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With the UFC’s 2021 calendar just days away from opening with a trio of events in Abu Dhabi to be topped by rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, the UFC has wasted little time in stacking the deck even further.

After two previous attempts to get the fight off the ground, the UFC 258 on February 13 looks to be the date that Kamaru Usman will defend his 170-pound title against top contender Gilbert Burns. Bout agreements are yet to be signed, reports MMA Fighting, but verbal agreements are understood to be in place.

Burns was initially slated to fight Usman in July after coming out on top in the welterweight sweepstakes when Jorge Masvidal and the UFC couldn’t agree terms. However, Burns soon produced a positive Covid test which dumped him out of the fight, prompting the UFC to reopen negotiations with Masvidal — who would eventually lose a clearcut decision to the champion.

The UFC then targeted a December date for the fight but have eventually settled for February 13. Burns and Usman are former training partners in the now-closed Blackzillians gym in Florida and will both come into the fight on the back of extended winning streaks at 170 (Burns 6; Usman 16).

As is commonplace nowadays, no location has yet been set for the event but it would appear that the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas would be the mostly likely host.