The UFC returns to its Apex facility in Las Vegas this weekend for the primary numbered occasion since Dustin Poirier’s devastating TKO of Conor McGregor in January.
talkSPORT.com brings you the lowdown on the principle card and what followers can anticipate to see on Saturday evening at UFC 258.
Kamaru Usman (C) vs Gilbert Burns (1) – Welterweight title bout
It’s pals turned foes in the principle occasion, as Usman seems for a 3rd straight defence of his welterweight title when he takes on his former teammate.
Since dominating Tyron Woodley and changing into champion in 2019, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’s dominance over the welterweight division can’t be understated.
After emphatically knocking out and settling his long-running feud with Colby Covington, Usman then went on to win a convincing determination over Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal on Battle Island.
However for a lot of followers and pundits alike, Burns is by far his hardest problem but.
The Brazilian comes into this battle off the again of six straight wins over among the division’s most well-respected fighters, together with Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, and former champ Woodley.
With the 2 males so well-accustomed to one another’s power and weaknesses having sparred numerous quantities of rounds within the health club, the main-event is a particularly intriguing one.
talkSPORT.com predicts – Usman by unanimous determination
Maycee Barber (10) vs. Alexa Grasso (15) – Girls’s flyweight bout
Saturday evening sees the return of Maycee Barber; one of many hottest prospects in girls’s MMA, combating for the primary time since tearing her left ACL over a yr in the past.
Barber suffered the damage on the preliminary card of UFC 246: McGregor vs. Cerrone in January 2020, and unsurprisingly went on to be dealt her first profession defeat by Roxanne Modafferi.
Now with a clear invoice of well being, the 22-year-old with ambitions of changing into the UFC’s youngest ever champion returns, seeking to scale the flyweight rankings and battle for the belt.
To get one step nearer to a shot at present champ Valentina Shevchenko, she’ll have to return via a major take a look at in quantity fifteen ranked, Alexa Grasso.
After extraordinarily blended ends in her UFC profession to this point (4W – 3L), Grasso is in search of back-to-back wins for the primary time since signing with the organisation in 2016.
A win over quantity ten ranked Barber within the co-main occasion would go a great distance in placing her title amongst the dialog with the division’s finest.
talkSPORT.com predicts – Barber by cut up determination
Kelvin Gastelum (9) vs. Ian Heinisch (13) – Middleweight bout
After three consecutive middleweight losses, it truly is ‘now or by no means’ for UFC mainstay Kelvin Gastelum as he takes on Ian Heinisch.
Gastelum suffered defeats to Israel Adesanya, Darren Until and Jack Hermansson in little over a yr, however after seven months away from competitors, can be hoping for renewed fortunes and one other run at UFC gold.
Three years his elder, Heinisch returns to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas off the again of a powerful first-round end of Gerald Meerschaert at UFC 250.
Regardless of current kind, Gastelum undoubtedly has a larger array of weapons and strategies to victory on this battle, with Heinisch prone to focus extra on touchdown heavy strikes and placing Gastelum away for the primary time in his profession.
talkSPORT.com predicts – Heinisch by knockout
Maki Pitolo vs. Julian Marquez – Middleweight bout
It’s the battle of the nicknames on this one, as ‘Coconut Bombz’ takes on ‘The Cuban Missile Disaster’.
Even probably the most devoted MMA followers could be forgiven for not recognising Marquez’ title when this card was introduced.
After tearing his latissimus dorsi in July 2018, UFC 258 marks 953 days since Julian Marquez final stepped foot contained in the octagon, and talking to the media earlier this week, informed them “Y’all will bear in mind”.
Not so pleasantly greeting him on his return is Maki Patolo, a person for whom ‘ring rust’ will certainly not be a difficulty, having competed 3 times in 2020.
The newest of these three bouts being back-to-back defeats to the UK’s Darren Stewart and Impa Kasananganay; so if anyone has a degree to show, it’s Pitolo.
talkSPORT.com predicts – Marquez by TKO
Jim Miller vs. Bobby Inexperienced – Light-weight bout
Two good, old school UFC veterans meet within the octagon to kick off Saturday evening’s foremost card.
Jim Miller and Bobby Inexperienced have amassed a mixed twenty years of time within the UFC between them, so there’s definitely no hazard of a scarcity of expertise being a difficulty on this one.
For UK followers desirous to see fireworks although, it could be price adjusting these 3am alarms to three:30am, as Bobby Inexperienced’s final seven (sure, seven) fights have all gone to a choice.
Quite the opposite although, you by no means know what to anticipate from Jim Miller, whose resume lately consists of wins and losses all by knockouts, submissions and choices.
talkSPORT.com predicts – Inexperienced by unanimous determination