Nearly eight years ago, Kamaru Usman lost by submission in the now-defunct Championship Fighting Alliance to even his professional mixed martial arts record at 1-1. The Nigeria-born fighter hasn't lost since and has rarely been challenged on his way to 16 consecutive victories and the UFC welterweight title. Usman will make the third defense of his crown on Saturday against second-ranked contender Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC 258 in Las Vegas. The main UFC 258 fight card is set for 10 p.m. ET. Usman has eight career finishes, and none of his opponents have even won a scorecard in his nine decision victories.
Usman is a -270 favorite (risk $270 to win $100), while Burns is offered at +230 in the latest Usman vs. Burns odds from William Hill Sportsbook. In the co-main event, Alexa Grasso is -140 in the UFC 258 odds as she takes on Maycee Barber (+120) in a meeting of women's flyweight contenders. Before making any UFC 258 picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has to say.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every professional MMA card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 24 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up more than $22,000. Already in 2021, the accomplished MMA analyst has built on his memorable 2020 run and has now connected on 26 of his last UFC 36 main-event selections, a stretch that includes a streak of five straight underdogs.
Just last week at UFC Fight Night, Marley told SportsLine members to back prospect Alexander Volkov (-180) against respected veteran Alistair Overeem in a matchup of top-10 heavyweights in the main event. He called for an early stoppage from Volkov and was proven correct when the hard-punching Russian rocked Overeem in the first round and finished him in the second. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, Marley has examined every fight on the UFC 258 card and locked in his picks. You can only see his coveted UFC 258 predictions here.
UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns preview
Marley knows the main event provides an intriguing matchup between fighters who have similar skill sets. Usman and Burns are both explosive wrestlers and grapplers who are known for nonstop pressure that negates their opponent's offensive attack.
Usman (17-1) has shown he is one of the most dominant UFC champions of this generation, although he is far from the most popular. This is in large part because the soft-spoken fighter is hesitant to engage in callouts or trash talking and is often visibly uncomfortable when he tries. He's often been panned by UFC fans for verbal blunders such as his infamous quote about fighting at 30 percent after a win over Emil Meek in January 2018.
However, even his most ardent critics can't deny Usman has proven himself in the cage. He seized the title with a masterful performance against Woodley and followed it up with a fifth-round stoppage of bad boy Colby Covington. The Nigeria-born Usman, 33, also had little trouble dismantling Masvidal, who was the Fighter of the Year in 2019 on the strength of three spectacular knockout finishes.
But Usman could be in for his toughest challenge yet against Burns, who is arguably a stronger and more explosive version of the champion himself. The rugged 34-year-old Brazilian made his UFC debut in 2014 and started his stint with the promotion with a 6-3 record while mostly flying under the radar of widespread recognition.
However, Burns saw his stock soar last year, starting with a first-round knockout of perennial contender Demian Maia last March. He followed it up with an impressive showing against the fading Woodley in a fight that looked similar to Usman's bout against the former champ. You can only see who to back here.
UFC 258 predictions
We'll share one of Marley's UFC 258 predictions here: He is taking Julian Marquez (-165) to get a stoppage victory against Maki Pitolo (+145) in a meeting of middleweight prospects.
Pitolo (13-7) worked his way up through promotions like Cage FC and Bellator before winning a fight on "Dana White's Contender Series" to earn a UFC contract. However, the versatile 30-year-old Hawaiian has stumbled to a 1-3 mark in four appearances despite being competitive in every fight. He fought twice in a three-week span last August and lost to Darren Stewart and Impa Kasanganay.
Marquez (7-2) has been inactive for more than two years because of various injuries, but his two UFC appearances include a win over Stewart, a common opponent with Pitolo. A former winner on "Dana White's Contender Series," the 30-year-old's last outing resulted in a split-decision loss to Alessio Di Chirico in July 2018.
"I agree with Marquez being the favorite and he looks like the fighter who might have more power and could be more durable. I will take him to win by knockout," Marley told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 258 picks
Marley also has strong picks for Burns vs. Usman and every other bout on the UFC 258 fight card. He's also backing one fighter who "is the faster fighter and better boxer" to get a decision victory. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Usman vs. Burns? And how exactly does each fight end? Check out the latest UFC 258 odds below and then visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $22,000 on MMA in the past two years, and find out.
UFC 258 odds
Kamaru Usman (-270) vs. Gilbert Burns (+230)
Alexa Grasso (-140) vs Maycee Barber (+120)
Kelvin Gastelum (-215) vs. Ian Heinisch (+185)
Jimmie Rivera (-135) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+115)
Julian Marquez (-165) vs. Maki Pitolo (+145)
Bobby Green (-270) vs. Jim Miller (+230)
Rodolfo Vieira (-410) vs. Anthony Hernandez (+330)
Belal Muhammad (-400) vs. Dhiego Lima (+320)
Mallory Martin (-155) vs. Polyana Viana (+135)
Ricky Simon (-260) vs. Brian Kelleher (+220)
Gabriel Green (-130) vs. Philip Rowe (+110)
Miranda Maverick (-145) vs. Gillian Robertson (+125)