- Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns will headline UFC 258 on February 13th.
- Usman is 12-0 inside the Octagon while Burns is on a six-fight winning streak.
- The Nigerian Nightmare is currently listed as a -235 betting favorite to beat Burns.
The UFC welterweight championship bout between champion Kamaru Usman and Gilbert will finally be happening next month.
According to a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the bout has been tabbed to headline UFC 258 on February 13th at a still to be determined venue. Contracts have yet to be signed although both parties have agreed to the new fight date.
This fight was originally scheduled to happen at UFC 251 during the first Fight Island series but after Burns tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, he was replaced by Jorge Masvidal whom Usman defeated via unanimous decision to retain his title. The bout was reset for UFC 256 last December 12th but Usman begged off from the fight date, citing the need for adequate time to prepare.
Undefeated Inside the Octagon
Congrats Kamaru Usman ??#UFC251
“The Nigerian Nightmare” has never been defeated inside the Octagon ✊
? https://t.co/Npb9MJXSHh pic.twitter.com/gnMa3KfRoW
— SOUNDCITY AFRICA! (@SOUNDCITYtv) July 12, 2020
Usman won the UFC welterweight title by defeating Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision at UFC 235 in March 2019. He successfully defended the belt by knocking out former interim champion and current no. 1 contender Colby Covington at UFC 249 then made a second successful title defense by outpointing Masvidal at UFC 251.
The 33-year old from Auchi, Nigeria has a formidable wrestling background. Usman is a former NCAA Division II All-American champion wrestler from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He won The Ultimate Fighter 21 Welterweight Tournament and is unbeaten inside the Octagon with a 12-0 resume. Usman has an overall MMA record of 17-1 with seven knockouts an one win via submission. He has not lost a fight since May 2013 and has won 16 consecutive fights overall.
Six Straight Wins
ICYMI: Gilbert Burns put on a dominant performance against Tyron Woodley last night to make it six wins in-a-row and insert himself into #UFC title shot contention ?#MMA | #UFCVegas pic.twitter.com/9r1yRjnzMe
— 32Red (@32Red) May 31, 2020
Burns is currently the no. 2 ranked welterweight in the UFC. Known as Durinho, the 34-year old from Rio de Janeiro is a three-time world champion grappler and World Cup gold medalist. He was selected by Vitor Belfort as grappling coach for Team Vitor during the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
After starting his UFC career with a good 6-3 record, Burns has picked up six straight wins. Last year was the best of Burns’ Octagon career. He knocked out Demian Maia inside one round in March. Durinho then dominated former champion Tyron Woodley in May to earn a title shot. Burns is 19-3 with six knockouts and eight wins via submission.
Former Training Partners
Kamaru Usman sensed training partners “licking their chops” for a crack at his title, prompting a move from Florida to Denver ahead of #UFC251 ?
(via @bokamotoESPN) pic.twitter.com/tC7xdl5I8v
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 23, 2020
Usman and Burns were teammates for a significant period of time at the Sanford MMA gym in Florida. But after Burns emerged as Usman’s contender for UFC 251, the champion moved his camp to Denver to train with Trevor Wittman. The move came after both men said that sharing a camp while preparing to face each other was “awkward”.
Several camps consider Burns as Usman’s toughest test to date in the UFC and the main argument there is because the Brazilian is very familiar with Usman’s style, having seen him on a day to day basis in the gym before the champ moved his camp. But aside from that, Burns also impressed in 2020 with a much-improved striking game to compliment his grappling. With more ways to win, Burns is more dangerous than ever.
While Usman has opened as the -225 betting favorite to beat Burns, the opening line represents the shortest for the Nigerian Nightmare in all his title defenses. Usman opened as a -300 odds on favorite against Covington and as a -260 against Masvidal. As of January 4, 2021, online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag has Usman at -235 with Burns coming back at +200. There’s no doubt that Burns is a live dog here but with the way Usman has dominated the opposition inside the Octagon, it’s going to be a tougher fight for the challenger than it is for the champion.