UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and opponent Gilbert Burns made championship weight for UFC 258, but one prelim bout was scratched from the card today.
Lightweight Bobby Green (27-11-1), who was scheduled to fight Jim Miller (32-15-0), made weight at 156 pounds at the scales, but then collapsed backstage and now both fighters have been pulled from the card according to president Dana White.
“Bobby Green just collapsed back there,” White explained in a media scrum. “Doctors are looking at him. They’re trying to rehydrate him right now.”
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card, while noted Fight Choreographer John Salvitti shares his thoughts on the main event.
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS (6:15PM ET/3:15PM PT)
GILLIAN ROBERTSON (9-5-0) VS. MIRANDA MAVERICK (8-2-0)
Andrews: Maverick is the more well-rounded fighter and unless Robertson can keep the fight on the ground, she should emerge the victor.
Andrews Prediction: Miranda Maverick via UD
GABRIEL GREEN (9-3-0) VS. PHILIP ROWE (7-2-0)
Andrews: Both guys are good finishers, but I have to go with the Fresh Prince to use his height and reach to keep the fight standing.
Andrews Prediction: Philip Rowe via TKO
UFC 258 PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)
ANDRE EWELL (17-6-0) VS. CHRIS GUTIERREZ (15-4-2)
Andrews: Ewell will enjoy an 8-inch reach advantage and will overcome the grinding style of Gutierrez to get the decision.
Andrews Prediction: Andre Ewell via UD
POLYANA VIANA (11-4-0) VS. MALLORY MARTIN (7-3-0)
Andrews: Viana has returned to the win column and Martin showed improvement after getting submitted with a tappet of her own. I think Martin needs to keep the fight standing and gets the close nod.
Andrews Prediction: Mallory Martin via UD
#13 BELAL MUHAMMAD (17-3-0) VS. DHIEGO LIMA (15-7-0)
Andrews: I like the dog in Muhammad and he should be able to enforce his grappling and ground game on Lima after some early resistance.
Andrews Prediction: Belal Muhammad via UD
RODOLFO VIERA (7-0-0) VS. ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ (7-2-0, 1NC)
Andrews: This fight is really simple. Hernandez needs to keep the fight standing. But Viera will drag it down to the ground and get the tap.
Andrews Prediction: Rodolfo Viera via submission
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
MAKI PITOLO (13-7-0) VS. JULIAN MARQUEZ (7-2-0)
Andrews: Pitolo needs a win badly as he’s lost three of his last four. But the “Cuban Missile Crisis” finds the target here.
Andrews prediction: Juan Marquez via TKO
RICKY SIMON (17-3-0) VS. BRIAN KELLEHER (22-11-0)
Andrews: Kelleher is 34 years old but continues to chug along. Despite the disparity in records, this will be a close fight. Simon gets the edge.
Andrews Prediction: Ricky Simon via UD
KELVIN GASTELUM (15-6-0, 1NC) VS. IAN HEINISCH (14-3-0)
Andrews: Gastelum looked chipper during Fight Week, considering he has lost his last three fights. And he looked rather flabby at the weigh-ins. Have to go with Ian for the big win.
Andrews Prediction: Ian Heinisch via UD
#10 MAYCEE BARBER (8-1-0) VS. #15 ALEXA GRASSO (12-3-0)
Andrews: Barber is coming off a loss to Roxanne Modafferi. She’s a good young fighter but who is the better striker? I think’s Grasso’s maturity at 27 years old gives her an edge on the feet but her lack of a ground game is trouble. A close one, but Grasso finds a way.
Andrews Prediction: Alexa Grasso via UD
KAMARU USMAN (17-1-0) VS. GILBERT BURNS (19-3-0)
EDITOR’S NOTE: For this fight, we check in with noted fight choreographer John Salvitti, who is currently working with director Aaron McGruder on a show that is under wraps for now. Check back later for a feature story on Salvitti.
Salvitti: Both men are very well rounded with Burns the heavier handed striker and top position on the ground, but he seems to prefer the top position. Usman is hard to keep down. The champion is the more crafty, more finesse fighter and has the creativity of a Jon Jones.
The cardio edge goes to Usman, the grind edge goes to Burns, finesse & creative skill sets Usman, heavier striker Burns, but vs. Usman, (great from distance) I think Burns will miss more. Last but not least, the heart of a champion edge. My pick is Usman with a heavy heart because I love both of these men. Usman …wild card unknown factor… they’ve been together, out of camp Blackzillions. Man oh man, I can’t wait. Love this!
Salvitti Prediction: Kamaru Usman via UD
Andrews: Despite Burns’ attempts to turn this into a dogfight, Usman sticks to the gameplan for the most part and uses his grappling to control the bout and get the decision from his former training partner.
Andrews Prediction: Kamaru Usman via UD
Enjoy the fights!