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 defeated Gilbert Burns via third round technical knockout to hang on to his Welterweight title (see it here), while Alexa Grasso defeated Maycee Barber to hand “The Future” her second straight loss. In further action, Kelvin Gastelum got back on track by defeating Ian Heinisch.
Winner: Kamaru Usman
Who He Should Face Next: It should be Leon Edwards, but Jorge Masvidal will likely get the nod
After earning his third straight title defense, Usman took the opportunity to call out “Gamebred” to a rematch, which is rather odd because “The Nigerian Nightmare” defeated him handily last July. But since Masvidal started to blame the short notice nature of the title fight, he started talking in the media, which didn’t sit too well with Usman. Call it ego, pride or simply trying to prove a point, but it seems Usman is determined to show the world that he is simply a better fighter than the UFC’s “BMF” title holder by defeating him a second time, this time with the Cuban-born fighter going through a full camp. While some people may prefer to see Usman fight a more worthy contender, it seems Dana White is okay with letting Usman pick his next opponent. For my money, Edwards deserves the shot next. Yes, “Rocky” lost to Usman, too, but that was five years ago and Edwards has more than earned his way to a title fight and a rematch, winning eight in a row. Yes, Masvidal has a bigger following, a more loyal fan base, but Edwards is deserving here, especially since he can’t seem to lock down a fight.
Winner: Alexa Grasso
Who She Should Face Next: Viviane Araujo
It seems Grasso has finally settled in and found her home at Flyweight, winning two straight in her new weight class including further derailing the Maycee Barber hype train. Up next for the Mexican-born combatant should be a showdown against Araujo. Like Grasso, Araujo is on a two-fight win streak, but she is ranked No. 9, while Grasso is currently sitting at No. 15, though that will change this coming week. Grasso has shown flashes of brilliance and a few more wins can help her get over the hump, and one over Araujo would be huge.
Winner: Kelvin Gastelum
Who He Should Face Next: Jared Cannonier
Gastelum picked up a huge win by outclassing Ian Heinisch, snapping his three fight skid and giving him a new lease on his combat life. Ranked No. 9 in the division, Gastelum can start eying some bigger challenges ahead, and I would love to see him face Cannonier next. While Cannonier is ranked No. 3, he is coming off a loss to Robert Whittaker so he needs to get back in the win column to get back into championship consideration. Surprisingly, these two top contenders’ paths have yet to cross inside the Octagon, so now is as good a time as any.
Winner: Julian Marquez
Who He Should Face Next: Deron Winn
Marquez picked up a big win over Maki Pitolo, putting him at 2-1 so far in his young UFC career. He still has a long way to go before he starts getting ranked opponents, so a fight against Winn sounds appealing. Deron got back on track himself after a two fight losing streak by taking out Antonio Arroyo. Both men are fairly young in their respective UFC careers and have long roads to travel to get into the mix. For one of them, a win in this potential scrap gives them a nice bump up in the stacked division.
Winner: Ricky Simon
Who He Should Face Next: Edson Barboza
Simon is really starting to put it together nicely, winning three straight including his win over Brian Kelleher last night in “Sin City.” A fight against Barboza would be a nice step up in competition for Simon. The Brazilian bomber recently got back on track with a win over Makwan Amirkhani, snapping his three-fight losing streak. A win over the No. 15 ranked fighter at 145 pounds would give Simon a nice boost and possibly get him into the rankings.
For complete UFC 258: “Usman vs. Burns” results and play-by-play, click HERE!