Back for the second pay-per-view of the year, the UFC continues its 2021 campaign this Saturday night with UFC 258: Usman vs Burns live at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The welterweight title is up for grabs in the main event as defending champion Kamaru Usman (17-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) puts his belt on the line for the third time versus former teammate and number 1 contender Gilbert Burns (19-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC). The odds currently have the “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman a -250 favorite with the comeback on “Durinho” Burns at +220. The co-main event features a pair of rising flyweight contenders as powerful American Maycee Barber (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) squares off with speedy Mexican Alexa Grasso (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC). The ladies are lined at a pick em price with a slight lean towards Grasso.
Prior to the championship headliner, fans of the sport can look forward to another exciting fight card loaded with young, up & coming talent and seasoned vets.
In this article, I will discuss three of my favorite parlay legs on the UFC 258: Usman vs Burns fight card. Please remember to always gamble legally and responsibly.
Bobby Green (-250)
I know, I know. You’re hesitant because you lost money parlaying Bobby Green (27-11-1 MMA, 8-6-1 UFC) at a similar price on Halloween night. The difference here is Green is no longer facing 24-year-old, young lion Thiago Moises (14-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC). Which by the way, Green out-struck Moises 85 to 42 in that bout. This time around, Green has the honor of fighting the man with the most fights in UFC history. Jim. Freaking. Miller. Who doesn’t love Jim Miller? A real badass and legend of the sport. I look forward to his Hall of Fame induction.
All pleasantries aside, you know how this fight game and betting game works. We put our feelings aside when it comes to the betting window. To put it frankly, Bobby Green is a bad matchup for Jim Miller (32-15-1 MMA, 21-14 UFC) on paper. The reason being, Green almost doubles Jim Miller up on strikes (5.17 strikes landed per minute versus 2.73 strikes landed per minute) and more importantly, Green still possesses the ability to go 15 hard minutes.
Since 2016, Miller has gone 0-4 when fights go to decision. All of “A-10’s” wins since that time have ended in the first round. The last time Bobby Green was stopped in the first round was against the uncrowned lightweight champ, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (27-6-1 MMA, 19-5-1 UFC), also in 2016. One must applaud Jim Miller for soldiering through lyme-disease and still competing at the highest level. Miller is truly inspirational. But unfortunately, his cardio in recent fights has paid the ultimate price, as he cannot seem to win down the stretch when the battle gets extended at this point in his storied career. Jim Miller can win any fight in the early going with his opportunistic submission ability, but you’d have to go all the way back to 2009 to find the last time Green was submitted in a fight.
I believe Green and Miller are going to put on an exciting show for the fans with a close first round. But ultimately, I see Green running away with the decision in the latter half of the fight by simply outlanding Miller by a clear enough margin that even an incompetent judge will score it correctly.
Belal Muhammad (-400)
Palestinian-American Belal “Remember The Name” Muhammad (17-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) makes his first start of 2021 as he introduces Brazilian veteran Dhiego Lima (15-7 MMA, 4-5 UFC) to the top 15 of the welterweight division. Similar to the aforementioned Bobby Green versus Jim Miller fight, Muhammad and Lima possesses a resemblent stylistic quality in the sense that Belal will be the fighter with the higher workrate throughout the contest.
Lima’s best weapons, just like his brother Bellator welterweight world champion Douglas Lima (32-8 MMA), are his left hook and calf kicks. Two tools which can end the night for any opponent. Muhammad will need to avoid entering the pocket recklessly by using his constant stance switching, feints, and misdirection to confuse Lima, and ultimately outland him by a respectable clip. It would also behoove the gritty Muhammad to mix in timely takedowns. In fact, Muhammad has landed 21 takedowns in his 11 UFC appearances. A finish is not out of the question either, but Dhiego is very tough. Despite being stopped multiple times early in his UFC career, it seems as though Lima’s maturity and composure has greatly improved over the years. On the flipside, Belal Muhammad doesn’t take too many unnecessary risks, and rarely abandons his gameplans.
I predict Belal Muhammad controls more minutes of the fight, lands the higher number of strikes, scores a few takedowns, wins a clear decision and calls out a top 15 fighter.
Rodolfo Vieira (-400)
Rodolfo Vieira (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) versus Anthony Hernandez (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) is a situation we like to refer to on Half The Battle as “one takedown, and the fight will be over shortly after.” If you had to create Rodolfo Vieira in the EA Sports UFC 4 video game, because he’s not already in it, you would set his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling stats to 100 out of 100. And while his striking might not be anywhere near perfection, Vieira’s advantage on the mat is so superior that Hernandez most likely needs to knock Vieira out cold to win this fight. The only other path to victory I can think of for “Fluffy” Hernandez is to weather the early jiu-jitsu storm (way easier said than done) and chip away at a potentially fatigued opponent.
To Hernandez’ credit, he did defeat black belt and current UFC middleweight Brendan Allen (15-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) back on the LFA scene in 2018. However, there is a famous saying amongst Brazilians; “there’s black belts, and then there’s black belts” and Rodolfo Vieira, also known as the “Black Belt Hunter,” is the latter.
In this fight, I think Hernandez will probably land a few hard shots when the ref says “go,” but as soon as Vieira commits to a takedown attempt, it will only be a matter of time before the predator strangles its prey.
Check out our other MMA content for UFC 258
- Favorite Lines from Dan Tom (coming soon)