Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action last night (Sat., Feb. 13, 2021) with UFC 258 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event of the evening, Kamaru Usman knocked out his former teammate, Gilbert Burns, in the third round to retain his Welterweight title (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Alexa Grasso put on a great performance to hand Maycee Barber her second straight defeat (recap).
Biggest Winner: Kamaru Usman
It’s time to put a little a lot more respect on Usman’s name because “The Nigerian Nightmare” just keeps winning. The latest notch on his belt came in the form of taking out his old stablemate in impressive fashion, ending his night with some ground-and-pound set up by some solid striking. That is now 17 straight victories for the 170-pound champion, including going a perfect 13-0 inside the Octagon. And Usman’s road has been far from easy, with his last four wins coming against Burns, Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley. That’s an unmatched resume to say the least at Welterweight, which is putting “The Nigerian Nightmare” in elite level when it comes to the all-time greats. He’s already broken one of Georges St-Pierre’s records for most consecutive wins at 170 pounds with 13, and it seems Usman is just getting started.
Runner Up: Anthony Hernandez
One of the biggest wins of the night came on the “Prelims” after Hernandez stunned Rodolfo Vieira, submitting the world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner with an anaconda choke in the second round. But it didn’t come easy because Hernandez had to have his submission defense on point early on, getting out of some precarious positions in the first five minutes. And that’s saying something because once Vieira gets a hold of someone on the ground, it’s usually game over. This time around, however, “The Black Belt Hunter” became the hunted and was forced to tap, suffering the first loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. And if you took a risk on Hernandez and laid down some cash for him to pull off the massive submission upset you were in for a nice payday because he came in a 30-1 underdog. Speaking of cash, Hernandez walked away with an extra $50K for his amazing submission win.
Biggest Loser: Maycee Barber
After storming out of the gates with three straight wins inside the Octagon (all technical knockouts), the hype around Barber got out of hand with many dubbing her the next Ronda Rousey, future champion, UFC’s next big star ... and so on. Since then, however, “The Future” has fizzled rather quickly, losing to Roxanne Modafferi via unanimous decision and now dropping another the same way, this time coming up short to Alexa Grasso. The 22-year-old’s quest to beat Jon Jones’ record of becoming the youngest champion even took a serious hit with back-to-back defeats because she will have to win a lot of fights in a hurry to even get close to a shot at the title. There is not telling if the pressure of the hype got to Barber, but the fact remains, Modafferi and Grasso are simply better. Barber is going to have to make a lot of changes to get back on track because if she thought she was in for rough nights against her previous two foes, it only gets harder once she starts facing the cream of the crop. And as far as all that UFC promotional love she was getting from the jump, she will soon realize that it will be a bit less with losses start piling up. That harsh business of the fight game.
For complete UFC 258 results and coverage click here.