UFC 258 is less than a week away, and we finally (hopefully) will see Burns vs. Usman. Canceled twice this year, starting in July and again in December, Burns vs. Usman should live up to the hype. I surely hope so because Gilbert Burns is going to end Kamaru Usman’s Middleweight reign.
UFC 258 Fighter Comparisons
One of the most significant abilities of Usman is just straight-up working a guy to death on the ground. Against Masvidal, Usman dominated the entire match with ground-and-pound. He took a lethal striker to the floor and broke his will over five rounds. Against Covington, Usman’s game-plan was much of the same but finished the ground-and-pound in the fifth round.
Only two of Usman’s last ten fights have ended by TKO; the rest were decisions. We have to go back to the TUF 21 finale for Usman to finish a fight by submission… which was six years ago. Usman can win consistently by judge’s decision because the strength difference between Usman and his opponents is staggering. He mounts his opponent and works him all fight. Usman is the MMA Mayweather, who knows exactly how to win a battle, and no one can stop him.
Until now, Gibert Burns is like the ultimate antithesis to any fighter. He is head and shoulders above in stand-up against mainly grappling guys (see Maia win with TKO), and he’s an elite grappler that stand-up guys cannot let get to the ground. In between UFC bouts, Burns sharpens his grappling ax by competing in Submission Underground, Quintet Ultra, and Polaris. Burns’ last loss in the UFC occurred in 2018, so he’s been holding his own while training with top grappling talent in the world.
Burns is a unique fighter considering Usman’s last couple of opponents. Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Tyron Woodley. Fighters with mainly striking abilities. Of course, they all have a ground game, but not to the degree of Gilbert Burns. Usman is an incredible athlete that dominates, but I wonder how his ground game holds up against Burns, a better striker than Maia. Burns is +230; I see a fantastic value for an athlete ready to take the next step in his career and beat Usman.