michael Chandler posted on his Instagram that he was Dana White’s new “Yes Man” which left people wondering what was going on.

Well, according to a report from AG Fight, Chandler was offered the co-main event slot at UFC 258. His opponent would have been none other than Charles Oliveira. This goes along with what Chandler told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani this week.

This is a matchup that would’ve provided a great deal of clarity in the lightweight division. However, Oliveira turned down the fight according to the report citing his desire to fight for the title next.

Granted, there might have been other reasons behind the decision, but nevertheless, Oliveira turned down the fight with Michael Chandler. If he couldn’t get ready in time, I completely understand. However, if this was a move out of principle, I really don’t agree with the move.

Charles Oliveira’s eight-fight win streak is incredible. It’s enough to warrant a title shot, however, as I put in my article yesterday, the UFC is not going to give him the next shot. At least, I would be extremely surprised if they do.

That said, this could have been a golden chance for Oliveira to force their hand. Had Oliveira fought and defeated the new company man, the UFC would have nothing left other than offering him a title shot. Time will tell if this was a smart decision or not, but as of now, I really don’t agree with it.