The wait is finally over as UFC 258 is among us this Saturday live on PPV. The two long-time training partners Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns are set to square off for the undisputed Welterweight championship. This fight card is one that will deliver and be well worth the price.
Andre Ewell vs Chris Gutierrez
A new addition to the main card after a fallout between Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz is a 140 lb catchweight fight between Andre Ewell and Chris Gutierrez. These two fighters will be looking to meet in the middle and throw down for our enjoyment.
Andre Ewell is a fighter that always puts on exciting fights for the fans. Ewell has been coming on as of late winning each of his last two fights. If he is going to have any chance of winning this fight he is going to need to use that 8″ reach he has over Gutierrez to his advantage. Ewell is at his best when he is able to implement his technical brawling style of fighting into his fights. If Ewell can do this, Gutierrez might be in some trouble.
Chris Gutierrez is coming into this fight with a 3-1-1 UFC record and looking to keep his hot streak going here against Andre Ewell. Gutierrez will have to keep this fight from turning into a brawl if he is going to have a chance of winning this fight. His patented leg kicks could possibly pay massive dividends in this fight if Ewell doesn’t check them or move out of the way.
Ewell being scheduled to fight Cody Stamann on last week’s fight card gives him the advantage in this fight the later this fight is able to go. He should be able to push a pace harder than Gutierrez and if he is able to he should be able to wear him down. Gutierrez will need to hammer the lead leg of Ewell to keep him from coming forward and turning this fight into a brawl.
Andre Ewell wins via Unanimous Decision
Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch
Two ranked Middleweight contenders Kelvin Gastelum and Ian Heinisch square off in a fight that could propel either fighter up the rankings. This is going to be a very exciting back and forth battle between these two very evenly matched fighters.
Kelvin Gastelum is on the heels of a 3 fight losing streak and is desperately in need of a win come Saturday night. Gastelum had two close wars with the Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and Darren Till before he had a mental lapse in his most recent bout against Jack Hermansson. Gastelum still has a lot left in the tank to get back into the win column.
Ian Heinisch is coming off of arguably the best performance of his career against Gerald Meerschaert. He looked new and improved after he switched camps to Thailand before his last fight. Heinisch is going to new to use those new tools that he added to his arsenal to become victorious in this fight here against Kelvin Gastelum.
This is a very evenly matched fight between two very technical heavy hitters. It really depends on who controls the center of the octagon and dictates the pace of the fight for who will win this fight. This seems to be a big step down in competition for Gastelum which might help him rise to the occasion to finally get back into the win column.
Kelvin Gastelum wins via Unanimous Decision
Julian Marquez vs Maki Pitolo
Two Contender Series alumni square off in a Middleweight matchup. Both fighters are looking to get back on track coming into this fight with one another. When it comes to fighting these two will look to stand and bang until only one of them is left standing.
Julian Marquez got his UFC contract with one of the nastiest knockouts in Contender Series history against fellow UFC Middleweight fighter Phil Hawes. Marquez hasn’t stepped foot inside the octagon in over 2 years due to injury and fights falling through. If Marquez is able to get back his old form and the ring rust doesn’t affect him then he will cause some real problems to the smaller Maki Pitolo.
Maki Pitolo aka “Coconut Bombz” also Contender Series alumni is coming into this fight desperately in need of a win. Pitolo is going to need to put those “Coconut Bombz” to good use when facing off against the very aggressive Julian Marquez.
In his short time in the UFC Julian Marquez has shown some promise against tough competition. Pitolo on the other hand has a chance of getting his walking papers if he is not victorious come Saturday night. This fight has the potential to be a banger between these two but Marquez has shown he is more durable and has the better all-around skillset.
Julian Marquez via 2nd round KO/TKO
Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso
In our co-main event of the evening, we have a fight in the women’s flyweight division between Maycee Barber and Alexa Grasso. These two women are the dark-horses in this flyweight division and either fighter could potentially be fighting for the title down the road.
Alexa Grasso made a successful transition to the flyweight division with a unanimous decision victory over Ji Yeon Kim. Grasso looked the best she has ever looked in that last performance and will be looking to keep that momentum going against the very tough Maycee Barber.
Maycee Barber had a tough go in her last fight as she tore her ACL mid-fight against Roxanne Modafferi which led to her first professional loss. This is her first fight back post ACL surgery so it is going to be interesting to see how she is able to bounce back. Pre-surgery Barber was an absolute savage finishing all 3 of her UFC wins by KO/TKO.
If Barber was smart she would lean on the one area that she has always had in her back pocket which is her wrestling. She could take advantage of the lapse of the defensive wrestling of Grasso which has been her Achilles heel in the past. With that said, we have yet to see her utilize this through her 4 fight UFC career. Alex Grasso is the far more technical striker of the two and for as long as this fight stays at distance it’s her fight to lose.
Alex Grasso wins via Unanimous Decision
Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns
And in the main event of the evening, we have a fight for the Welterweight championship of the world between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. Once long-time training partners are now rivals for this epic matchup between the two of the best welterweights in the world.
Kamaru Usman is on pace to be one of the all-time greats at 170 lbs. Currently on a 16 fight (12-0 UFC) win streak, Usman is looking to add yet another title defense to already a great professional career. Ever since capturing the title with a one-sided beatdown against Tyron Woodley, Usman has been on a tear finishing Colby Covington and dominating Jorge Masvidal for 5 full rounds.
Gilbert Burns has been on an absolute tear the moment he moved up in weight to welterweight going 4-0 and putting a beating on former welterweight champ Tyron Woodley. Burns had a career resurge when he made that jump up to welterweight. The weight cut to 155 lbs seemed too drastic and took a toll on his body and his performance. Now with Burns peaking at the right time, he is coming full steam ahead looking to get that championship gold around his waist.
What is intriguing to me is that these two fighters know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s going to come down to how much these two evolved since they parted ways as training partners. Usman making the switch to altitude with Elevation Fight Team and coach Trevor Wittman could be what takes his game to new heights. He will have to be able to weather the early storm of Burns and drag him into deep waters to get his hand raised.
Burns on the other hand will have to start and finish fast and keep himself away from the cage as much as possible in order to become the new champ. Ultimately Usman’s size, strength, and cardio advantages will prove to be the deciding factors in this championship bout.
Kamaru Usman via Unanimous Decision