Early Odds and Analysis for Usman vs. Burns at UFC 258

| January 17, 2021 6:57 am PST
Early Betting Preview for Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns

I kinda feel like Chris Elliott in Groundhog Day right now.

By all rights, I should be standing with a dumb look on my face as I usher in Usman vs. Burns for what feels like the umpteenth time. But unlike Bill Murray’s despondent character, who is forced to endure a never-ending time loop where it’s always February 2, I’m full of hope.

Actually, faith, rather than hope, is the word to use here. I have faith that Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns will happen at UFC 258 on February 13. Positivity, my friend, is key.

So, with just under a month until the main event of UFC 258 — a fight that could see the coronation of a new welterweight champion — I think an early betting preview for Usman vs. Burns is in order. 

Odds for Usman vs. Burns have been released for the fight. But I’ll get to those later. You won’t be surprised to learn that the champ, Usman, is a steady betting favorite. And I imagine you will be expecting Burns to be the underdog, right?

Well,  he is. But that won’t stop him from plotting the downfall of the king of 170.

So, here’s how I’m going to do this — we’ll start with the odds before I give my two cents on who looks the better of the two in this matchup. If that sounds good to you, keep reading!

Usman vs. Burns Odds for UFC 258

Kamaru Usman to Win -225
Gilbert Burns to Win +190

Look above for Usman’s odds for UFC 258, or to be more precise, to beat Gilbert Burns.

The Nigerian Nightmare is expected to triumph in this fight, and the odds taken from the best sites for betting on MMA clearly back that up. Usman has not lost a fight since May 2013, and I believe him to be too good for anyone else in the division.

But, Gilbert Burns will have a thing or two to say about that.

Burns is a +190 underdog that will likely see his odds move past the +200 range by the time his big night comes around.

Is there value in the odds for Burns to beat Usman? I don’t think so. But I will explain his best chances of getting the win, nonetheless.

How Burns Can Beat Usman

No one is invincible in combat sports.

But other than Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kamaru Usman is probably the closest thing to an indomitable fighter in the UFC. I spoke briefly about this when I made my predictions for all UFC titleholders at the end of 2021.

So, needless to say, Burns has a massive task on his hands. Just how do you crack the puzzle that is Kamaru Usman? 

Burns got his wish following a run where he beat a shot Tyron Woodley, a 75-year-old Demian Maia, Gunnar Nelson, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Mike Davis, and Alexey Kunchenko. You can’t take much away from him, but none of the above come close to what Usman brings to the table.

Some believe Burns had an easy run to title contention, but that’s very disrespectful. But was he fortunate to bypass the likes of Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Leon Edwards, and Stephen Thompson? Well, yeah. Of course, he was. I think at least three of those four guys beat Durinho.

But it is what it is. A contender can only fight those in front of him, and that applies to fighters in the UFC welterweight division as much as any other weight class.

Burns’ best chance of beating Usman is to catch him early, as he will not have the stamina to take this one the distance. But getting inside the champion’s massive reach will pose a huge problem, as Usman’s striking has markedly improved in recent years.

Could Burns submit Usman? It’s not out of the question. He is a solid black belt with a dangerous attacking ground game. But I don’t see him winning this fight at all.

How Usman Beats Burns

It wasn’t too long ago that Gilbert Burns was regarded as a fighter with poor cardio.

But it appears that the Brazilian, much like his compatriot Amanda Nunes, has completely turned things around in this department. Against Woodley, he went five rounds and didn’t look out of his depth.

Now, let’s a little realistic here. If you are betting on Usman vs. Burns, you can’t bank on him looking as fresh against the champ after three rounds as he did after the same time had elapsed against Woodley.

For a start, T-Wood did absolutely nothing to push his opponent. Usman will not give him a single second to breathe in there. He is far too dominant to allow Burns the time and space to relax and reset before coming at him with another attack.

Henri Hooft, Burns’ trainer, will work out a sound striking strategy for Usman. After all, these are two fighters who were once teammates at Sandford MMA. But unless he can completely take the champ’s feet from under him, he will be pushed up against the cage and mauled.

Usman is just too good. It might be competitive for the first couple of rounds, but the Nigerian-born wrestler has a 76″ inch reach, a very cultured jab, and the most dominant wrestling in the game next to Khabib.

Betting on Usman to beat Burns is where the smart money is.

That’s All (For Now)

I’ll be back with my predictions and pick for Usman vs. Burns at UFC 258 a little closer to the fight.

You can, of course, head over to our UFC picks section to get your hands on that. It will drop on Monday, January 26.

But while you wait, why not check out our betting blog for all sports coming up over the next couple of months? We have some big boxing matches coming up, as well as some huge football and basketball games to bet on, and you can find all kinds of tips and advice for those.

MMA fans are obviously counting the days down to UFC 257’s main event. And rightly so, given it features the return of “The Notorious” one, Conor McGregor, in a rematch with Dustin Poirier. If you’re looking to bet on the event of the year, check out what I have in store for you, below.

Until next time!

Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA and boxing.

A self-confessed sports fanatic, when Adam is not watching and writing about rugby, soccer, Gaelic Games, and F1, he can often be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a big fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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