UFC 258 Fighters And Background

UFC 257 is now behind us and it was one of the most surprising events in quite some time. Out of the 11 fights we saw, there were only 5 favorites who were able to get their hand raised by the end of it.

3 of the underdogs who won had betting odds of (+250) or higher. That is certainly out of the ordinary but it just goes to show how exciting the sport of mixed martial arts can be. Excitement is cool and all but as handicappers and bettors, surprise, shock, and awe are all emotions we can normally do without.

Instead, we want to see “boring” fights, and the easier the win, the bigger the smile on our faces. I love to see my favorite fighter win but at the end of the day, it doesn’t put any money into my pocket so a play on a fighter I normally wouldn’t care about is all of a sudden a big deal.

We do have to wait a couple of weeks before the next UFC Fight Night event as the company travels back to their home in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. We don’t, however, have to wait the usual 4 or 5 weeks in between pay per view’s.

UFC 257 was January 23rd and UFC 258 will go down just 3 weeks later in Las Vegas at the Apex facility on February 13th.

The main event will be for the Welterweight World Title held by the seemingly unbeatable Kamaru Usman. Gilbert Burns, who seems to be fighting better than ever before will challenge the Nigerian Nightmare in a battle of former longtime teammates at Sanford MMA

The rest of the card isn’t as stacked as UFC 257 but I think we have more evident betting value overall across the board.  Let’s talk about how you can watch UFC 258 as well as all of the different fights from a betting perspective.

When is it happening and from where?

Finally, we touch on the ‘Why” you should tune in to UFC 258 and more importantly, why you should bet your hard-earned money on the event.

All of the betting lines we use today are brought to us by the kind ladies and gentlemen over at BetOnline.AG. This website continually has some of the most affordable betting lines available for MMA. They are hardly ever beat out on value from any of the other major online sportsbooks.

Rodolfo Vieira (-400) vs Anthony Hernandez (+300)

Fluffy! Somebody get this guy an ab wheel. Maybe a set of hands to grab a pullup bar and do some leg raises. Heck, you don’t even need hands to do any crunches or leg raises.

I don’t understand how you can make it all the way to the UFC level and you’re that soft in the gut.

Okay, maybe 205ers and Heavyweights who are just built like that have an excuse but when you’re a 185er like Anthony, you are going to need some efficient armor to protect your body.

The word is out, though, I think, about Fluffy’s fluffiness. If Rodolfo Vieira the heavy hitter that is going to smesh the belly of his opponent? Probably not but I do give the Brazilian a massive advantage in the grappling realm.

The only question is will Rodolfo be able to get this fight to the mat?

I think so. We haven’t seen Fluffy’s takedown defense really tested by a true takedown and top control fighter like Rodolfo Vieira. The method of victory prop isn’t available yet but when it comes out, I say hammer the Viera by finish.

The sub is likely but Fluffy is soft and could get crumpled just as easily. I am guessing you can get him to win inside the distance for (+150) or so. I think that is great value so keep an eye out for when the method of victory props are released for UFC 258.

Jimmie Rivera (-145) vs Pedro Munhoz (+125)

This is a fight that has been a long time coming. I used to get these two mixed up with one another but not anymore. We have done a pretty swell job betting on these two or against them.

In Jimmie Rivera’s last fight, he took on Cody Stamman, another short and stocky wrestler. Rivera is such a tank that he was able to use his superior striking to win a unanimous decision over Cody.

We bet him there at almost even money for a nice win.

We bet against Pedro Munhoz in his last fight against Frankie Edgar. That one felt great as most experts weren’t giving Frankie a chance whatsoever and I thought that was just ridiculous. The Answer paid out at (+240)!

Who is going to win between these two, though?

I think Jimmie has the better boxing technique but Pedro is very aggressive and potentially has more pop and power in his punches than the New Jersey native, Rivera.

Pedro Munhoz is approaching 35.5 years old while Jimmie is a full 4 years his junior. At 135, where reaction time is tested at a much higher level than say at middleweight, fighters age faster.

It’s that simple. This is especially true for the ones who rely on said reaction time and the ability to slip and/or counter strikes coming their way. So, 35 at Bantamweight is roughly the equivalent of 38 at Middleweight.

And we all know what happened when the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva turned 38. Ugh, it wasn’t pretty getting knocked out by Chris Weidman.

How will it go with Jimmie vs Pedro?

Munhoz will have a 2 inch height advantage but Rivera holds a full 4 in the reach department which should line up his overhand right quite nicely. The Brazilian, Munhoz, loves to trade in the pocket, and then when his opponents get hurt or concerned, he has a gruesome guillotine waiting for their desperate takedown attempt.

I will take the younger guy who has a big back that he rounds over his shoulders to protect his chin nicely against Munhoz who will mostly be looking to counter.

Julian Marquez (-187) vs Maki Pitolo (+162)

Julian Marquez is again supposed to make his comeback fight. We last saw Julian The Cuban Missile Crisis Marquez compete on July 4th weekend of 2018. That is now 2 and a half years ago.

This was his first loss inside of the Octagon and it came by way of split decision to Italian Alessio Di Chirico who just scored a massive head kick upset over Joaquin Buckley. Called it!

Julian is an old teammate of mine at Syndicate MMA. He was always in the gym working as hard as anyone else. His body comes off a little sloppy but the guy is still quite fast and has the mental game and heart to fight anyone.

He was set to make his return last year but that fell through. So, here we are against Coconut Bombz Maki Pitolo.

The Hawaiians are on a roll lately. Max, Puna, Brad Tavares, and now Maki Pitolo?!

Maki is a tough guy who throws bombs and has a ton of heart. You are going to have to put the guy to sleep whether it be from a strike or a choke if you want to get him out of there. He isn’t going to quit on his own.

I think we have good value here on Julian, though, even with his extended absence away from the Octagon. Maki is 1-3 in his UFC career and I think loss #4 will send him back to Da Islands.

Kelvin Gastelum (-210) vs Ian Heinisch (+180)

This is a really fun fight right here but I think I want to favor Kelvin here. He is such a tank and has been in there with much better competition. I don’t know if there is anything in particular that Ian Heinisch does that will pose major problems for Gastelum in this fight.

What would the path to victory be for the former drug trafficker, Ian Heinisch?

Well, he will have the height advantage but Kelvin is so used to it at this point, it might be a disadvantage. Either way, it is only 2 inches while Kelvin is just short 1 inch in the reach department.

Heinisch, while significantly less experienced at the highest level, is 3 years the elder of the 29 year old Gastelum. 32 isn’t old, though, especially for 185 pounds so we won’t count that against him.

I think these two are going to kickbox for 15 minutes and Kelvin Gastelum is better in that area, faster and more technical.

Ian Heinisch usually makes his living by wearing down his opponents but I just don’t see that happening to Gas because we have seen him go 5 full rounds and be ready for more.

I think Gas out strikes Ian Heinish ⅔ of the time and that gives us a 5% edge on the books, enough to warrant at least a 1 unit play on the favorite.

Phil Rowe (-110) vs Gabe Green (-110)

I have been very impressed with what I have seen from Phil Rowe thus far in his UFC career. The Fresh Prince has one of those Neil Magny-like frames. He is 6’3 with an 80.5 inch reach and fights at 170.

Yup, sound familiar?

That’s Neil Magny right there. It has just been so long since we have seen him compete. He won his Contender Series fight back in ate 2019 and then had all three of his scheduled UFC fights cancelled in 2020.

Phil is a good striker who can also take his opponents to the mat and work from there although I wouldn’t put him on the level of a Neil Magny but he has the potential ceiling.

The Fresh Prince actually lost his first two mixed martial arts bouts and I can’t tell you how many 0-2 MMA fighters I know who have “retired” after that. I get it. Bills need to be paid, babies are being popped out.

Getting 500 to show and 500 to win isn’t cutting it in the real world for very long. Rowe bounced back strong from the early setback and rattled off 7 consecutive victories, all of which came before the final bell.

His opponent, Gabe Green, was signed by the promotion to fight Daniel Rodriguez on short notice.

Gabe was a huge underdog in that fight but he gave a good account of himself against D-Rod and the company is giving him another shot against Phil Rowe.

D-Rod and Gifted Gabe combined for over 300 significant strikes landed in that fight but I have to be straight with you guys. This betting line makes no sense and once the right people see it, the money is going to roll in on Rowe.

I can see him closing at (-220) or maybe even more!

Gabe Green is tough and has some power but I think he is knockout or bust here. Phil Rowe is 5 inches taller than “GGG” Gifted Gabe Green but it’s the 7 inches of reach that should make the difference in this one.

Again, this betting line is off and the money will come in on Rowe. Get ahead of it now and take advantage of a heck of a deal at (-110) for Phil The Fresh Prince Rowe.

Mallory Martin (-170) vs Polyana Viana (+145)

We have a live dog here. Mallory Martin appears to be a decent fighter but she is unproven. She has lost to Virna and Maycee Barber while getting her first win inside the Octagon in her last appearance opposite Hannah Cifers.

Everyone beat Hannah, except for Polyana, actually. Viana is a great grappler but she lacks the wrestling prowess to get the fight to the mat in top position. I give Poly the edge on the feet here. She has some big wins in her career pre UFC including a first round TKO over Amanda Ribas.

Poly has finished her last 7 wins, 6 by submission. Her losses in the UFC were to JJ Aldrich who is a better boxer and more game, Hannah Cifers who she dropped a split decision to, and also to Veronica Macedo in a strange strange fight.

Viana took her down early in the first but was promptly arm barred. Macedo was supposed to be the TKD striker and Viana the black belt but that is women’s MMA and the all powerful armbar. Poly was able to get her second UFC  win after dropping three straight when she submitted Emily Whitmire with an armbar of her own.

I think Poly matches up well on the feet with Mallory and if Martin takes this to the mat, she is dealing with a black belt. (+145) is nice for the underachieving Brazilian.

Alexa Grasso (-136) vs Maycee Barber (+116)

Here is a very interesting matchup and I don’t know about this one. I will have to review the tape on both ladies. Alexa Grasso is going to want this fight to take place in space while Maycee would love to pin her Mexican foe up against the side of the Octagon and work for a takedown from there.

Maycee is an absolute terror on top as she has for lack of a better word, “manly” power in her elbows and ground and pound.

Barber is still just 22 years old and the only loss on her record came against Roxy Modafferi in one of the biggest upsets of 2020.

Both women are the same height and Alexa is just slightly longer in the arms. Grasso looked better than ever in her last fight but her opponent, Je Yeon Kim, was a great stylistic matchup for her.

Alexa has lost to both Tatiana Suarez and Carla Esparza, two of the best wrestlers in the division. That is understandable but her 2017 loss to Felice Herrig is worrisome as I rate Maycee Barber as Felice 2.0.

Grasso beat Markos by split decision but was still taken down 4 times. I rate Maycee’s takedowns about the same as Randa’s. I like Alexa and her striking game but she hasn’t really beaten anyone.

Her last win against Kim is the best one of her UFC career and the South Korean could be getting her walking papers sooner than later.

Please Note:

Maycee Barber is coming off of the first loss of her career and a devastating knee injury that occured early in the fight. I couldn’t get behind “The Future” as a favorite in her first fight back but she has had a year to recover. We will be in the small Octagon which will help Maycee cut off the cage and obtain the clinch against Alexa.

Maycee getting the takedown will likely prove to be difficult but I think her clinch control and the power in her strikes can keep this one close.

Uriah Hall (-129) vs Chris Weidman (+109)

Uriah Hall wants to connect on Chris Weidman but the old guy still has a heck of a single leg takedown. It isn’t a super explosive movement so the aging vet can still pull it off at the highest level.

He even did it against the younger powerhouse, Omari Akhmedov, when Chris squeaked out a win back in early August of 2020. Uriah Hall’s last fight was, of course, against a man Chris knows quite well, Anderson The Spider Silva.

Uriah eventually put Anderson away. We called that at (+165) and we were also on Chris Weidman to win his last fight where he opened at (+130) and closed at (-160) in a major line shift.

Picking the winner of this fight is just your opinion, maaan. If you think Hall catches him with a big shot before Weidman can get him down, then Uriah is your guy.

Hall does tend to freeze up in there at times, especially when there is the major threat of the takedown.

Each fighter is only separated by 6 weeks in age as they are both 36. Chris has showed us that his chin is gone ever since USADA came to town and his body completely deflated as well since he fought Anderson Silva.

This one is really hard to call but I will take the fighter who hasn’t been TKO’ed in his last 5 of 7 mixed martial arts contests, Uriah Hall.

Miranda Maverick (-160) vs Gillian Robertson (+140)

Miranda Maverick is back inside the Octagon in hopes of outdoing her debut but I doubt that will happen. It couldn’t have gone any better for Miranda Maverick in her UFC debut against Georgia’s Liana Jojua.

We were all over Miranda Maverick to get it done inside the distance at (-120) but the under 2.5 was (-115) so we hit that one and Mav hit Jojua with an awfully egregious elbow that soon had the ringside doctor calling a stop to the contest.

Gillian Robertson is coming off of a difficult defeat at the hands of Taila Santos who took it to Gil and beat her at her own game on takedowns and top control.

Please Note:

Miranda Maverick was a wrestler in high school and quickly started MMA in college or should I say her undergrad because she is a grad student now in psychology working towards her doctorate. Brains, striking from The House of Muay Thai in Norfolk, VA under an old student of mine, and wrestling since she was a youth.

Gillian Robertson is one of my favorite females to bet on but I think she may be a bad play here against Mav. I think Miranda’s wrestling can match that of Gillian and from there, Maverick is a level above Savage on the feet.

UFC Welterweight World Title Fight

Kamaru Usman (-240) vs Gilbert Burns (+205)

And now….

We covered a lot of fights today for the upcoming UFC 258 but none bigger than the main event between two former teammates, Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman.

Kamaru The Nigerian Nightmare Usman has appeared to mas o menos be unbeatable in the UFC’s Welterweight Division. First of all, Kamaru has the wrestling to take just about anyone down at 170 and control them for 25 minutes if needed.

He doesn’t at all mind putting on a boring fight as he foot stomped his way to a win over Jorge Masvidal in July of last year.

Gilbert is also a tremendous grappler but with more of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu base than wrestling. Is his game off of his back and during the takedown attempt good enough to catch a sub on Usman, though?

Please Note:

If he can get on Kamaru’s back or put the Nigerian’s butt on the canvas, Gilbert Burns certainly has a chance to get the win but outside of that, he is going to have to probably knock Usman out to get the win. I say this because Kamaru is constantly selling out for the judges with his control. It is much easier and safer to control someone than to finish them so guys like Kamaru will be considered boring but also have records as he does at 19-1.

I don’t really see Kamaru finishing Burns here but he could catch him with a punch. Dan Hooker has put away Gil before at 155. I think his chin is stronger at Welterweight, though, and Usman isn’t a big puncher.

If Usman wins, it will be by decision and if Burns is able to pull it out, I think he gets a mata leao or a TKO. I’ll take the champ to win a decision at (+165).  

When, Where, How to Watch?

  • February 13th
  • Prelims: 7:00 PM Eastern
  • Main Card 10:00 PM Eastern
  • UFC APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Prelims on ESPN+ and ESPN
  • Main Card on ESPN+ Pay Per View

In Conclusion

It’s going to be a great show and after reading this article today, you are more than prepared to win some money in a couple of weeks.

Don’t wait, though! Get your bets in now because these lines haven’t been attacked by the public yet so unless you are planning to go against the movement, get ahead of those betting lines now.

The big one I want you guys to play is Phil Rowe who is somehow lined as a pick’em against GGG aka Gifted Gabe Green. Miranda Maverick has some solid value at (-160). I think she should be up there at (-220) or more. Gillian was overwhelmed by Maycee Barber on the fence and I actually rate Mav higher than Macy as a prospect. I have been following Miranda for a while now because some of my lineage, actually, is helping her Muay Thai game along.

Polyana Viana is certainly a live dog against Mallory Martin whether she keeps the fight standing or attacks Mallory from her guard.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we don’t lose any of these fights to the COVID fairy because we have a great card and some really solid betting value.