Gilbert Burns is set to get his long-awaited UFC Welterweight Championship shot on Saturday night, fighting Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 258. Here is a full preview of the pay-per-view card, which is set to happen at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Early Prelims (6:30PM EST / 3:30PM PST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 1: Gillian Robertson (9-5) vs. Miranda Maverick (8-2) (Flyweight)
Miranda Maverick will attempt to build off her 2020 debut on the early prelims when matched against Gillian Robertson.
Maverick, a former Invicta FC fighter, made her UFC debut in the Fall. Her promotional debut was successful, fighting a round against Liana Jojua before a doctor stoppage called an end to the bout. Maverick is currently on a four-fight win streak.
Entering the UFC cage for the 10th time, Robertson has the goal of bouncing back from a December decision loss to Taila Santos.
Bout 2: Gabe Green (9-3) vs. Philip Rowe (7-2) (Welterweight)
After numerous cancelled bouts stopped him from debuting in 2020, Philip Rowe will finally make his first UFC appearance on Saturday night against Gabe Green.
Rowe earned his UFC contract during the 2019 season of “Dana White’s Contender Series,” where he stopped Leon Shahbazyan in the third round with strikes.
The fight on Saturday is Rowe’s fourth booking since joining the UFC. Due to various reasons, the previous three were not able to happen.
Green is returning after losing his UFC debut to Daniel Rodriguez in May of 2020.
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EST / 5:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 4: Andre Ewell (17-6) vs. Chris Gutierrez (15-3-2) (Catchweight 140 lbs)
Hoping to continue the win streak he developed last year, Andre Ewell will fight Chris Gutierrez on the prelims.
Gutierrez had a three-fight win streak snapped in August, as he fought to a draw against Cody Durden.
The fight between Ewell and Gutierrez was formed on short notice. Ewell was set to compete on a February 6th UFC card, although he was removed from the lineup due to the promotion’s COVID-19 protocol. He was quick to get a new fight, now being placed in Saturday’s lineup.
The 140-pound catchweight rule is likely due to the short-notice nature of the matchup.
Bout 5: Polyana Viana (11-4) vs. Mallory Martin (7-3) (Strawweight)
Strawweights Polyana Viana and Mallory Martin will clash on the prelims.
Viana is returning after picking up a necessary win in her last bout. Her last fight was in August, where she caught Emily Whitmire with an armbar to break a three-fight losing streak.
Martin earned her first UFC win in August, submitting Hannah Cifers with a rear naked choke.
Bout 6: Dhiego Lima (15-7) vs. Belal Muhammad (17-3) (Welterweight)
Dhiego Lima and Belal Muhammad will wager their three-fight win streaks during UFC’s preliminary card.
While Lima has spent a year outside of the cage now, he returns with a three-fight win streak that he developed from 2018 to 2019. His last fight was a split decision victory against Luke Jumeau.
Muhammad earned his third consecutive win in June, taking Lyman Good to scorecards after a three-round bout.
The welterweight bout was postponed from December after Muhammad dealt with COVID-19.
Bout 7: Rodolfo Vieira (7-0) vs. Anthony Hernandez (7-2) (Middleweight)
Undefeated talent Rodolfo Vieira is scheduled to fight Anthony Hernandez in the final bout on the prelims.
Vieira’s impressive seven-fight career has seen him pick up stoppage victories in every appearance. He won his second UFC fight in March, stopping Saparbeg Safarov with an arm triangle choke in the first round.
Hernandez has struggled since joining the UFC, winning one bout and losing two since 2019. His last bout was in May, where Kevin Holland stopped him within a minute with strikes.
Main Card (10:00PM EST / 7:00PM PST) (PPV)
Bout 7: Ricky Simon (17-3) vs. Brian Kelleher (22-11) (Featherweight)
Ricky Simon and Brian Kelleher will get their heavily pursued bout on Saturday night. The fight in the opening slot of the pay-per-view comes after the bantamweights had two previous bookings against each other cancelled.
Their first bout was set to happen in September of 2020. After this fight fell through, Kelleher defeated short-notice opponent Ray Rodriguez within a minute with a guillotine choke.
More recently, a fight in January was thrown out after Kelleher tested positive for COVID-19. Similar to Kelleher’s last fight, Simon went ahead with a bout that month, defeating Gaetano Pirrello with an arm triangle choke.
Now that they both have recent wins, Simon and Kelleher will meet on Saturday.
The featherweight bout was first meant to take place on the prelims, however, it was moved up to the main card after a fight between Bobby Green and Jim Miller was removed from the lineup.
Bout 8: Julian Marquez (7-2) vs. Maki Pitolo (13-7) (Middleweight)
Julian Marquez is set to make his return on Saturday against Maki Pitolo on the main card.
Marquez competed twice before his extended absence from competition that lasted over two years. He took his first UFC loss in July of 2018, his last fight, where he dropped a split decision to Alessio Di Chirico.
Bout 9: Kelvin Gastelum (16-6) vs. Ian Heinisch (14-3) (Middleweight)
Former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum finds himself in an important position on Saturday. While the past two years of his career have been at the highest level of the middleweight division, he risks taking his fourth consecutive loss and no longer being considered in the upper echelon of the weight class.
The first loss in Gastelum’s current streak was against Israel Adesanya for the interim UFC Middleweight Championship. While it was one of the best performances of Adesanya’s career, it was a big performance for Gastelum as well, who lost via unanimous decision.
Gastelum competed again later in 2019, losing a split decision to Darren Till. His last fight was in July of 2020, where Jack Hermansson caught him in the second minute of a bout with a heel hook.
He now faces Ian Heinisch, who is returning after picking up a win in 2020. Heinisch snapped a two-fight skid in June with a stoppage victory, catching Gerald Meerschaert in the second minute with punches.
Bout 10: Maycee Barber (8-1) vs. Alexa Grasso (12-3) (Flyweight)
It’s been a year since we saw Maycee Barber. In her last appearance, Barber took a beating by Roxanne Modafferi, who left her injured and defeated for the first time in her career. Now after healing up and training, Barber is looking to return to winning ways against Alexa Grasso.
Grasso has seen a pattern of winning a bout then losing the next since joining the UFC in 2016. A win on Saturday would break that pattern, giving her the first two-fight win streak since 2016.
Grasso picked up a decision victory in her last fight, defeating Ji Yeon Kim via decision in August.
Before the 2020 loss to Modafferi, Barber had three stoppage wins in the UFC.
Bout 11: Kamaru Usman (17-1) vs. Gilbert Burns (19-3) (UFC Welterweight Championship)
An explosive win streak through the past two years quickly built Gilbert Burns up as the next welterweight title contender. He will finally get his shot on Saturday night, as he is set to fight UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 258.
Burns is currently on a six-fight win streak that includes four wins at welterweight. While he has victories over prolific names like Demian Maia and Alexey Kunchenko, the win that punched his ticket into the title picture came against former title challenger Tyron Woodley in May.
The title shot for Burns was meant to happen months back. While the bout was first booked for July, plans changed after Burns tested positive for COVID-19 just days before the event.
Usman was still able to compete at the event, controlling short-notice opponent Jorge Masvidal for five rounds to defend his belt for the second time. A win on Saturday would give Usman his third title defence and put him on pace to enter the third year of his championship reign.