We’re back in Vegas for a numbered UFC event folks: UFC 258. The main event pits former training partners and teammates against each other. Incumbent welterweight champ Kamaru Usman looks to hang onto his gold belt, and challenger Gilbert Burns is looking to take it.
Here you will find the plays you need to hit your double ups and find the green in your GPPs. I’ve broken each pick into three categories to make it easy for you. Here we go:
LEAD CINCH LOCKS
Bobby Green – Personal take: I love watching Bobby Green fight. He’s a great boxer who uses his wrestling in reverse to force opponents to stay upright until he’s ready to hit the mat. His opponent, Jim Miller, is seeing age catching up with him. 4-6 in his last 10 UFC bouts, Miller’s submission skills make it so that he’s become too comfortable fighting off his back. It’s there Green will dole out ground and pound until the ref steps in.
Belal Muhammad – 7-1 in the Octagon, Muhammad has quietly put together a win streak that’s worthy of title contention. He grinds out wins with relentless top pressure, and that’s exactly where he has his biggest advantage. Dhiego Lima is riding a three-fight win streak, but his two fights immediately preceding said streak were both losses to wrestlers with games that are almost identical to Muhammad’s. Expect him to grapple his way to a victory tonight.
Julian Marquez – Marquez should be a giant at 170 after moving down from middleweight. He’s got quick, sharp punches that have plenty of pop. Since winning a contract on the Contenders Series, Marquez took out the Uber durable Darren Stewart before dropping a controversial split decision versus Alessio Di Chirrico. Maki Pitolo has dropped three of his four UFC fights, but keeps getting fights because he’s just the type of fighter Uncle Dana loves: someone who will throw down win lose or draw. That’s great for the promotion, but bad for Coconut Bombz, as he can’t handle the power punching game of Marquez.
SOLID BUT UNSPECTACULAR WINS
Alexa Grasso – Maycee Barber was being pushed by the UFC as the next big thing in the female 125-pound division, but that plan went to shit when Barber was out wrestled by verge ran Roxanne Modaferi. That being here first loss, it will be interesting to see how “The Future” responds, and I thinks she’s going to hit a wall in Mexican fighter Alexa Grasso. Although Grasso has alternated wins and losses in her last six bouts, she has more than enough of a counter-wrestling game to keep herself upright and force Barber to face her on her terms. That should give Grasso plenty of time to touch Barber up and put enough rounds away to earn the victory.
Chris Gutierrez– Andre Ewell shocked the MMA world when he stepped in on short notice to face Renan Barao in his UFC debut and took a decision off the former bantamweight kingpin. Since then, it’s been an up and down road for Ewell. Ewell. For his part, Gutierrez is riding a four fight unbeaten streak. Ewell’s path to victory is controlling Gutierrez on the ground and avoiding standing exchanges. The trouble is, Gutierrez should be able to hold serve if he ends up grounded, and KO Ewell when the fight hits the feet.
UNDERDOGS AND CONTRARIAN UPSIDE
Ian Hienisch – Kevin Gastellum is 2-4 in his last six fights, albeit against stellar competition. He’s still a threat to anyone in the 185-pound division, but I like Ian Heinisch as an underdog here. “The Hurricane” is a well-rounded fighter who possesses knockout power, stifling ground control and a decent submission game. I think the odds favor Gastelum based on his name recognition alone, but that’s not enough to get it done versus Hienisch.
Ricky Simon – Simon is 5-2 in the UFC, his lone losses coming via decision defeats against Rob Font and Urijah Faber. He’s greased lightning in the cage, and is just as apt to choke you unconscious as he is to shut off your lights with a punch. His opponent, Brian Kelleher, has been downright impressive sometimes, and then completely flat in others. He is 3-3 in his last six UFC fights, and I simply don’t see him being able to keep up with Simon.