UFC 258 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

UFC 258
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 13: (R-L) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria punches Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

UFC 258 took place in the Apex Center last night in Las Vegas, NV. You can find the results of the entire card, here, but today we’re focusing on a few specific items from the fights. In short, we’re taking a look at what was the good, the bad, and the ugly from UFC 258.

UFC 258 The Good – Kamaru Usman and his jab.

Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns finally were able to square off in the Octagon with the UFC welterweight title on the line. The former training partners wasted no time getting things underway as Gilbert Burns stung Usman with a big right hand, moments into the contest. However, in the second and third rounds, Usman utilized an incredible jab from both the orthodox and southpaw stances. The jab knocked Burns down more than once. He stopped Burns in the third round. It was the best jab I’ve seen in the UFC since Georges St Pierre.

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UFC 258 The Bad – Ian Heinisch and Takedown Defense

This wasn’t a bad fight, and certainly not a bad performance from Ian Heinisch overall. He landed two big knees and had a couple of really excellent transitions and a nice armbar attempt. That said, in some ways he let his fight be taken from him by not defending the takedown. Kelvin Gastelum took Heinisch down six times, and those takedowns are what turned the tide in his favor leading to his via unanimous decision.

Heinisch is on the cusp of becoming a great fighter. The loss moves him to 14-4 as a professional, while Kelvin Gastelum ups his record to 17-6. It was a must-win fight for Gastelum who had lost his previous three. He didn’t look great, but it was nice to see him utilize his wrestling when needed rather than getting involved in a slugfest that he’d likely have lost. It was a decent fight, but an absolute killer for Heinisch in terms of momentum in the division.

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UFC 258 The Ugly – Rodolfo Vieira’s Cardio

Rodolfo Vieira looks like a tank. He’s ridiculously muscular but those muscles need feeding and Rodolfo Vieira couldn’t keep his engine running for more than three minutes. It was a pretty horrendous performance from the previously undefeated submission artist. He ran out of gas midway through the FIRST round and was submitted in the second round by Anthony Hernandez.

It was not a performance that Vieira is going to want to remember and if he is going to be competitive in the UFC, he needs to perhaps focus less on his physique and more on his conditioning.

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Overall, what will stick in my mind from UFC 258 is how ridiculously good Kamaru Usman is and how tough Belal Muhammad is. Muhammad faced off against the very game and gritty Dhiego Lima. He controlled the action and never took his foot off the gas. It was a very good performance from Muhammad.

There were some other fighters who merit mention for their great performances. Ricky Simon looked very good defeating Brian Kelleher. He looked fast and sharp and continues to develop as a mixed martial artist. Also, it was great to see Julian Marquez come back from a two-year absence and come from behind to defeat Maki Pitolo.

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