UFC 258 Usman vs Burns Picks, Predictions

Feb. 13, 2021
by Adam Lykkesteen
UFC Expert

UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns Main Card Predictions

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns this weekend with its second PPV event of the year.

Unbeaten welterweight champion Kamaru Usman puts his belt on the line against former teammate turned rival Gilbert Burns, in a five-round main event.

Just before that, the co-main event sees the return of UFC prospect Maycee Barber as she takes on tough contender Alexa Grasso in the women’s flyweight division.

The main card of UFC 258 features 5 exhilarating bouts:

Usman vs. Burns Odds Analysis

Welterweight: Kamaru Usman (-275) vs. Gilbert Burns (+210)
Women's Flyweight: Maycee Barber (+100) vs. Alexa Grasso (-120)
Middleweight: Kelvin Gastelum (-225) vs. Ian Heinisch (+190)
Middleweight: Maki Pitolo (+145) vs. Julian Marquez (-175)
Lightweight: Bobby Green (-275) vs. Jim Miller (+210)

Let’s predict the winners and check out a wide array of betting odds at BetMGM, who is offering some great props on the UFC 258 main card this Saturday.

UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns Main Event Analysis

Welterweight Championship - Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns

This was always the fight to make in the welterweight division, with Burns coming off two dominant victories over two big names in the 170 lb weight class.

However, I think we might be suffering from a severe case of recency bias when matching up these two in our minds.

Remember Burns’ domination of Tyron Woodley? Yeah? Remember Usman’s last fight? Not so much. Usman can be labeled as a boring fighter, I, personally, prefer calling it technique. Impeccable.

However, Burns’ six-fight win streak is messing with us here, and I’ll explain why.

Burns is a great fighter, but looking at his career he hasn’t really been in the title picture until he beat Tyron Woodley, the former champion. His path to the belt has been a bit thin, with wins over Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia and Alexey Kunchenko.

There are no wins over the Covingtons, Masvidals or Leon Edwards on his record. Even Stephen Thompson or Neil Magny would have sufficed.

Kamaru Usman is the champion for a reason, and with his freakishly long arms he always finds a way to control the range and win comfortably on the feet. On the ground, he’s an absolute wizard, using his seemingly endless gas tank to win with relentless control and ground and pound only to be rivalled by Khabib.

Burns is a well-rounded mixed martial artist, but he is in over his head here. Usman gets it done in any way he wants. Probably on points.

UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns Main Event Predictions

Kamaru Usman def. Gilbert Burns by Decision (+135) at BetMGM

Stream Usman vs Burns on ESPN+

UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns Co-Main Event Analysis

Women's Flyweight Bout - Maycee Barber vs. Alexa Grasso

This is a really great fight between two very game contenders in the women’s flyweight division. With a finishing ability only matched by the heavyweights, Maycee Barber is something to behold. Her nickname, ‘The Future’, really tells you all you need to know about her. Great striking, dangerous power, and an unmatched act for knowing when to finish a fight.

Alexa Grasso, 27, is another fighter to look out for in the flyweight division, but not for the same reasons. What she lacks in finishing ability she makes up for in technique and skill. However, I think Barber holds the advantage when it comes to striking. Her power is simply unmatched at this weight class.

With a career finish rate of 80%, (100% in the UFC), Barber has something the rest of her division lacks: killer instinct, and while her dream to become the youngest UFC champion might not come true, I still think she has what it takes to get the W over Alexa Grasso (4-3 in the UFC).

People seem to be judging Barber based on her last fight. What I saw was clearly a compromised, injured fighter, unable to stand due to a torn ACL, and yet she went the distance and never looked like she’d given up. I can’t say I’d see the fight going the same way with an injury-free Barber.

Barber is just different with her power and aggression. I give her this one over Grasso, via KO.

UFC 258: Barber vs. Grasso Co-Main Event Predictions

Maycee Barber def. Alexa Grasso by KO/TKO or DQ (+400) at BetMGM

UFC 258 Usman vs. Burns Main Card Bonus Predictions

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ian Heinisch

Another great fight to add value to this already stacked UFC 258 card is K. Gastelum vs. Ian Heinisch.

Let’s start with K.G, who is coming into this fight on somewhat of a skid, losing his last 3 fights in the UFC. Ouch.

I will say that losing to Adesanya isn’t anything to be ashamed of, neither is actually giving the unbeaten champion the fight of his life. However, Gastelum’s size disadvantage just seems to be something that keeps him from competing with the best guys at middleweight, and thus reaching his true potential. Because I really do believe that Gastelum has potential. His striking is great, and his wrestling is very good too. However, he just gives up that reach and height every time he fights at 185 lbs.

I’m not one to sit and point fingers at fighters who should fight in another weight class, but I really think Kelvin should be fighting at welterweight. He is well below the average middleweight height at 5’9’’, and with a reach of 71’’ he’s simply too small for the weight class. Going back and watching his fights against 6’1’’ Jack Hermansson, 6’0’’ Darren Till, and 6’4’’ Israel Adesanya adds some truth to that notion.

Looking at his opponent, Ian Heinisch, it’s clear that Ian is a solid competitor at 185 lbs. However, with only 5 fights under the UFC mantle it's hard to really pinpoint how he compares with the rest of the division skill wise. So far, the guy is 3-2, coming off a first-round KO win over Gerad Meerschaert in June of last year. But two losses against Akhmedov and Brunson also make me wonder how good Heinisch really is.

The thing is, Heinisch was simply outwrestled in his two UFC losses, and since Kelvin rarely uses that strong wrestling of his, it just adds value to the Heinisch side in my head.

All things aside, at 5’11’’, Heinisch will be one of the smaller middleweights for Gastelum, which means that Kelvin will be able to reach his opponent more than ever here. Heinisch only has a 1-inch reach advantage. Compare that 1-inch discrepancy to the whopping 6-inch reach disadvantage he had going into his last fight.

Against a somewhat similar sized opponent, I think Kelvin will be able to get it done, so I’m backing him to get the W over Heinisch on Saturday. Skill wise this should be close to a walk in the park for Kelvin.

Kelvin Gastelum def. Ian Heinisch by Decision (+110) at BetMGM

Maki Pitolo vs. Julian Marquez

For the second bout on the main card, we’ve got a fun fight between two game contenders in the middleweight division.

Both guys are on the younger side, being 30 years of age.

I’m going to start with Maki Pitolo because he’s the underdog in this fight with something to prove. With 4 fights in the UFC, Pitolo has gotten 1 win. Watching him fight is quite exciting though, as he spends most of the time in the cage by bombarding his opponents with combinations, consisting of punches and kicks.

Excitement factor aside, clearly Pitolo struggles with the technical guys that weather the storm and pick him apart on the feet. When fighters he faces cover up or get out of the way of his combinations, he rarely has an adjustment that wins him back the fight.

For me, it’s a sign that Pitolo is still learning, but after 4 fights under the UFC mantle, and one on DWCS prior to that, he still hasn’t managed to fix this glaring hole in his game. That’s not good.

The thing here is despite the fact that Julian Marquez on his best day may be the guy that can expose this weakness in Pitolo, he has been out for over 2 years when he enters the octagon this Saturday. And if we’ve learned anything from Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2, it’s that a lengthy layoff can make just about anyone lose fights they should be winning.

Pitolo might have holes in his game, but Marquez’ layoff is too much of a factor here. Pitolo beats a rusty Marquez with one of his ‘coconut bombz’.

Maki Pitolo def. Julian Marquez by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 1 (+750) at BetMGM

Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller (OFF)

Editor's Note: The Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller bout was cancelled after Green collapsed following his weigh-in on Friday.

Kicking off the UFC 258 main card are the two veterans Bobby Green and Jim Miller.

If you ask me, Bobby Green is nothing short of a technical genius on the feet. He is one of the only guys that uses the philly shell to great effect in MMA, and on the ground he’s a stud too.

That said, if you know about Green you may also know about his unfortunate history of being robbed in close decisions. Personally, I scored his fights against Francisco Trinaldo and Drakkar Klose in favor of him, but he just fights in a way that gives judges a wrong impression.

Maybe it’s his way of rolling with the punches that makes it seem like he’s being hit, or perhaps it’s his awkward defense that makes him look like he’s hurt, either way, you can’t get around the fact that the guy somehow attracts the bad decisions he’s been on the receiving ends of for the last couple of years.

Jim Miller, 38, is a true UFC veteran with countless fights for the promotion.

However, at 38 years of age, Miller has become what I like to call a submission-or-bust kind of guy. He is so sharp on the ground that he always goes for submissions, the problem is, if he doesn’t get it he rarely walks away the victor. Just watch his last 10 bouts, 4-6 record, with 4 first-round submission wins, and mainly decision losses.

As I mentioned earlier, Bobby Green is a technical genius in the octagon, mixing up his strikes with his takedowns quite well. Going the distance, I can’t say I see a way in which Jim Miller gets his hand raised. To add to this notion, Green has never been submitted in his lifelong UFC career, meaning that Miller will have to do what 15 have failed to do.

Even with Green’s history of being robbed by the judges, Miller’s negative strike differential earns Green the win on Saturday night. Bobby keeps it on the feet and wins on points.

Bobby Green def. Jim Miller by Decision (-120) at BetMGM

UFC 258 Main Card - Parlay Picks

BetMGM always has betting lines available for upcoming UFC bouts and if my above selections come through, a 5-0 parlay would pay out a very handsome reward.

Depending when and where you place your wagers, the below outcome could be different but based on my numbers at BetMGM, we're looking at some serious value.

  • Kamaru Usman by Decision +135
  • Maycee Barber by KO/TKO or DQ +400
  • Kelvin Gastelum by Decision +110
  • Maki Pitolo by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 1 +750
  • Bobby Green by Decision -120

Total odds +38351 (Bet $100 to win $38,351) per the VegasInsider.com Parlay Calculator

Update: Due to the cancellation of the Green bout (see above), the four-team parlay for the below wagers would bring back a +20873 return based on a $100 wager.

  • Kamaru Usman by Decision +135
  • Maycee Barber by KO/TKO or DQ +400
  • Kelvin Gastelum by Decision +110
  • Maki Pitolo by KO/TKO/DQ in Round 1 +750

Check out the updated odds for UFC 258 and future events here and best of luck with your wagers on Saturday!

Stream Usman vs Burns on ESPN+