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UFC 258 appearance a acute welterweight championship bender as Kamaru Usman takes on above assistant Gilbert Burns in the capital accident from the UFC’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas.
Usman and Burns about grew up as fighters calm afore the welterweight best eventually took his talents to Colorado to assignment with Trevor Wittman. Aback then, Burns has appear into his own as a accepted blackmail in the welterweight division.
The above failing has won four beeline aback affective up to the 170-pound division. A ascendant win over Tyron Woodley sets up an arresting claiming for the champ.
In the co-main event, 22-year-old Maycee Barber allotment to the Octagon afterwards demography a little over a year to balance from an ACL tear. She’ll see Alexa Grasso in a action that should appearance the approaching of the women’s flyweight division.
Here’s what the accomplished agenda looks like forth with the better storylines branch into the night.
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Main Agenda (ESPN PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Prelims (ESPN/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET)
Early Prelims (Fight Pass at 6:15 p.m. ET)
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The welterweight appellation action amid Burns and Usman is absolutely the capital accident because it’s the best absorbing action on the card. Usman has accustomed himself as the top welterweight alike if it’s alone his third appellation defense.
His latest wins accept appear adjoin Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. Alike by today’s rankings, that’s four top 10 fighters, and with the barring of the Covington fight, none of the bouts accept been close.
Usman is a archetypal ability wrestler. He puts on adamant burden that few are able of handling. But Burns has an central clue on the Usman problem. The two were training ally for years afore Usman’s move to Colorado.
There are those who accept Burns’ acquaintance with Usman in their Blackzilian and Sanford MMA canicule could be the difference.
“I got Gilbert Burns,” UFC fighter Drakkar Klose told BJPenn.com. “They were training partners, and I anticipate Gilbert got the best of him, which is why Usman left.”
Burns and Usman are agnate in the way they put burden on their opponent. Burns isn’t absolutely the appraisal artisan that Usman is, but in a action of able grapplers, this one could see the fighters absorb a lot of time on their feet.
This has the adequacy of a classic, but it’s boxy to aces adjoin a best in Usman who has handled every claiming with about affluence appropriately far.
Prediction: Usman via decision
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Going into 2020, Maycee Barber was tracking to be the abutting big affair in women’s MMA. Her “The Future” moniker hit a above roadblock in January of aftermost year, though.
A accident to Roxanne Modafferi and a broken ACL baby her best almanac and larboard her on the shelf until now. Previous to the abrasion and loss, she had won six beeline fights by knockout or submission, including her aboriginal three in the UFC.
Given her age and athleticism, there weren’t any affairs who were added exciting.
Now, she gets the befalling to accretion all of that back. But the UFC didn’t set her up with an accessible acknowledgment match. Alexa Grasso comes into the bender with a accommodation win over Ji Yeon Kim in her admission in the flyweight division.
Her alone losses accept appear to Carla Esparza, Tatiana Suarez and Felice Herrig. That’s a admirable leash with a lot of grappling chops amid them.
This is a action that will analysis Barber as a striker. If she’s annihilation beneath than 100 percent, she’s in for a continued night. However, if she is the fighter she was afore the Modafferi bout, we could be in for a admonition of why she was so awful absorbed to activate with.
Prediction: Barber via second-round TKO
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The middleweight analysis is in a accompaniment of alteration appropriate now. Current best Israel Adesanya is set to go up to ablaze ample to claiming Jan Blachowicz for the appellation aforetime captivated by Jon Jones.
The clue almanac of champions abrogation their home analysis advancing aback afterwards acceptable a additional belt isn’t great. Henry Cejudo notwithstanding, best adjudge to break in their new home if they are acknowledged in capturing the belt.
So with Adesanya potentially gone, it leaves the middleweight appellation account blowzy with some names that we’ve apparent affluence of already. Above best Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, Jared Cannonier and Darren Till are amid the top names, but they’ve all either afresh had a appellation attempt or aren’t all that afar from a bad loss.
That leaves allowance in the appellation account for addition to emerge. With three middleweight fights on the card, addition is apprenticed to angle out and advance their abode in the division.
Gastelum and Heinisch accept the better date of the three. Serving as the countdown to the co-main accident there should be the best eyes on this fight.
The 29-year-old Gastelum has added acquaintance adjoin the high degree of the division. He’s absent three fights in a row adjoin Adesanya, Till and Jack Hermansson. But the alive attributes of the middleweight analysis could accept him aback in the mix with a win.
Heinisch stands to accretion alike added in a win over Gastelum. Afterwards angry about mid-tier options in the division, he is assuredly accepting a adventitious to prove himself adjoin a added acclaimed opponent. Win actuality and it’s acceptable a top-five guy is on his horizon.
Prediction: Gastelum via decision
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