By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist
UFC 258 was this past weekend and it featured a big title fight in the welterweight division. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Julian Marquez submits Maki Pitolo
Pitolo started strongly by landing some heavy shots in the first round. It was more of the same in the second round, though Marquez did land some heavy shots of his own. The third round saw more wild action until Marquez hurt Pitolo with a big knee, which made Pitolo shoot in for a takedown but he got caught in a choke and that was the end of the fight. Good win for Marquez.
GOOD- Brian Kelleher vs. Ricky Simon
Simon likely won the first round with his grappling, Kelleher got cut druring one of their early exchanges. The second round was basically a repeat of the first round, with Simon getting the better of it. That trend continued into the third round, and Simon won the decision. Good win for Simon.
GOOD- Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ian Heinisch
They rolled around and grappled a lot in the first round, with Gastelum probably getting the better of it. The second round was much the same, and I’m really getting that deja vu feeling here. There was more striking in the third round, also with Gastelum getting the better of the exchanges. Gastelum won the decision, good win for him.
GOOD- Maycee Barber vs. Alexa Grasso
The first round was close, with Grasso landing some good strikes and taking the round. Barber stymied Grasso more in the second round, but Grasso was still able to get a few good shots in. She did slip at one point, though, and the fight went to the ground. Grasso looked good there and that likely won her the second round as well. The third round saw Barber come out more aggressively, getting a trip takedown. She did a little damage but not a whole lot before Grasso stood up. Barber got another late takedown but it wasn’t enough and Grasso got the decision victory. Good win for Grasso.
GOOD- Kamaru Usman stops Gilbert Burns
Usman got dropped early but fought through it. The mainly traded strikes for the rest of the first round, though Burns did unsuccessfully attempt another takedown. The second round saw Usman start to light up Burns with some big shots. He peppered him with jabs and right hands. Burns got dropped but Usman gestured for him to get up and the round ended. The third round saw Usman drop Burns again and then plaster him with some good ground-and-pound to get the ref stoppage. Usman successfully defended his UFC Welterweight Championship with this win and improved to 18-1 overall. Burns falls to 19-4 with this loss.
I imagine Leon Edwards is next to challenge Usman. Edwards has won 8 fights in a row since his loss to Usman in 2015. Edwards hasn’t fought since July 2019, though. I don’t know how he feels about jumping straight into a title fight but he’s certainly got the resume.
Dana White said recently that Jon Jones will challenge the winner of UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27th. I imagine this fight will likely take place around August or so, with Jones getting an immediate title shot upon moving up to heavyweight. We can debate whether Jones is deserving of the shot but he was the most dominant UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of all time so I think it’s okay. Curtis Blaydes has won four fights in a row and will face Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis next Saturday so you could argue that he would be more deserving if he wins that fight, but if nothing else, he can get the title shot after that. I don’t know, maybe I’m just so used to the way the UFC does business that I’ve been convinced. Either way, we’re getting a huge title fight at heavyweight in March, then another one down the road. Sounds good to me.
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