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Take a deep dive into the key stats of some of the biggest match-ups at UFC 258: Usman vs Burns.
(All stats according to UFC’s Record Book and Fight Metric as of February 9, 2021, and only include active athletes in their respective division unless noted otherwise)
Key Stats: +2.27 striking differential (2nd all-time among WW), 12-fight win streak (tied 1st all-time among WW), 54.3% control time percentage (4th all-time among WW)
What It Means: “The Nigerian Nightmare” is dominance personified. A mauling wrestler with an endless gas tank, Usman’s striking has grown to match the pace and pressure he implements with his work rate in the grappling department. He is able to strike well from both stances, using strong boxing and a variety of body and leg kicks opponents have to respect. Once he gets opponents against the cage, he can chain wrestle with the best of them and unleash heavy ground and pound when he isn’t exhausting his opponents via top control.
Kamaru Usman: Journey to Champion
Kamaru Usman: Journey to Champion
Key Stats: 1.93 strikes absorbed per minute (2nd), 2.5% bottom position percentage (7th), 50% takedown defense
What It Means: A fire hydrant of a man at 170 pounds, “Durinho” is a grappler with world champion credentials and hands heavy enough to knock anyone out with a single punch. His ability to blend those two aspects of his game has only increased since moving to welterweight full-time, and he makes for a trepidatious puzzle for opponents to solve.
What to Look For in the Fight: While both men’s greatest strength is on the ground, Usman’s wrestling and Burns’ jiu jitsu might end up cancelling each other out and force a standup battle similar to Usman’d UFC 245 battle with Colby Covington. That said, Usman is a wrestler who covers all his bases in terms of risk management, and he might need to rely on wrestling to negate Burns’ one-shot knockout power. On the feet, Usman is probably the more diverse striker, but Burns has an explosive ability to hop in with a hook or overhand punch to put the lights out.
Co-Main Event: Maycee Barber vs Alexa Grasso
Remember The Name: Maycee Barber
Remember The Name: Maycee Barber
Key Stats: 2 KO/TKO wins (tied 1st all-time among WFLW), 6.02 strikes landed per minute, 0.95 takedowns per 15 minutes
What It Means: “The Future” is a powerhouse of a fighter, seeking the knockout punch and swarms her opponent if she feels them wilting from her pressure. She keeps a high pace on the feet, and in the clinch, she shows great strength in either shucking opponents off her or controlling them along the fence. In close quarters, she likes unleashing elbows off the break, often to devastating effect.
Key Stats: 5.35 strikes landed per minute, 63% striking defense, 63% takedown defense
What It Means: Grasso is a smooth striker with good foodwork and great diversity in her attack. When she is managing distance well and, in her rhythm, she makes it difficult for her opponents to get a beat on her and land their own strikes. She mixes attacks to the body well into her advances and strings together her strikes with real fluidity.
What to Look For in the Fight: Barber’s return from ACL surgery is a tough test in Grasso. Barber has the power and aggression advantage between the two, but Grasso is likely the more polished fighter on the feet. That said, Grasso can be taken down, and Barber’s work in that department could help her both take advantage of her natural strength as well as open up more chances to come heavy with strikes. It’ll be interesting how the fight plays out at distance and who can command the pace of the fight.
Other Fights to Watch (Kelvin Gastelum vs Ian Heinisch, Ricky Simon vs Brian Kelleher)
Key Stats: 0.79 knockdowns per 15 minutes (7th), 3.72 strikes landed per minute, 63% takedown defense
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What It Means: Gastelum is a crafty, powerful striker with real dynamite in his punches, particularly in his left hand. He is at his best when he is bouncing in and out of range, and he uses feints well to allow himself to get into range with precise strikes. At distance, he’ll mix up his body and head kicks, but his hands are his best weapons when he can put together powerful combinations.
Key Stats: 59.9% significant strike defense (6th), 52% significant strike accuracy (7th), 1.16 takedowns per 15 minutes
What It Means: Heinisch is a durable, grinding fighter whose hulking frame is paired with consistent and herky-jerky movement. The movement is particularly interesting in throwing off his opponent’s timing while Heinisch implements heavy pressure. He is a knockout puncher who has improved his grappling ability of late.
What to Look For in the Fight: While both fighters have shown an ability to wrestle and mix it up against the fence, they’d both much rather be standing and trading. Heinisch is the busier of the two in terms of actually throwing. Gastelum, on the other hand, is patient, waiting to explode into a big shot and feint his way into boxing range. Heinisch is the likelier to mix in some grappling early, and both have strong, wide frames for the division.
Key Stats: 33 takedowns landed (2nd all-time among BW), 47.8% takedown accuracy (tied 3rd), 32.8% control time (6th)
What It Means: Simon is an exhausting wrestler whose physical strength makes him a daunting problem for opponents to solve. He really embraces the wrestling-grind in the Octagon, and his tricks long the fence make opponents pay for spending the energy to get to their feet. In the stand up, Simon has solid power and is probably at his best when mixing strikes into another grappling exchange and looking for the submission.
Key Stats: 7:17 average fight time (6th shortest all-time among BW), 0.88 submissions per 15 minutes (9th), 72% takedown defense
What It Means: “Boom” lives up to his nickname, wielding big-time power in his punches. He also has one of the best and tightest guillotine squeezes in the game, and he hops into it with real quickness if a foe isn’t minding their p’s and q’s. He is always looking for a finish with every strike thrown, and no matter how the fight is moving, he can shift it with one punch.
What to Look For in the Fight: Given Simon’s general game plan of shooting as many takedowns as possible, it’ll be interesting to see if Kelleher can jump into a deep guillotine as we’ve seen him do before. On the feet, the two might be even in terms of speed, but Kelleher has a knack for finding the knockout punch. Simon, however, has shown a good gas tank and ability to wear down his opponents rather quickly.
*Hasn’t competed in weightclass enough to qualify in Record Book