Gilbert Burns vs Kamaru Usman Predictions UFC 251 #fightisland

The main event Gilbert Burns vs Kamaru Usman predictions for UFC 251 is one of those fights I would have laughed at you for even predicting just a year ago. So, now it’s the premier event for Fight Island?? We are getting an absolutely stacked card to kick things off for UFC 251 and there’s not 1, not 2, but 3 title fights to get things started.

Gilbert Burns is challenging Kamaru Usman at 170 for the strap. This fight has all the elements for a fight of the year contender and we just have to find an angle to bet on it. Win, lose, or draw this fight should be an absolute treat. But hey! If we are going to be watching we might as well make some cash while we are at it right?

Gilbert Burns vs Kamaru Usman Odds

UFC 250 Welterweight Championship Gilbert Burns Kamaru Usman
To Win Outright +175 -213

Burns was an absolutely gigantic lightweight who discovered he was cutting too much and made the move to 170 after his KO loss to Dan Hooker in 2018. Since jumping up to 170 Gilbert has looked like an unstoppable force and is coming into his prime putting it all together right in front of our eyes. Usman is the undisputed champion at 170 who is fresh off his first title defense and the fight of his life against Colby Covington in December. Usman and Burns have been training partners for years and this is giving me shades of Jones vs Evans back in the day when friends turned to enemies when the strap was the only thing between them.

UFC Fighter Kamaru Usman   
Odds -213
Age 33 years old
Height 6’0
Reach 76’
Wins by Decision 8
Win/Loss 16-1
Finish Rate 50%

Kamaru Usman wasn’t lying when he said he beat Sergio Moraes and it was only 30%! I’ll be honest… I scoffed at him. I have never been sold on Usman and it’s one of the biggest blunders of my betting career. I doubted this man every step of the way and even laid a massive bet on Tyron Woodley when they faced off for the belt last year. The domination of Colby Covington is what finally opened my eyes and allowed me to see just how talented this man is.

Usman has steamrolled his way through the UFC’s 170-pound division and transformed from a high caliber wrestler to being a well rounded mixed martial artist right in front of us. The boxing skills and raw power that Usman showed off in his title defense against Covington was something else and will give problems to most fighters in the division. The fact that Usman never stops moving forward and has that grappling in his back pocket makes him a serious issue at this stage of his career because the one hole he had was the striking, but that window has closed. It’s going to take a serious competitor and the perfect night to take the belt from Usman.

UFC Fighter Gilbert Burns   
Odds +175
Age 33 years old
Height 5’10
Reach 71’
Wins by Submission 8
Win/Loss 19-3
Finish Rate 74%

“Durinho” is on a tear! He snatched this title shot out from under the nose of Masvidal just by putting his nose to the grindstone. It’s absolutely insane to think that Burns is challenging for the belt in one of the most back-logged divisions in UFC history after being a member for just a year and a half. Burns took the “Cowboy” approach and took every fight and simply won them all.

Burns is an extremely high-level BJJ black belt with an offensive submission game and he seems to have absorbed the wrestling of Usman from his years of training with the champion and has blended the two skills extremely well. Burns has speed and raw power on the feet that he has been showing off in his recent fights dropping Tyron Woodley and flatlining Demian Maia. Burns is in the best form of his life right now.

Gilbert Burns vs Kamaru Usman: The Matchup

After Burns was KO’d by Dan Hooker he seems to have turned a new leaf and similarly to Usman has become insanely well rounded. These men trained together for years and have sharpened each other to the point that one fee’s good enough about his chances to challenge his former training partner. This whole thing very likely came as a huge surprise to Kamaru Usman.

Imagine training with a lightweight who eventually makes the move to 170. No biggie right? Well maybe one day you will have to cross the bridge of fighting each other, but the line for the title is already so long there’s no way that’s happening any time soon. Oh, what’s that? None of the top contenders will fight? And he just took out the #1 contender?? Oh crap!

Usman has uprooted himself to avoid issues and moved out to Team Elevation to train with the mastermind behind Justin Gaethje and the new interim champion. In my opinion, this is a fantastic move, but I don’t know if Usman is going to get the most out of it with the amount of time he has. If he had time for a full camp with this team I would be heavily favoring him here, but in this short window, I’m not sure just how much Usman can evolve even though it is a positive for him.

In my opinion, there is something to be said about activity in the sport of MMA. If you aren’t injured staying in fight shape and staying motivated is far better than taking long absences and attempting to come back. Recently it seems like Usman is having a hard time staying active. Part of that is the log jam at 170 with Colby, Masvidal, Woodley, and Edwards all having legitimate claims to the #1 contender spot but another issue is Usman just seems to have broken down a bit.

He only fought twice in 2019 and it is well documented that his knees are blown from all his years wrestling so there may be a chance of a steep drop coming in Usman’s fighting career. I’m not saying he’s shot, but when you have the kind of grinding style that Usman has fought with for years on top of a long wrestling career that’s a lot of strain on your body. Combine that with the fact that he went to war with Colby Covington in his last fight and absorbed 143 significant strikes and you can’t count out the chance of Usman getting old overnight. I am not saying it happens this fight, but I think it will happen and likely in the near future.

I am well documented as a Burns backer and we have cashed on him time and time again. In fact, Burns is 6-0 at 170 and I am 6-0 placing bets on him and I am not stopping now. When you are betting a hot streak in MMA you can only hit it once! If you hop off that train early there’s no way to get back on it, the streak for you is already over. I refuse to get off the Burns train until he stops cashing. If there is a fighter out there who can match Usman on the mat it will be Burns and I even give Burns the edge due to his BJJ skill set.

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This will likely offset the fear of being taken down by Usman most fighters face and we have got to think that Burns wouldn’t have taken this fight if he didn’t think he could win it. Something in training has Burns confident that he can beat Usman in that cage. On the feet, Usman will have a reach advantage, but Burns has the edge in hand speed and that left hook has been straight money. If Burns can get inside and land the way Colby did I think he can put Usman down. The trick here is the line. I would just sit back and wait for a better line.

Right now Burns is a decent sized dog, but Usman’s record and that clip of him training with Gaethje will have people flowing towards laying the chalk. We have a full week before we even need to consider making a move, so sit back and watch that line. Closer to fight time I believe we get better odds. If you do like the side of Usman I would bet it sooner than later. This is a bet that I have to make. I don’t like stepping in front of Usman again after learning a painful lesson but I cannot abandon Burns when he has done nothing but show up for me for the last 2 years.

The Pick: Gilbert Burns