Kamara Usman vs Gilbert Burns has been a long time in the making. The pair were supposed to go toe-to-toe at UFC 251 in July last year. However, Burns was forced to withdraw due to testing positive for covid-19, leaving Jorge Masvidal to step in to face welterweight champion Usman instead. They were then tipped to square up at UFC 256 in December, but Burns once again pulled out, this time citing injury.
The fight will now co-headline UFC 258 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on January 13th, and it’s sure to be a thrilling encounter. The Burns vs Usman odds are favoring the latter, but the pair are old sparring partners and they will know each other like the back of their hands, making it a tough bout to call.
Nonetheless, Burns is extremely confident that he can deliver just Usman’s second defeat of his professional career. So, let’s take a look back at the Brazilian’s last five bouts to decipher if he truly has an upset in his locker. Read on to find out more.
Tyron Woodley – Win via decision (unanimous)
Burns’ victory over former world champion Tyron Woodley in Vegas last May is evidence that the Brazilian can upset the odds. The 33-year-old overcame the challenge of Woodley to land a sixth successive victory. Burns was dominant throughout the five-round bout, cutting open his opponent in the first round before successful takedowns in the second and fourth. The judge’s scorecards all read heavily in Burns’ favour with the final outcome 50-45, 50-44, 50-44, and the Brazilian landed the Performance of the Night award.
Demian Maia – Win via TKO (punches)
A TKO victory over compatriot Demian Maia was a fight of mixed emotions for Burns. The pair co-headlined the Brasília-based event in March 2020, and it was an emphatic performance from ‘Durinho’ as he finished off his opponent with a flurry of strong punches inside just two-and-a-half minutes.
However, afterwards Burns said: “It was so emotional. I have so much respect for the guy. When he was hurt, I wanted to stop already. But the referee didn’t stop it, so I kept going. I felt a little (bad) that I beat up a guy that I always idolized, and there was something deep inside that was like, ‘Ahhh.’ But I have to do what I have to do.”
Gunnar Nelson – Win via decision (unanimous)
Burns and Icelandic fighter Gunnar Nelson traded blows on the main card of Jared Cannonier vs Jack Hermansson at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen in September 2019. Despite both black belts being known for their grappling style of fighting, they spent much of the three rounds exchanging punches and kicks. In the end, Burns came out on top with all three judge’s scorecards narrowly reading 29-28. It was back-to-back defeats for Nelson, and he hasn’t returned to the Octagon since.
Alexey Kunchenko – Win via decision (unanimous)
Burns upset the odds again by defeating Alexey Kunchenki on the main card of Shevcehnko vs Carmouche 2 in Uruguay in August 2019. The Russian was on a 20-fight unbeaten streak, but he met his match in Durinho. Burns was making a return to welterweight for the first time in over five years, but three takedowns in each of the three rounds was enough to win the judges over and it was another full display of 29-28 across the scorecards.
Mike Davis – Win via submission (rear-naked choke)
Burns was supposed to take on Eric Wisely on the main card of Jacaré vs. Hermansson in April 2019. However, his opponent pulled out and hot-prospect Mike Davis was recruited at short notice for the Florida-based event. However, whilst you can’t fault the American for taking on the fight at short notice, he was dealt the second defeat of his professional career, with Burns forcing him to submit in the second round.