UFC 258: 3 keys to victory for Kamaru Usman

What does Kamaru Usman need to do to defeat Gilbert Burns at UFC 258?

At UFC 258, Kamaru Usman looks to defend his UFC welterweight championship for the third time when he takes on Gilbert Burns. His first defense came via a fifth-round knockout over Colby Covington in December 2019. Usman defended his belt for a second time when he defeated Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision in July 2020. Inside of the Octagon, Usman also holds notable victories over Rafael Dos Anjos, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley, and Leon Edwards.

On the other side of the Octagon, Burns will look to extend his UFC welterweight win streak to five and capture UFC gold. His most notable victories include a first-round knockout of former UFC title challenger, Maia, and a dominant five-round unanimous decision win against Woodley.

Burns ability on the ground and recent improvements in striking ability pose a unique risk for his former teammate Kamaru Usman. Here are three keys to victory for Usman.

Push the pace

Inside of the Octagon, Usman has reached the fifth round in his last five fights and aside from his fifth-round TKO of Covington, each fight has ended via decision win for Usman. His cardio level and ability to pressure opponents with a combination of striking and wrestling has been a massive ingredient to his success in the Octagon and it’s fair to assume that he will continue to move forward in his fight with Burns. With only one five-round fight under his belt, Burns is at a disadvantage when it comes to championship round experience and Usman could make those rounds his if he forces Burns to keep up with him in the early rounds.

Beware of submissions

Burns has eight submission wins in his career and his ability to finish the fight by submission is a significant risk to Usman’s title. If Usman continues to fight as he has in the past then at some point this fight will hit the ground with Usman in a top position. Usman is going to have to be cautious at all times on the ground as Burns can capitalize on just one mistake and finish the fight. Usman’s wrestling ability will be important in this fight and avoiding submission attempts will be a key to victory for Usman.

Control the clinch

During his last fight with Masvidal, Usman did a fantastic job of controlling the fight from the start by winning early in the clinch and tying Masvidal up against the cage. Usman was able to negate the striking ability of his opponent by overwhelming him with strikes while they clinched against the fence. By doing this Usman did not allow Masvidal the distance needed to land a powerful strike. Burns’ first-round knockout of Maia proved that he has fight-ending power and a key to victory for Usman in this fight will be his ability to wear Burns down by using his strength to tie Burns up and win the fight in the clinch.

UFC 258 takes place on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Thu, 11 Feb 2021 18:44:22 +0000

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