Twelve matches are scheduled for UFC 258 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday February 13. None of them are bigger than the main event of the evening, which will feature UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman against Gilbert Burns. This fight, along with a few others on the card, was pushed back to 2021 due to some COVID-related issues last year, so this one has been a long time coming and fight fans are excited to see how Burns stacks up in the underdog role.
We’ve got a lot to talk about and we’ll use the odds from BetOnline Sportsbook to do it as we check in on the pay-per-view card exclusively available on ESPN+. All fights will get some pub, but the main card bouts will get a little extra.
Gillian Robertson (+118) vs. Miranda Maverick (-138); Total: 2.5 (-175/145)
Young Miranda Maverick has taken most of the early money here as the 23-year-old steps in the UFC Octagon for the second time in her career. She put a first-round beating on Liana Jojua at UFC 254 and won when the doctor stopped the fight after the first five minutes. Maverick attached all parts of Jojua’s body and it was a violent elbow that likely led to the stoppage. It was a very active first round with 175 total strikes attempted. This will be the fourth fight for Robertson since June 20 and she is 2-1 in those scraps. The 25-year-old is nowhere near as active as Maverick, which is likely why this line has swung so much in Miranda’s favor. Maverick also looks like the real deal as a prospect in the flyweight division.
Phil Rowe (+110) vs. Gabe Green (-130); Total: 2.5 (100/-130)
Phil Rowe has a pretty noteworthy size advantage here for his fight against Gabe Green, yet money has come in on Green in the fight. This will be the first fight for Rowe since August 20, 2019, which likely has something to do with the move. Rowe also got off to a slow start in his Dana White Contender Series bout before a third-round knockout of Leon Shahbazyan. Green lost his UFC debut to Daniel Rodriguez in his first fight in 19 months last May. I’m not sure either one of these guys is all that projectable here, so this looks like a good stay away in my eyes.
Brian Kelleher (+206) vs. Ricky Simon (-241); Total: 2.5 (-260/200)
In order to try and hold interest throughout the card, Brian Kelleher and Ricky Simon face off early in a battle of familiar names. Kelleher fought four times in 2020 and went 3-1 with all stoppage wins and one decision loss. Simon is turning around very quickly here after beating Gaetano Pirrello back on January 20. Simon scored just his eighth career stoppage win in that fight by outwrestling Pirrello. It really wasn’t much of a fight and perhaps has inflated his perception a little bit because it was a dominating performance, but his opponent only attempted 18 total strikes in nine minutes. Simon has the higher ceiling and has fought better competition in recent years, but this price just looks too big. It would be Kelleher or nothing and more than likely nothing.
Andre Ewell (+130) vs. Chris Gutierrez (-150); Total: 2.5 (-225/185)
This will be a catchweight fight at 140 pounds between bantamweight Andre Ewell and featherweight Chris Gutierrez. Gutierrez is 3-0-1 over his last four fights and Ewell is 3-1 over his last four with the only loss coming against a very good opponent in Marlon Vera. Ewell was removed from last week’s card because of COVID protocols, hence the quick fill-in opponent and the catchweight limit. The over 2.5 at -225 looks good here, but that is a big price to pay and likely winds up better as a parlay piece.
Polyana Viana (+131) vs. Mallory Martin (-151); Total: 2.5 (-240/190)
We haven’t seen much of Polyana Viana lately. The 28-year-old fought last August and that ended a span of 384 days between fights. We didn’t see her for long in that one, as she scored a submission win just 113 seconds into her match against Emily Whitmire. Now she’s taking on Mallory Martin. Martin is 2-1 in her UFC fights and fought on the same card as Viana back on August 29. Viana was fortunate to get another contract after going 1-3 to start her UFC career and then scored that win over Whitmire. I’m not sure she experiences the same success here. Viana is 0-3 in decisions and this one looks likely to get there.
Dhiego Lima (+330) vs. Belal Muhammad (-400); Total: 2.5 (-260/200)
We haven’t seen a lot of these lopsided lines this year as of yet, but we’ve got a couple on this card, including this one between Dhiego Lima and Belal Muhammad. Muhammad only fought once last year, but had no problem with Lyman Good for his 12th career decision victory. Lima has not fought since UFC 243. The TUF 25 finalist has won three in a row, but those came a long time ago and two were by split decision. Muhammad is a safe addition to a money line parlay here.
Anthony Hernandez (+300) vs. Rodolfo Vieira (-400); Total: 1.5 (125/-155)
This is the other huge line, as Rodolfo Vieira is a $4 favorite against Anthony Hernandez. Vieira is just 2-0 in UFC, but 7-0 overall, with all of his wins by stoppage. Vieira has six submission wins and has shown to be an excellent grappler and finisher. The 27-year-old Hernandez is just 1-2-1 in his four UFC fights after being a top contender in LFA. He, too, is a guy that likes to win by submission. He was knocked out in 39 seconds by Kevin Holland last time we saw him. He probably won’t be finished as quickly here, but it is the likeliest outcome. The under 1.5 at -155 is a better bet here than laying the -400, especially as a safety net in case Hernandez surprises Vieira early.
Maki Pitolo (+140) vs. Julian Marquez (-160); Total: 1.5 (-180/150)
The main card starts with Maki Pitolo against Julian Marquez at 185 pounds in the middleweight division. Pitolo comes in having lost three of his last four fights. Credit to him for taking the match against Impa Kasanganay on short rest last time out with just 20 days between fights, but it didn’t go well for him after losing the Darren Stewart. Kasanganay was on just 17 days between fights himself and then followed that up by getting knocked out by Joaquin Buckley in the year’s best KO finish.
Marquez hasn’t fought since July 6, 2018, yet finds himself in a clear favorite role here. That would seem to say a lot about what the MMA community thinks of Pitolo. Essentially 2.75 years is a long time to be away from the Octagon. The taller Marquez is 7-2 in his career with seven stoppage wins. He’s lost two decisions, but this one probably won’t make it the full 15 minutes. This feels like a spot to send out a decent opponent in Pitolo, but a guy that Marquez should be able to ease back in against.
Pick: Julian Marquez
Jim Miller (+215) vs. Bobby Green (-255); Total: 2.5 (-260/200)
Jim Miller finds himself on the main card once again following his loss to Vinc Pichel at UFC 252 by unanimous decision. He nearly locked in a submission at the end that could have been the winner, but time ran out at the horn. It was his third fight and second loss of 2020. Miller was thoroughly outworked in the fight and the now 37-year-old faces an uphill battle in this one against Bobby Green.
The 34-year-old Green was 3-1 last year in his four fights, all of which went to decision. In fact, Green is on a nine-fight streak of decisions since getting knocked out by Dustin Poirier at UFC 199. Green is 4-4-1 in those fights. This seems like a big number for Green, who has very little finishing power. This is the kind of fight a guy like Miller can hang around in and possibly pick his spot to lock something in. At +215, the opportunistic Miller is live in a fight going to the cards unless Miller ends it.
Pick: Jim Miller
Ian Heinisch (+180) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (-220); Total: 2.5 (-265/205)
We should get a good one here between Ian Heinisch and Kelvin Gastelum. Heinisch bounced back last time out from losses to Derek Brunson and Omari Akhmedov to score a first-round knockout of Gerald Meerschaert at UFC 250. That being said, Meerschaert is clearly on the wrong end of his career at this point and has been knocked out twice in 91 combined seconds in his last two fights. Heinisch’s last win prior to that came against Antonio Carlos Junior by decision and ACJ was just released by UFC.
Kelvin Gastelum badly needs a win here. He’s dropped three straight fights and the last performance against Jack Hermansson was a really bad one with a submission loss early in the first round. The scoring for Gastelum’s split decision against Darren Till was wacky, as two judges had 30-27, one for Till and one for Gastelum, and the other had 29-28 for Till. Neither fighter did much over the 15 minutes in that one, though Gastelum held top control longer. I don’t think Gastelum is worthy of the price here, even though he likely comes away with the win.
Pick: Ian Heinisch
Maycee Barber (+110) vs. Alexa Grasso (-130); Total: 2.5 (-265/205)
The recovery for Maycee Barber will be complete when the 22-year-old steps into the Octagon to take on Alexa Grasso. The previously unbeaten Barber lost to Roxanne Modafferi at UFC 246 when she fought through a torn ACL to go the full 15. You have to wonder just 13 months from the injury whether or not Barber will fully be there mentally or physically. That seems to be factored into the price here, as she likely beats Modafferi without the injury and rides into this fight at 9-0 instead of 8-1.
Grasso’s ceiling isn’t as high. The 27-year-old is a solid fighter, but she lost to Carla Esparza and Tatiana Suarez, who is undefeated, but hasn’t fought since June 2019. Grasso wouldn’t be favored in this fight without the ACL concern for Barber. We have to assume that she’s been cleared by every doctor under the sun, as a promising 22-year-old rising star in the women’s flyweight division isn’t going to jeopardize her career to come back too early. I think she wins this with authority.
Pick: Maycee Barber
Gilbert Burns (+230) vs. Kamaru Usman (-270); Total: 4.5 (-145/115)
Jose Cacares. That is the only person on the planet to beat Kamaru Usman. It happened in CFA back on May 24, 2013. It was the second career UFC fight for Usman, so he is 16-0 since, including a title win over Tyron Woodley and then defenses against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. Now Usman takes on Gilbert Burns, who brings a six-fight winning streak into this matchup.
Burns is getting the biggest shot of his life at 34 and it will take a near-flawless performance for the challenger to upset Usman here. The line certainly implies exactly that. Usman doesn’t rack up a lot of knockouts, but his fight IQ is off the charts and he is always the aggressor in his fights. The long-limbed fighter is always able to dictate the fight and keep his opponents from getting inside. He has a five-inch reach advantage on Burns here and my guess is that it will be enough to win by workmanlike decision yet again. It will take a long-ranging striker to beat Usman. Burns isn’t that guy.