he UFC returns to action this weekend with UFC 258 at its Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the main event, Kamaru Usman defends the UFC welterweight title against Gilbert Burns. This bout was originally scheduled for UFC 251 in July 2020 but the bout was postponed after Burns tested positive for COVID-19. It was rescheduled for UFC 256 in December of last year but Usman pulled out of the bout due to injury.
But before the welterweight title will be contested, and prior to the main card, an exciting prelims undercard will open the show. Let’s take a look at the fights and pick our winners:
Bobby Green is the former King of Cage lightweight and junior welterweight champion. The 34-year old from San Bernardino, California also competed for Tachi Palace, Strikeforce, and Affliction. After a period from 2014-2019 where he won once in seven fights, Green went 3-1 last year to resurrect his career. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 71 inches. Green’s record is 27-11 with eight knockouts and 9 wins via submission.
Jim Miller is a former Cage Fury Fighting Championship lightweight title. This 37-year old brother of fellow UFC fighter Dan Miller has more lightweight fights than any fighter in the history of the UFC. Miller’s 9 submission wins are also a division record. He is just 4-7 in his last 11 bouts and 32-15 with 4 knockouts and 18 submissions. Miller is a southpaw who stands 5-8 tall with a 71-inch reach.
Miller’s best shot here is to take this fight down and grind out a victory using his still-dangerous top game and pressure. But Green is two inches taller than Miller and has the kind of wrestling that will keep this fight on the feet. In the standup, he has a considerable edge over Miller in boxing skills and will win a striking battle any given day. Unless Miller consistently takes Green down or hurts him early, I like Green to win this fight on points.
Prediction: Bobby Green
Rodolfo Viera is s former Brazilian and World BJJ champion. The 31-year old from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil fought for Absolute Championship Berkut before joining the UFC in 2019. Viera has an impressive MMA record of 7-0 with one knockout and six wins via submission. He is an orthodox fighter who stands six feet tall with a reach of 73 inches.
Anthony Hernandez fought for Global Knockout and Legacy Fighting Alliance, where he was the LFA middleweight champion. The 27-year old from Dunnigan, California joined the UFC via the Contender Series. Fluffy is 7-2 with one knockout and five wins via submission. He stands six feet tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.
Hernandez will be the toughest opponent Viera has ever faced and he also has the edge in striking over the “Black Belt Hunter”. But Hernandez’s striking advantage will go for naught if he can’t keep this fight on the feet. Doing that against a physical powerhouse like Viera will be difficult. I think Viera’s technical prowess and BJJ will shut down Hernandez’s offense. Viera will force his way to the mat and I won’t be surprised if he gets a submission win.
Prediction: Rodolfo Viera
Belal Muhamad is the former Titan FC welterweight champion. The 32-year old Chicago native joined the UFC in 2016 and lost two out of his first three UFC bouts. Since then Muhammad has lost just once in his last eight fights and is currently on a three-fight winning streak. He has a record of 17-3 with four knockouts and one win via submission. Muhammad is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 inches.
Dhiego Lima is also a former Titan FC welterweight champion. This 32-year old Brazilian was a contestant at The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption tournament where he lost to Jessie Taylor in the Finals. Lima was also the runner-up at the TUF 19 tournament and he has a record of 15-7 with four knockouts and four wins via submission. He is 6-2 tall with a reach of 75 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Muhammad doesn’t have the stopping ability but Lima has looked fragile on the feet and the former should have the edge in a striking affair. Muhammad also possesses the kind of wrestling that has troubled Lima in the past. Lima is taller and longer but Muhammad has proved that he can overcome that disadvantage. I don’t see how Muhammad doesn’t win this. Whether he decides to trade on the feet or cruise on the ground, I think he has a clear path to victory.
Prediction: Belal Muhammad
Viana is the former Jungle Fight strawweight champion. The 28-year old Brazilian joined the UFC in 2018 and ended up losing three out of her first four Octagon assignments. In her last fight, however, she submitted Emily Whitmire to improve her record to 11-4 with four knockouts and seven wins via submission. Viana is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 67 inches.
Mallory Martin fought for Invicta FC and also appeared in the Contender Series. The 27-year old lost to Virna Jandiroba in her UFC debut but bounced back to defeat Hannah Cifers in her last assignment. Martin is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-4 tall with a reach of 63 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. She has a record of 7-3 with two knockouts and two wins via submission.
This is going to be one of the more interesting fights of the evening. Martin has strong wrestling and has good striking but was nearly sparked by Hannah Cifers. Viana has good punching power and a sneaky submission game but has not proved herself as a contender. Both have noticeable flaws and this bout should go down to who executes better on fight night. I think this is anybody’s fight but if you force me to choose, I will go with Viana who is more dangerous on the ground.
Prediction: Polyana Viana
Ricky Simon is the former Legacy FC bantamweight champion who also fought for Titan FC. The 28-year old from Vancouver, Washington joined the UFC in 2018 and is 5-2 inside the UFC Octagon. Simon is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 69 inches. His overall record is 17-3 with five knockouts and three wins via submission.
Brian Kelleher is a former Ring of Combat bantamweight champion who also fought for Bellator and CES MMA. The 34-year old from Selden, New York joined the UFC in 2017 and is 6-4 under the promotion. Kelleher has a record of 22-11 with eight knockouts and 10 wins via submission. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 66 inches.
Simon has the speed, striking, and takedowns but will have to be careful against Kelleher who possesses an ever-present guillotine threat. The former has looked fragile at times and could fall into that trap here. However, Simon has excellent scrambling skills that should limit Kelleher’s submission threats. Simon will be going for takedowns from start to finish. Kelleher won’t be able to launch a sustained offense. Give me Ricky Simon to win this fight with the pace that outworks Kelleher.
Prediction: Ricky Simon
Gabriel Green fought for CXF and Bellator before joining the UFC. He lost to Daniel Rodriguez in his Octagon debut In May 2020, snapping a six-fight winning streak. The 27-year old from Downey, California has a record of 9-3 with three knockouts and six wins via submission. He is a switch hitter who stands 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches.
Phillip Rowe fought for BGMMA and Square Ring Productions before joining the Contender Series Season 3 where he defeated Leon Shahbazyan via TKO. The 30-year old from Queens, New York is 6-3 tall with a reach of 80 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. He has a record of 7-3 with three knockouts and four wins via submission.
Rowe is 6-3 with a reach of 80.5 and both are massive at welterweight. But those won’t be enough to beat Green who is more durable and hits harder. Green though has poor takedown defense and Rowe could take advantage of that. But while he can take the fight down, Rowe doesn’t have the ground offense to dominate. This will likely turn into a slugfest which will be won by the more durable fighter.
Prediction: Gabe Green
Gillian Robertson is the winningest flyweight in the UFC with a total of six division wins. The 25-year old from Ontario, Canada joined the UFC in 2017 and is 6-3 inside the Octagon. She heads to this bout coming off a loss to Talia Santos and has a record of 9-5 with one knockout and six wins via submission. Robertson is 5-5 tall with a reach of 63 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.
Miranda Maverick is a former Invicta FC Phoenix Series 2 flyweight tournament winner who joined the UFC last year. The 23-year old won her UFC debut against Liana Jojua at UFC 254. She has won four straight bouts and has a record of 8-2 with one knockout and five wins via submission. This southpaw stands 5-3 tall and has a reach of 65 inches.
Robertson has one of the best top control game in this division but has shown the inability to do much if the takedowns aren’t there. Maverick has good wrestling and decent striking who can leave herself open to being taken down. Both women have the skill set to take advantage of the other’s weaknesses but Maverick has worked on hers better. I think Maverick’s edge in striking and volume will be the keys to victory here.
Prediction: Miranda Maverick
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