UFC 258 featured a welterweight main event between two men that knew each other well in Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. Usman walked away the victor but it was not after feeling some of the power that got Burns to the title shot in the first place.
There was a lot to take away from UFC 258, here are some things that stood out.
Last Minute Changes
It would not be a UFC card if there weren’t some last-minute changes and UFC 258 was not exempt. The bout between Gillian Anderson and Miranda Maverick was canceled due to COVID-19 related issues according to the UFC and Bobby Green versus Jim Miller was also removed when Green was deemed medically unfit to fight.
Anthony Hernandez Chokes Our Viera
The last fight during the ESPN prelims featured middleweight Anthony Hernandez versus Rodolfo Viera in a fight Hernandez was a big underdog in. When it began, it looked like it was going to go the way many thought it would go based on the odds, but Hernandez was not having it. While Viera’s accolades in the world of jiu-jitsu and submission grappling preceded him, Hernandez showed that in MMA anything can happen.
Not only did the striking of Hernandez turn things around for him, but he was also able to submit the submission artist. Take a look at his handy work here:
25 Years of Bruce Buffer
It should be noted that fans of the UFC, new and old alike have mostly heard Buffer introduce many fighters. He’s been doing it for a while and to mark the 25 year mark Buffer wore a special smoking jacket. Check it out:
Kelvin Gastelum Gets Back in The Win Column
Gastelum at only 29 years old could only now be entering his prime if you measure him against today’s standards in combat sports. While he did lose to current champion Israel Adesanya some years ago, he still has done better against him than most. A few more losses followed after that but his win against Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 was a good way for him to reset. Gastelum offered himself as an alternate for April should Robert Whittaker or Paulo Costa have to withdraw from their April bout. That would not be a bad choice to have as a backup fighter.
Alexa Grasso vs. Maycee Barber
At first glance, this fight as the co-main event seemed like an odd placement but afterward, it turned out to be one of the more exciting fights of the night. Grasso’s counter striking seemed to be the name of the game for most of the fight but she showed some new tricks from the ground when on her back. While she lost, fans should remember this was Barber’s first fight back after a layoff from her knee injury and we saw the old Barber come alive in the final round, but it was not enough here. Next time for her, but a great win for Grasso.
Friends and Foes
Both Usman and Burns have trained together and anyone that has shared training time together the way they have, knows the connection can be like family. But when the business side of the fight game has to be taken care of, there are no friends. Burns had a strong opening round, rickoing Usman with a right hand that looked like it could have ended things. But after that, Usman’s jab became the path to another victory for the welterweight champion who demanded afterward respect be put on his name.
Even with the competitive juices flowing, Usman paid a lot of respect to his friend in Burns afterward in a fight that looked tough for both men in more ways than one.
What Comes Next?
After his win, Usman called out Jorge Masvidal for a rematch. Apparently, the comments from Masvidal after their first fight did not sit well with Usman so he would like to clear the air in a rematch. In the post-fight press conference, when asked UFC President Dana White said it could make sense, but added there are “a lot of options” for Usman moving forward. What comes next will be whatever makes sense based on how this event does in numbers it seems.
There’s obviously more to take away from this event than what is listed here. The winners from the second pay-per-view of the year probably all have many options for whatever their future in the UFC holds. One thing is for sure, for the UFC if it makes dollars it makes sense, and a rematch with Masvidal may, or may not be the next big money fight that gets booked. If Masvidal still has the fanbase he had from that last fight.
What did you take away from the event?