Gilbert Burns will finally receive his shot at the welterweight title this Saturday night as he faces Kamaru Usman on the main event of UFC 258. Despite the lack of ‘hype’ around the prelims and main card, many fights are flying over the heads of fans with real potential for FOTY bonuses. Join me as I preview the UFC 258 prelims!
Polyana Viana vs Mallory Martin
Kicking off the UFC 258 prelims we have a bout in the women’s strawweight division between two unranked fighters. Both Polyana Viana (11-4) and Mallory Martin (7-3) are looking to start off their own winning streak on Saturday coming off a victory each from 2020, which funnily enough occurred on the same night.
The similarities don’t stop there as both fighters also finished their opponent via submission. Viana securing a arm bar submission over her Emily Whitmire while Martin secured a rear-naked choke submission victory over Hannah Cifers who herself holds a win over Viana.
Unlike what many would assume of a female bout, this one doesn’t look likely to be left to the judges. Viana knows her path to victory will be to finish her opponent with all of her wins coming inside the distance (7 Sub, 4 TKO/KO). Meanwhile, Martin has yet to see the judge’s scorecards in either of her UFC appearances.
However, should the fight go the distance Martin should be the favourite to have her hand lifted as her favoured method of victory is via decision.
Belal Muhammad vs Dhiego Lima
UFC fans will be craving this UFC 258 prelims matchup ever since the fight was rescheduled to this card having originally been scheduled to take place on UFC Vegas 17 the last event of 2020.
Belal Muhammad (17-3) and Dhiego Lima (15-7) are both looking to continue their stride in the welterweight division coming off three-fight winning streaks as they face each other at UFC 258.
Despite what his recent record says with two back-to-back split decision victories, the result doesn’t seem to tell the whole story, with Lima obtaining in the majority’s eyes two comfortable victories.
With no arguing over the result which started off his impressive win streak, a first round walk off knockout of opponent Chad Laprise which gave him the confidence he needed to take on the welterweight division.
Belal ‘Remember the Name’ Muhammad recently entered the rankings and will be looking to continue his rise in the division with a victory over Lima on Saturday night. Muhammad’s three UFC losses have come to respectable opponents in Geoff Neal, Alan Jouban, and Vicente Luque. With two of those sitting above him in the welterweight rankings.
The 32-year-old will need to first overcome Lima then some of the best of the top ten if he is to become in title contention at any point in the near future.
Rodolfo Vieira vs Anthony Hernandez
Rodolfo Vieira (7-0) steps into octagon chasing a third consecutive UFC win as he takes on Anthony Hernandez (7-2) in a middleweight bout in the penultimate prelim.
Hernandez takes place in his first fight since his loss to the man who Dana White selected as his fighter of the year, Kevin Holland. The 27-year-old is a talented grappler having five submission victories to his name of his seven total wins.
His opponent, Vieira, is also a talented grappler, holding six submission victories out of his seven professional victories. However, should the fight go to the mat during Saturday’s prelim, then expect Vieira to totally outclass Hernandez in every aspect with ‘The Black Belt Hunter’ being a jiu-jitsu specialist.
One problem which exists for Hernandez is within his standup – where the American will want to keep the fight on Saturday – from which he takes a lot of damage. Which was highlighted in his last bout against Holland, who made quick work from the 27-year-old having to cut the distance to get close to the ‘Trailblazer’ who took advantage of Hernandez’s naivety and punished ‘Fluffy’ in devastating style.
Hernandez’s two career losses have both stemmed from strikes to the body, a leg kick by Perez who pounced on ‘Fluffy’ before submitting him and a knee to the body by Holland.
This is an area Vieira may wish to target in the short time the fight may take place on the feet. Although, not much has been seen of Vieira’s striking due to his dominance as a grappler and little octagon experience.
Vieira, may also take advantage of Hernandez’s forward pressure to use his explosive takedown ability to catch the American off guard and gain his hold on him.
Should Hernandez be unable to defend the takedowns or get back to his feet quick enough, then this fight should heavily favour the Brazilian who will look to grab yet another submission victory to his collection.
Jim Miller vs Bobby Green
UFC veterans Jim Miller (32-15) and Bobby Green (27-11-1) will cap off the UFC 258 prelims of UFC 258 as both look to get back to winning ways with a win on Saturday night.
Saturday’s final prelim will take place in the lightweight division and will see Miller retake the UFC record for most appearances in the octagon to take a one fight lead on Donald Cerrone with 37 fights to his name in the UFC.
Green was rather unfortunate in his last loss, a split decision defeat to Thiago Moises in which was described as a “robbery” by many on social media. The 34-year-old looked to have extended his winning streak to four before being stunned to hear his opponent Moises being announced as the winner.
Jim Miller is coming off a loss vs Vinc Pinchel last August, where he was controlled for the last two rounds both in the clinch and wrestling exchanges and lost on unanimous decision.
The path to victory for Bobby Green will be to maintain his distance, control the center of the octagon and use his striking ability to earn a decision victory. While for Miller, to ensure his hand is raised on Saturday night he will need to cut the distance, obtain control, look for a takedown and then possibly chase that first-round submission that his victories are so accustomed to.
However, Green is no slouch, therefore this method of victory is unlikely and both fighters should expect to hear the final bell. Bobby Green knows both how to defend a submission and obtain a submission. Which means both fighters are capable in wherever the fight takes place.
Green’s advantage in striking ability should see him obtain his fourth victory in under a year as the veteran continues to make moves in the lightweight division.
Follow me on Twitter @Dionwills16 for news and discussions.
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