Gilbert Burns

The one and only Gamebred Masvidal is back for his 52nd pro-MMA fight against another top contender in Gilbert “Durhino” Burns. Both of these men have fought for and were unable to reach the title over the last couple of years, but both men seemingly are hungry for one more run.

That being said, Masvidal has been open about potential retirement if this fight does not go his way, so Burns will be looking to retire the Miami native in his hometown.

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Betting Odds

Gilbert Burns who is coming off of a stunning submission of Neil Magny will walk into the cage as a -454 favorite.

Fight Breakdown

Gilbert Burns has the luxury of having a style with which he can take a few cues from Masvidal’s last fight. Like Colby Covington who defeated Masvidal at UFC 272, Burns depends on a high-paced grappling heavy gameplan. While his overall wrestling may not be as educated as Covington’s, Burns arguably has a more dangerous and powerful striking game and a more dangerous submission repertoire.

However, at the end of the day, time spent in a kickboxing match with Masvidal is time for Masvidal to set traps and make use of them over the fight if Burns is unable to hit the mark. Burns should look to use his level changes to open up his striking opportunities and avoid a pure striking exchange. One of the craftiest tactics used by Burns is a long stretching level change in which he essentially drops into a lunge, hooks one leg, and comes up to drive into the cage. Once he established this, the same movement, lunging forward, opens up his right cross or overhand as his opponent’s arms drop for the takedown, it’s setups like these that can freeze a better pure striker like Masvidal.

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When Burns does commit to the stretching takedown, he often does not land the initial shot but instead gets ahold of the leg and chain wrestles his way into securing the second attempt. On top, very few have the Brazilain Jiu Jitsu prowess of Burns, who masterfully flattens his opponents and passed guards. He will look to attack arm triangles on Masvidal if Masvidal lays flat, but as soon as Masvidal tries to scramble or turn to get to his feet, is when Burns will then use the head on the outside of the arm to swivel and instead take the back. It’s his ability to move from flattened-out submissions to the back and vice versa that can drown his opponents. Especially someone like Mavidal who needs to create space, and is dynamic enough to keep the scrambles going.

For Masvidal he has to try to work on his feet, stay on his feet and get back to his feet. He is supremely tricky and crafty as a veteran but he is in a tricky position. We have seen Masvidal masterfully utilize the cage to peel off opponents taking the back and to stay upright, but unless he can punish Burns for doing so the clock is only running out on him. Masvidal may be one of the very best at hitting short elbows and knees inside, at an unusually tight distance, and if Burns takes even a moment to breathe, these need to be there.

At the range, Masvidal is very good at setting up power shots with feints and twitching movement. However, his signature, cross-step sprint may be to big a risk against Burns who, if timed right could easily level change underneath the barrage with his particular style of takedowns. Instead. if Masvidal can get Burns to bite on his potential bursts, knees down the pipe could be a dangerous weapon.

Prediction and Betting Guide

I do see a lot of similarities in this fight as Masvidal vs. Covington, with an added submission and power threat from Burns. Masvidal has the tools to shake things up in opportune moments, especially in clinch breaks, if there are rest positions against the cage, or if Burns finds himself getting desperate at any point, but in general, the ability to control the fight is in Burns’s corner.

Over three rounds, I do think that Burns can put Masvidal on the fence and work him enough to eventually get him to the mat if unable on the initial attempts, and then ride the fight from there.

While I think the submission attempts will be there, the experience of Masvidal and the five-round experience will make him very difficult to stop in three rounds, so a pick-by decision may be a smart move.

Picks: Gilbert Burns to win (-454) and by decision (+160)

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