UFC 258 is promoted as Burns vs Usman and that’s because the star power on the card is lacking in more ways than one. The only other prominent UFC fighter on this card is Kelvin Gastelum. This card could surprise, but I am writing this as the action is happening so lets see how these fights go. I wrote this as if it was live so if some of the tenses seem strange, that is the reason.
Maki Pitolo vs Julian Marquez
Round one and Pitolo comes out swinging for the fences early causing Marquez to tie him up early in order to recover. A takedown by Pitolo comes after some blocked but heavy shots. Plenty of lefts coming from Pitolo in top position. Pitolo looking to get a choke in place, fought back well by Marquez but he is struggling quite a bit in the early stages of this contest. Marquez blocking take down attempt after takedown attempt but working so hard to defend, I am not sure how much he is going to have offensively. Marquez with a very tight guillotine that nearly gets around the neck, but Pitolo slips out. Big flurry to end round one by Marquez but I would give Pitolo round one in this one for sure. 10-9 Pitolo
Round two starts with a nice exchange in the center of the octagon. Marquez recovered well from the early flurry in round one. Accidental shot to the groin pauses action briefly. Big swings coming out from break. Pitolo locks up Marquez against the cage and attempts a take down which Marquez turns into a guillotine and eventually control of the back. Marquez gets slid off the back through the front door and Pitolo moves to half guard but on top. Marquez easily had this round early but Pitolo ended the round on top. Have to give it to Pitolo, Marquez had moments but got unlucky. Marquez needs a finish. 20-18 Pitolo
Round three begins as the other two with both men trying to knock the others head off . Both guys having good success with jab-hook combinations. Marquez using every part of the body to put Pitolo in trouble, but again ends up on his back on the ground. Pitolo with a tight grip around the neck., but Marquez manages to squeeze out and take the back again, this time on the feet. Marquez landing bombs with a minute to go. Julian Marquez with one of the oddest anacondas choke positions I have ever seen. What a burst to finish and finish to a great fight. Winner: Julian Marquez by submission
Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher
Round one begins with some hammer fists that manage to bust open Kelleher. Simon with just relentless pressure on top. An attempt at a Kimora did not lead to anything, and it eventually comes back to the feet. Simon drops Kelleher again with a takedown and keeps pressure on the neck with the shoulder. A lot of wrestling and attempted chokes. The stand up game is not the strongest from either man. Simon had the pressure and the take downs to earn round one. 10-9 Simon
Round two sees Simon continue to walk down Kelleher. Front kick right to the jaw really surprised and woke up Simon. SImon seemed to slow down a touch after that front kick and caught him with a second one. Kelleher is landing good shots but cant seem to get a good combination with Simon consistently in his face. Simons pace and quantity of shots leads to another take down by Kelleher. Much better round of Kelleher, but has yet to make any real headway even after two perfect front kicks. Simon pressure is taking a toll on Kelleher and the cut above his eye. 20-18 SImon
Round three starts with Simon throwing and throwing with variety. A few elbows to the head causes another tie up and letting Simon keep him in his world. Simon has had no issues with taking down Kelleher, even if it seems ineffective. Kelleher looking for a submission from the bottom working to little avail. Kelleher has had very few spurts of success. Simon looks all the way in control. The stand up needs a lot of work but over Simon controlled the fight from start to finish. Simon 30-27. Winner: Ricky Simon UD
Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch
Round one and Heinisch immediately looking for a take down. Gastelum manages to roll out but directly into a Kimura attempt from Heinisch. Kelvin reverses and claims the back eventually pushing to full mount while fending off a second submission attempt. Back on the feet and Kelvin looks much better in this position even from the clinch. Gastelum picks up Heinisch for a big take down, but Heinisch shows his prowess to sprawl and make it back to his feet. The low kicks from Gastelum are going to start to wear on Ian so he has got to start checking thos better. Tough round to judge, but I will give the slight edge to Heinisch just for the apparent control to begin and the easy defense of Gastelums wrestling. 10-9 Heinisch.
Round two begins with both guys looking to land some good punches early. Big jumping knee from Heinisch does nothing but lead to take down by Kelvin in a half guard. Heinisch seems content letting Kelvin take his back and seems to know he wont have to worry about a guillotine. Gastellum looks to be really getting into the fight at this juncture. Gastelum takes the back again, and even though it has not led to anything of true significance, it shows control over Heinisch for prolonged periods. Heinisch looking for more power shots but Gastelum is landing more frequently. Gonna have to give that round to Gastelum due to the variety and the control on the ground. Was not terribly effective but made the difference in the round to me. 19-19
Round three opens up with a good calf kick from Gastelum that he should use more of. Single leg goes from both men on the ground to both men back on the feet after a great scramble by Gastelum. More and more back control from Kelvin adding up points. The pace has definitely slowed some, but Gastelum still bouncing around the ring while Heinisch looks a bit flat-footed. Heinisch rolls from bottom position to the top and tries to wrap his arm around the neck with leg hooks in. Gastelum sneaks out and brings it back to the feet where he has seen his most success all night. Both men trying to find an advantage to jump the score their way. Kelvin ends the fight on top of Heinisch as the horn sounds. Quality fight but I think Gastelum takes it by the skin of this teeth 29-28 Gastelum. Winner: Kelvin Gastelum UD
Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso
FIrst round starts with a decent feeling out process that goes to a clinch. Staying the theme of the card to this point. Neither woman gaining a great advantage in the first two minutes. Grasso is the first to land a good combination forcing Grasso to clinch and recover for a split second. Barber has a clear strength advantage while Grasso continues to land good strikes when she escapes the Barbers hold. Big swings by both ladies landing some clean shots in the closing moments of the round. Gonna give the Grasso the benefit of the doubt for round 1. She landed better and cleaner shots and never looked in trouble in the clinch. 10-9 Grasso
Second round and Grasso continues to maintain good distance letting Barber initiate from long range and look for a counter. Barber with a huge combination that stuns Grasso to her core. She manages to clinch and recover, but that could have been it. Barber finally manages to get out of the clinch only to eat four or five clean shots. Barber hits a kick and takes down Grasso, but nearly gets caught in an arm bar. A great transition sees Grasso taking the back and ending the round in a choke situation. Much clearer winner for this round. 20-18 Grasso.
Round three and both women are keeping some distance to between the round eyeing up an opening. Grasso begins the action with a shot to Barber and ends with double under hooks in the clinch. Barber with a big takedown and some big shots to Grasso sees Grasso retreating and looking for a moment recover. Macy Barber is swinging for the fences trying to end this fight. Barber holds Grasso against the fence for a long time till a break with the clock close to hitting zero. Barber ends the fight with a takedown, but it will not be enough for Barber to secure a win. At 22, she has a long way to go in this sport. 29-28 Grasso. Winner: Alexa Grasso UD
Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns
This is the money fight. This is the fight everyone needs to see, even if they don’t want to see.
Round one and before the bell there is a big stare down and no glove touch. Burns comes out swinging early and often. Big right hurt Usman bad and Burns has to respect Usman and backs off letting Kamaru recover. A take down by Usman gives him more time as he works the legs with kicks refusing to go to the ground with Burns. Both fighters woking well from their respective positions until Usman lands a major right. Burns gets to his feet just in time to land a huge knee to the head, leaving Usman reeling a touch. Burns continues to work the head while Usman woks the body and legs. Usman seems to have settled down and is landing some good shots. Burns keeps up the pressure landing some real heavy shots to the head and body. Burns absolutely takes round one, but can he keep it up. Burns 10-9.
Round two and Burns continues to be the aggressor. Usman’s jab is keeping the distance between them. Both men landing short blows until Burns takes a couple of big shots including an uppercut that just missed. Usman taags Burns with a good jab then a huge right and stuns him. More right hooks leave Burns searching for an escape route to recover, but Usman is keeping up the pace. The Usman jab is really taking a toll on Burns as he knocks Burns down with one. After the ref stoppage to let Burns up, Gilbert seemed to have had just enough time to catch his breath and get back in the fight. Dominant round by Usman, but not to the 10-8 realm. 19-19.
Third round and Burns still wants control of the octagon early and gets caught by a huge right hand. Burns collapses and Usman jumps right on top and leaves Herb Dean no doubt on what needed to happen. Burns gave it all he had, but Kamaru Usman shows why he is the most dominant welterweight since GSP. Winner: Kamaru Usman TKO
I hope you enjoy the read. If you did not get a chance to watch it, here is a quick glance at what happened.