The title bout at UFC 258 between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns was a real revelation. The fighters, who are constantly accused of an uninteresting and unsporting style, put on one of the best fights from 2018. Usman came out victorious with a knock-out victory to defend his welterweight title.
The line-up for the 258th numbered event of Absolute Fighting Championship revealed low PPV prospects: only four fighters announced that night in Las Vegas were ranked, while other names are only known to die-hard MMA fans.
After several delays, it was finally announced that Usman would defend his welterweight title against Burns. Both fighters maintain a conservative style in the octagon and were accused of being boring by fans.
After going to decision with Jorge Masvidal this summer instead of waiting for Durinho, who had defeated him last year, Usman clinched victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258.
Confrontation between the fighters
The showdown between the UFC fighters was presented by many as being scandalous. Although fighters like Usman and Burns were best friends, they met for an intense fight under circumstances that called into question their friendship. Both of them had just received promotions at Florida’s Sanford MMA gym whereby Burns became the number one ranked welterweight contender while Usman held onto his welterweight title after defeating former champion Tyrone Woodley to set up this championship bout.
The bout between Usman and Burns was the best fight of the year, with a surprising turn in round one. Burns came out aggressively with powerful kicks but Usman floored him within seconds. The result was not unexpected as Dourinho fought to take the title shot (he’s never been given a chance like this before) while Usman seemed paralyzed and unable to recover. Burns was on the ground after a failed high kick attempt, but Usman, aware that he himself needed time, did not allow Gilbert to get up and worked him with thigh kicks, sipping time.
The real drama of that moment in the octagon was beginning. Burns found himself in his corner, pouring tears and apologies, while Usman watched silently while kneeling nearby. It meant more to the champion, who for a few minutes later seemed unable to contain his emotions when he won and backed away from his opponent.
After the win
In the interview, though, Usman didn’t change himself and with his usual disgruntled look (it really hurts Kamara to be considered the most boring champion) gave a long tirade about being “the best on the planet” and his “fighting IQ being on a completely different level to Burns”.
“A tough, hard fight that I love. Burns is a class fighter, you can’t ignore what he has done. It was hard to tell myself that tearing him down was the right thing to do. But this ring belongs to me, and there are no friends in here. I am not like everyone else—I am an animal of different species who walks into the ring for battle with honor.” Usman asserted in the aftermath of his victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258