You will need to put some respect on Kamaru Usman’s name after his performance Saturday night.
The UFC welterweight champion endured a challenging first round and then patiently picked his spots before violently putting away Gilbert Burns in the third round of the UFC 258 main event from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
In a matchup of former teammates, Usman showed that he’s one of the best fighters on the planet by making adjustments, working behind the jab before putting an end to his opponent. The victory extended Usman’s UFC win streak to 12 and marked his third defense of the welterweight crown.
“This is my cage,” Usman said. “I’m the champion for a reason. When you step in here there are no friends. He said he wanted something of mine and he wanted to take. I had to do what I needed to do. I’m the best on the planet for a reason. Everyone else needs to put some respect on my f—ing name!”
For a moment, it felt as if Burns would be the one demanding respect. The fight opened with Burns clipping Usman with a right hand and a head kick that buzzed the “Nigerian Nightmare.” But Usman collected himself and fired a pistonlike jab that repeatedly found its target.
“I knew he hits hard,” Usman said of the first round. “That’s a majority of how sparring went. He’s got so much power in those hands. Any other fighter goes to sleep in this division.”
Usman’s resistance shined through in the second round as he stepped in and continuously fired the jab before badly hurting Burns with a right hand. The entire fight turned at that very moment, and Usman never looked back.
“I’m a whole ‘nother savage when you get in here with me,” he said.
With Burns melting in front of him, Usman had his meal ready to be placed in the oven. The third round opened with another series of jabs. A thudding shot put Burns on his back and Usman feasted on his fallen opponent with a bevy of strikes that caused the fight to be halted 34 seconds into the round.
A new challenge will be finding a worthy opponent for Usman. The champion called for a rematch with Jorge Masvidal, whom he defeated last July on short notice at UFC 251, and promised to end the fight inside the distance. But if it isn’t Masvidal, then it can be anyone; the champion is ready for all challenges.
“Any one of these fools can get it,” he said.
Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns live updates, highlights from UFC 258
Round 3 (1:01 a.m.): Usman immediately drops Burns with a jab, chases Burns to the ground and pulverizes his former teammate to put an end to the fight and collect another title defense. What a performance.
Round 2 (12:55 a.m.): Sharp jab from Usman pushes Burns back. They exchange and Burns stings Usman. Usman firing the jab. Hard right hand by Usman staggers Burns. He’s in trouble. Burns is melting. Jab puts Burns on his back. Burns is up but the entire fight has changed. Burns shoots for a takedown but can’t get it. Usman, 10-9 (19-19)
Round 1 (12:49 a.m.): Burns presses the action early and rocks Usman with a right hand. Burns lands a head kick but slips to the canvas. Burns gets worked over for a moment on the canvas but gets back to his feet where he has an advantage. Usman with a hard leg kick. Usman’s not taking these strikes from Burns well. Burns, 10-9
12:32 a.m.: It’s main event time! Former teammates Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns will clash for Usman’s welterweight title. Can Burns pull off the upset or will Usman add another name to his growing resume?
12:23 a.m.: Alexa Grasso earned the unanimous decision over Maycee Barber after enduring a third round where she had to fend off her opponent. After a solid first round, Grasso showcased an impressive ground game in the second frame, sweeping Barber and nearly sinking in an arm triangle choke. Barber cranked up the pressure in the final round and landed several hard strikes while mixing in a few leg trip takedowns to keep Grasso on defense. But Grasso having two rounds already in the bank earned her the victory and a place in the women’s flyweight division.
12:01 a.m.: The co-main event is up next: Maycee Barber makes her return after a devastating knee injury to face Alexa Grasso. They call Maycee “The Future,” but will Grasso make her a thing of the past?
11:49 p.m.: Gastelum finds himself back on track with a dominant performance against Heinisch that earns him the unanimous decision. A combination of wrestling and striking put Gastelum back in the win column with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. There wasn’t much that Heinsich could do to stop the takedowns, and that spelled his demise over the course of the three rounds.
11:28 p.m.: Kelvin Gastelum aims to end his losing skid when he faces Ian Heinisch next. Since getting his attempt at UFC gold in an interim fight against Israel Adesanya, Gastelum has lost three straight. He desperately needs to win here but Heinisch aims to shut down his opponent and prove his worth as a middleweight contender.
11:17 p.m.: Ricky Simon’s grappling and striking overwhelmed a game Kelleher throughout their three-round affair. Simon fought intelligently and neutralized his opponent’s striking to secure a unanimous decision victory.
10:53 p.m.: Up next is a fight that was originally set to be on the UFC Fight Pass prelims but was bumped up after Bobby Green passed out before the weigh-in for his fight with Jim Miller. Brian Kelleher faces Ricky Simon in a featherweight showdown.
10:49 p.m.: A wild back-and-forth battle between Pitolo and Marquez ends with Marquez sinking in a d’arce choke in the third round to submit Marquez. Pitolo was seemingly heading to victory in a fantastic middleweight fight that saw both fighters give it their all in the third round despite being extremely gassed. Unfortunately for Pitolo, Marquez had a little more as he fired a late salvo of strikes and managed to sink in the anaconda choke with just under a minute remaining.
10:15 p.m.: We’re live with the main card of UFC 258. A middleweight showdown between Maki Pitolo and Julian Marquez kicks off the PPV.
9:51 p.m: Well, we shouldn’t doubt Hernandez after this performance. Viera seemingly had the fight in hand with a dominant first two minutes, but he was unable to get Hernandez out of there and saw his opponent become reinvigorated. Hernandez survived the chain submission attempts and rocked Viera with strikes late in the first round. With Viera exhausted, “Fluffy” poured it on with a bevy of strikes before sinking in a guillotine for the submission in the second.
9:39 p.m.: Rodolfo Viera aims to keep his unbeaten MMA record intact against Anthony Hernandez in a middleweight showdown to close out the prelims.
9:33 p.m.: Muhammad’s pressure was simply too much for Lima to overcome. Muhammad earned a one-sided unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 across the board. Muhammad will certainly climb the rankings after this, and someone in the top 10 will get their name called to face him next.
9:09 p.m: We’re live on Sporting News with coverage of UFC 258. Following Polyana Viana’s slick submission of Mallory Martin, we have an important welterweight showdown between Dhiego Lima and Belal Muhammad; the winner can move up in a wide-open 170-pound division and turn a sharp eye toward tonight’s main event.
UFC 258 start time
- Early prelims: 6:30 p.m. ET
- Prelims: 8 p.m. ET
- Main card: 10 p.m. ET
- Live stream: ESPN+
Usman vs. Burns will be the last of 11 fights at UFC 258. The main card — which includes four fights before the main event — is expected to start at 10 p.m. Usman and Burns likely won’t get to start their title bout until midnight ET or later.
How to watch Usman vs. Burns on PPV
- PPV price (current subscribers): $69.99
- PPV price (new subscribers with ESPN+ bundle): $89.98
The early prelims and preliminaries for UFC 258 are free to watch on ESPN+ for those who are already subscribed to the streaming service. The pay-per-view portion (i.e., the main card) can be purchased for $69.99.
New subscribers can pay a bundle price of $89.98, which includes the fight and an annual subscription to ESPN+.
UFC 258 fight card results
- Kamaru Usman def. Gilbert Burns via 3rd-round TKO to retain UFC welterweight championship (:34)
- Alexa Grasso def. Maycee Barber via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Kelvin Gastelum def. Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision 30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez def. Maki Pitolo via 3rd-round submission (4:17)
- Ricky Simon def. Brian Kelleher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Anthony Hernandez def. Rodolfo Viera via 2nd-round submission (1:53)
- Belal Muhammad def. Dhiego Lima via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Polyana Viana def. Mallory Martin via 1st-round submission (3:18)
- Chris Gutierrez def. Andre Ewell via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-27)
- Gabriel Green def. Philip Rowe via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Gillian Robertson vs. Miranda Maverick; women’s flyweights