UFC Fight Night 184: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov
Saturday, February 6 – UFC Apex, Las Vegas
There is always a little extra spice when former teammates collide and that is exactly what we have here as welterweight champion Kamaru Usman looks to defend his strap against the No. 1 ranked contender Gilbert Burns. Usman (17-1) has been moving up the pound-for-pound fighters list – he is now No. 5 on that esteemed ranking’s chart – and he is currently tied with the legendary George St.-Pierre for the longest winning streak in the history of the division, walking out of the octagon with his arm raised on 12 consecutive occasions.
Wins over the likes of Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley, and Jorge Masvidal – all fighting at the peak of their powers – have proven that Usman is an awesome champion and it will take something very special from Burns to beat him here.
Burns (19-3) will be fighting for his first UFC title here. The decision to move back to welterweight in 2019 – a much more sensible fighting weight for him at 170-pounds – has lead to a number of new career highs. His wins at the weight have all be dominant and they have been over the likes of Woodley, Gunnar Nelson, and Demian Maia.
The buildup to this fight has been nothing short of mundane, purely because of the level of respect between the two fighters given their former stats as stablemates. Burns is in terrific form – he has won six in a row and right of nine – and he is a fighter that has risen to this spot on the card simply by winning matches and looking great in doing so. Something that Usman has taken notice of:
“We hadn’t really trained a lot in the last couple years,” the champion said. “I think it does go away a little bit because he’s going to try hard, and I’m going to go in and get what I always do. … I like the fact he’s got all this confidence going into this. I like it. He’s put the work in the last year and a half. He’s done some good work and I see this and I recognize that. We both know.”
I like Usman to retain here. He lands 4.5 significant strikes per minute to 3.15 of Burns and he is a more accurate striker at 53% to 46%. He also averages more takedowns per 15 minutes than Burns at 3.38 to 2.21. Burns is a better submission fighter, but the striking edge gives Usman the advantage and play him in a parlay at 0.38 with BetXChange.
The co-main sees a pair of women’s’ flyweight fighters in action as No. 10 ranked Maycee Barber takes on No. 1 ranked Alexa Grasso. It is a bout neither can afford to lose as neither Grasso and her 4-3 UFC record or Barber and her 8-1 mark can afford a defeat if they want to continue to push towards a title show. Grasso won in a unanimous decision last time out in August 2020, while Barber has been on the shelf with a knee injury and hasn’t fought in the octagon since her only loss at the hands of Roxanne Modafferi last January.
This will be the evenly matched fight that the betting expects with the 22-year-old Barber and the 27-year-old Grasso both still on the upswing in their careers. The lean here is to Barber – assuming she is fully recovered from her injury – so take the younger fighter at 0.78 with BetXChange in what will be a close one.