A win for Usman (17-1) would see the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ break the record for most consecutive victories in the UFC’s welterweight division (12), a record he currently shares with former titleholder Georges St-Pierre.
A win for the 33-year-old would also mark a third successful title defence. Usman won the belt by dominating Tyron Woodley in March 2019, before stopping rival and then-interim champion Colby Covington in the fifth and final round of a classic in December of the same year. He then saw off Jorge Masvidal on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi last July after ‘Gamebred’ stepped in on short notice to replace Burns, who had tested positive for coronavirus.
Now Brazil’s Burns (19-3), who comprehensively outpointed Woodley last May to earn his title shot with a sixth straight win – and third in nine months – finally gets his opportunity to become his nation’s first UFC champion at 170lbs, with every other belt in the promotion having been held by a Brazilian.
Usman and Burns are close friends and have trained together on many occasions but the champion sought a new team for this fight, with Trevor Wittman overseeing the 33-year-old’s camp. Here’s everything you need to know about UFC 258.
When is it?
UFC 258 takes place on Saturday 13 February at the UFC Apex institute in Las Vegas.
What time does it start?
The early preliminary card begins at 11.30pm on Saturday night in the UK. The prelims follow at 1am GMT on Sunday morning, with the main card getting under way at 3am GMT.
How can I watch it?
All of the action will air on BT Sport 1 in the UK. Subscribers can also stream the event live on the BT Sport website and app.
In the US, viewers can follow the card on ESPN+.
Who will win?
The main event should be very competitive. Not only does Burns know Usman very well from their time training together, but the challenger also seems to be the most difficult match-up for the champion stylistically.
Usman is used to dominating his opponents with his standout wrestling ability, but Burns is a physically strong jiu-jitsu black belt with tighter striking than his opponent this weekend.
The Brazilian’s grappling skills could nullify Usman’s wrestling – or at least make the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ more hesitant to shoot for takedowns – and his overall, well-rounded game could just mean he is the man to dethrone one of the most dominant fighters MMA has seen.
The Independent is siding with the challenger and slight underdog: Burns to beat Usman via decision.
What are the odds?
Usman -270, Burns +230.
What is the full card?
Kamaru Usman (C) vs Gilbert Burns (welterweight)
Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso (women’s flyweight)
Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch (middleweight)
Maki Pitolo vs Julian Marquez (middleweight)
Jim Miller vs Bobby Green (lightweight)
Rodolfo Vieira vs Anthony Hernandez (middleweight)
Belal Muhammad vs Dhiego Lima (welterweight)
Polyana Viana vs Mallory Martin (women’s strawweight)
Andre Ewell vs Chris Gutierrez (catchweight – 140lbs)
Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher (featherweight)
Gabriel Green vs Philip Rowe (welterweight)
Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick (women’s flyweight)