The new year in mixed martial arts officially declared itself off to a rip-roaring start when the UFC bookended eight days in Abu Dhabi with Max Holloway’s record-setting demolition of Calvin Kattar and Dustin Poirier’s legacy-making knockout win over Conor McGregor. Now, the action returns to Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 with the future of the welterweight division on the line, as reigning champion Kamaru Usman seeks his third title defense at 170 pounds against challenger Gilbert Burns. Right on cue, it’s time for for CanadianBettingSites to roll through some UFC 258 picks and the very best odds and prop bets for Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns, Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch, Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso, and more.
UFC Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns
“The Nigerian Nightmare” is truly one of the finest all-around fighters in mixed martial arts. He has a strong argument for boasting the best wrestling in the sport, and he proved in his first title defense against Colby Covington that he can be a vicious operator in the standup game as well. To date, he’s a perfect 12-0 in the UFC.
Kamaru Usman is currently a -240 favorite in his upcoming bout against Gilbert Burns.pic.twitter.com/Pj4n6nUSed
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) January 25, 2021
Gilbert Burns is no slouch, of course. Far from it. In a top-heavy welterweight division, he’s unbeaten in four bouts since moving back up from 155 pounds in 2019.
But the fact remains that Usman is already at least a top-five MMA welterweight of all time, and he’s very much at his peak.
Pick Usman to beat Burns (1.42) and defend the 170-pound title. A $20 bet at Sports Interaction cashes out for $28.40.
Best Burns Odds vs Usman
Gilbert Burns’ last two wins? Well, they’re only against a pair of future UFC Hall of Famers, Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia. He may be one year Usman’s senior, but “Durinho” is in the midst of a renaissance similar to that of his Brazilian countryman Charles Oliveira one step down in the lightweight division.
He hasn’t lost since the summer of 2018. Stylistically, he has the kind of well-balanced game poised to force Usman to work hard. Picking the upset is far from a preposterous proposition.
If you’re content to ride or die with Burns (3.30), a $20 wager pays out $66 at BetOnline.
"It's going to be a war… People are going to go crazy."
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) January 28, 2021
Usman vs Burns Method of Victory
In 12 UFC fights, Kamaru Usman has won twice by KO/TKO, once by submission, and nine times by unanimous decision.
In five career UFC welterweight bouts, Burns has won once by TKO and four times by unanimous decision.
Sure, a five-rounder is a heck of a lot different from a three-rounder. But these guys both have enviable gas tanks and no obvious weaknesses — and to top it all off, they’ve spent significant time as training and sparring partners. Yes, the smart money is on this one heading to the judges’ scorecards.
Pick the fight to be decided on points. A winning $20 ticket at top sportsbooks redeems for $37.40.
Burns vs Usman Over/Under 4.5 Rounds
Of course, a stoppage isn’t out of the question. Against Covington, a dangerous wrestler in his own right, Usman’s takedown game was neutralized, permitting fans to witness a live-wire slugfest that ended with a fifth-round TKO win for the champ (and a broken jaw for the challenger). Against Demian Maia, one of MMA’s all-time grapple kings, Burns wasted zero time getting to work with his striking, earning a knockout triumph halfway into the opening round.
Still, with an over/under set at 4.5 rounds, smart bettors ought to resist the temptation to declare this one headed anywhere but the full 25-minute distance.
Bang the over on 4.5 total rounds (1.80) between Usman and Burns. A $20 bet cashes out for an even $36 at William Hill.
Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso
Maycee Barber was quickly anointed as one of the hottest rising stars in the sport of mixed martial arts before tearing her ACL and suffering a shocking loss as a massive 1.11 favorite against veteran Roxanne Modafferi one year ago. Now back for her first Octagon action since that historic humbling, the 22-year-old flyweight knockout artist has a chip on her shoulder that she’s never had before in her young career.
That may not bode excessively well for Alexa Grasso, who’s taking on just her second 125-pound bout since moving up from the strawweight division. It won’t be a walkover, but Barber’s status as an underdog presents too much value for bettors to pass up.
Pick Barber (2.10) to get back to winning ways against Grasso. A $20 wager at Bet365 pays out $42.
The Future is bright for @MayceeBarber!!
— UFC (@ufc) October 19, 2019
Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch
Here and now in 2021, who is Kelvin Gastelum? It was fewer than two years ago that the man gave Israel Adesanya close to everything he could handle in the co-main event of UFC 236 for the interim middleweight title, a popular pick for 2019’s Fight of the Year. Unfortunately, he’s lost three in a row and four of his last six. If he can’t take care of business against the feisty Ian Heinisch, the questioning will reach a fever pitch as to whether, despite being just 29 years old, Gastelum is crashing right out of the UFC.
That should be just about all the motivation the man needs. Seriously, remember just how close he was to a 185-pound title shot.
Pick Gastelum to bounce back and claim the victory against Heinisch. A winning $20 ticket redeems at top sportsbooks for $29.76
— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) January 31, 2021
Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick
In 23-year-old Miranda Maverick — it’s not a nickname, it’s her actual name! — you have a women’s flyweight up-and-comer who’s fresh off a UFC debut win. In Gillian Robertson, you have a known quantity who, while dangerous as a grappler, is liable to end up in tough positions if she can’t take the action to the ground.
The narrative feels readymade; comparisons to Robertson’s 2019 humbling at the hands of Maycee Barber are unavoidable.
Bet on Maverick to take the next step in her career with a win against “The Beast.” A $20 bet promises to cash out for $33.79 at top sportsbooks.