UFC Tips: 3 best bets for Usman v Burns & UFC 258 undercard this weekend

Our tipster Simon Head goes on the hunt for a value ahead of UFC 258 in Las Vegas.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The UFC octagon throws open its doors once again this weekend in Las Vegas as the first big title fight of 2021 takes place inside the UFC Apex. Reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman puts his 170-pound title on the line against former training partner Gilbert Burns in the main event.

Rising stars of the women’s flyweight division Alexa Grasso and Maycee Barber get set for the co-main event spotlight as they look to move one step closer to a title shot. There’s also a fascinating clash further down the card, where a high-energy striker takes on a savvy submission specialist, as Miranda Maverick gets set to face Gillian Robertson.

Ahead of fight night, we’ve picked out a trio of bets that should give you plenty of bang for your buck/pound/Euro. Check ’em out here…

Sunday 5.15am: Kamaru Usman v Gilbert Burns – Usman by points

Kamaru Usman may not be the biggest star in the UFC, but he’s without doubt one of the UFC’s best athletes. The UFC welterweight champion has never lost inside the octagon, and has looked borderline bulletproof since capturing the UFC welterweight title.

He out-cardio’d the cardio king Colby Covington before finishing him in the fifth round at UFC 245 in 2019, then defeated “BMF” champ Jorge Masvidal with a dominant display at UFC 251. Now he faces a new, tricky test in the form of a man he knows very well indeed.

Gilbert Burns is a serious threat to Usman’s reign as UFC champion. He’s a former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, he has bonafide knockout power and he knows Usman’s game inside out, having trained with him as part of the same team at Sanford MMA in Florida.

It’s given this weekend’s title fight some added intrigue, but when you stack up their respective credentials, Usman’s name still comes out on top. The champion knows what it’s like to compete in the white-hot environment of a UFC championship fight.

He’s used to going the distance in high-paced, gruelling encounters, and he’s outstanding everywhere. He’s barely been rocked by a punch in his career, he’s almost impossible to take down, and he isn’t likely to be outpaced over the five-round duration.

That makes things pretty tricky for Burns, who has to deal with the occasion of his first title fight, plus an opponent who knows his game every bit as well as he knows his opponent’s.

It may well see the pair cancel each other out through the matchup and force the action to go all the way to the judges’ scorecards. And, with the champ’s proven pace over a tough five-round stretch, Usman looks like the smart pick to win the fight by points.

Sunday 4.35am: Alexa Grasso v Maycee Barber – Barber by KO/TKO

When Maycee Barber first exploded into the UFC, there was much hype and interest around the fighter known as “The Future,” as she boldly stated her aim to become the youngest champion in UFC history. But, after a solid start, she came unstuck against the tricky Roxanne Modafferi in a bout that saw her sustain a serious knee injury.

Since then, she’s taken time to rehab her injury and revamp her skills, and now she’s ready to return against Mexico’s Alexa Grasso, who has had similarly high hopes placed upon her since her arrival in the UFC. Grasso has struggled for form throughout her UFC career, however, having alternated wins and losses through her seven octagon appearances to date.

She’s heading into the weekend on the back of a win last time out, but against a fired-up Barber looking to make a statement, I have a feeling the Mexican could end up continuing her run of inconsistency this weekend. Grasso is the betting favourite for this fight, but I’m going with the underdog here.

Grasso is good, but doesn’t have that fight-changing x-factor to her game. Barber, however, does. Her power and relentless forward pressure should prove crucial here, and while the price on a Barber win on the scorecards is perhaps the safest option, the value is with a KO/TKO Barber victory.

That method for “The Future” looks like outstanding value for a fighter who has finished her last five victories – including all three of her UFC wins – by that method.

Gillian Robertson

Saturday 11.30pm: Gillian Robertson v Miranda Maverick – Robertson by submission

Miranda Maverick’s arrival in the UFC has been an impressive one. The former Invicta FC tournament champion’s UFC debut saw her finish Liana Jojua via doctor stoppage after an impressive one-round display at UFC 254, and much is expected from her on her return to action this weekend.

But she’s facing a seriously tricky opponent in Gillian Robertson, the flame-haired Canadian who loves nothing better than dragging her opponents to the mat and making them quit. Maverick has the clear edge on the feet – she’ll be the bigger, stronger striker in the cage on fight night.

But Robertson’s ability to get the fight to the mat is superb, and with the action on the canvas, “The Savage” will likely take over. A glance at Maverick’s record shows plenty of submission victories to her name, so she has plenty of know-how on the mat.

But in a head-to-head battle on the floor, I’d lean toward Robertson, and with the Canadian a slight underdog for this fight, that means there’s plenty of value in backing Robinson to snatch a submission finish.

Value tips for UFC 258

Sunday 5.15am: Kamaru Usman v Gilbert Burns – Usman by points
Sunday 4.35am: Alexa Grasso v Maycee Barber – Barber by KO/TKO
Saturday 11.30pm: Gillian Robertson v Miranda Maverick – Robertson by submission

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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