Two of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC will be on display Saturday night. The current welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, will look to defend his belt from Gilbert Burns.
This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 251 in July, but then Burns and his coach tested positive for COVID-19. After it got rescheduled for UFC 256 in early December, Usman pulled out due to undisclosed injuries.
With just one combined loss since 2016, this fight is long in the making, and the winner will no doubt be the clear-cut best in the welterweight division. Let’s take a closer look.
Betting Profile: Kamaru Usman (17-1-0)
Last Five Fights
Standing two inches over his opponent in this one, Usman also possesses a five-inch reach advantage on Burns. This should only add to his astounding rate of 4.5 strikes landed per minute (SLpM), which he leads Burns by a full 1.4.
While both fighters are known for their striking ability, Usman has never even been taken to the mat. He owns a 100% takedown defense rate since joining the UFC.
Betting Profile: Gilbert Burns (19-3-0)
Last Five Fights
Burns trails Usman in SLpM and in takedown averages/15 min (3.38 vs. 2.21). As a result, his long odds make sense.
One area that Burns does possess a slight advantage is in submission average. Over his last 10 fights, Burns is averaging 0.7 submissions per 15 minutes of fighting, compared to just 0.1 from Usman.
In what will be his third defense of the welterweight belt, Usman will face his toughest test to date. Coming into this one off a dominant performance over the division’s former champ, Tyron Woodley, Burns should be as confident as ever, too.
In what I see as a very close fight between two fighters who do the same things super well, I give Burns the nod from a pure value standpoint. I’ll take the underdog in the plus money in what I see as closer to a pick-em than the oddsmakers indicate.
Top Prop Bet
Not only do these fighters do the same thing at an elite level (wrestle), but they are also training partners. In a fight with so much on the line, I expect both guys to take a conservative approach, as they’ll be able to anticipate the other well.
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