One of the Biggest Reasons Behind Kamaru Usman’s Sensational Win Against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258

Published 02/15/2021, 8:42 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: (L-R) Gilbert Burns of Brazil punches Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has been dominating the headlines following his record-setting win at UFC 258. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ came out on top against his former teammate Gilbert Burns who fell to strikes. The TKO came off the back of a switch-step jab that sent Burns to the canvas where he was finished.

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Kamaru Usman is now in line to become perhaps the greatest welterweight champion and eclipse Georges St-Pierre. This feat will be easier said than done considering that he still needs several title defenses notched under his belt before that happens. However, he’s still in his athletic prime and has shown no inclination to slow down any time soon.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 12: (L-R) Opponents Kamaru Usman of Nigeria and Gilbert Burns of Brazil face off during the UFC weigh-in at UFC APEX on February 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
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Kamaru Usman- Chartering new courses

The biggest narrative coming into UFC 258 was the fact that Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns had spent countless hours training. There was plenty of hype and speculation to see who would truly get the better of the other under the bright lights. However, Usman made his position clear as he left the cage with the undisputed strap still around his waist.

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A huge reason for Usman’s success at UFC 258 could be attributed to his move to Colorado. Usman where he linked up with Trevor Whittman who is one of the most credentialed MMA coaches. He has trained champions like Rose Namajunas and Justin Gaethje. In fact, Usman trained extensively with ‘The Highlight’ in preparation for his match-up in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 13: (R-L) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria punches Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event at UFC APEX on February 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

A key path to victory was highlighted in the way Kamaru Usman went about changing the course of the fight. Trevor Whittman’s coaching style relies on executing the perfect jab and this can be seen from all his high-level pupils. Usman who got rocked in the first round managed to change up his look and began throwing a picture-perfect jab.

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Additionally, he incorporated stance switches without any telegraphy and this led to a rather flashy victory in the end. It’s clear that moving away from South Florida helped to elevate his game when facing a familiar opponent. MMA fans will be excited to see the evolution to Usman’s striking that will come up after training with Whittman.

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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