UFC on ESPN 4 Staff Picks: Predictions for Dos Anjos vs. Edwards

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2019

UFC on ESPN 4 Staff Picks: Predictions for Dos Anjos vs. Edwards

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    The UFC will not be taking the Alamo, but they will be taking the AT&T Center on Saturday in San Antonio for UFC on ESPN 4.

    On the marquee is a welterweight showcase between Rafael Dos Anjos and Leon Edwards. Both men are looking to make a statement and put themselves firmly in the title picture. The 170-pound main event is bolstered by three strong heavyweight clashes and two fantastic lightweight scraps.

    In the heavyweight division, Aleksei Oleinik and Walt Harris get the co-main event tag for the event. Also on the bill is Andrei Arlovski vs. Ben Rothwell and the return of Greg Hardy.

    James Vick and Dan Hooker return for what could easily be the Fight of the Night. Also making their Octagon return, Alexander Hernandez will look to get back in the win column against Francisco Trinaldo.

    The event is strong and should provide plenty of fireworks. But who will get their hand raised? The usual band of misfit toys are back at it again as Scott Harris, Nathan McCarter and Jonathan Snowden offer up their expert prognostications for UFC on ESPN 4.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Ben Rothwell

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    Scott Harris

    Does this fight really need to be broken down? Just batten down the hatches and let the boys be boys.

    Rothwell, KO, Rd. 1

    Jonathan Snowden

    Two gargantuan old men are going to throw them hands. My pick for fight of the night.

    Rothwell, KO, Rd. 1

    Nathan McCarter

    I've thought Arlovski was done so many times in the past, but he finds ways to stay relevant and dangerous. Unfortunately, this is still a bad matchup for him. I doubt this is the heavyweight banger we are all hoping to get. Rothwell uses his size to play in the clinch along the fence for 15 minutes. Uneventful start to the night.

    Rothwell, unanimous decision

Alexander Hernandez vs. Francisco Trinaldo

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    Harris

    You simply cannot kill Francisco Trinaldo. A loss to James Vick last February led to a stirring knockout of Evan Dunham in Trinaldo's home nation of Brazil. Now at age 40, he's as grizzled as they come, and just as lovable. He's an underdog to Hernandez, who's coming off that humbling at the hands of Donald Cerrone in January, but I'm never counting out Trinaldo, who will use the threat of his heavy hands to ward off Hernandez's forward pressure.

    Trinaldo, TKO, Rd. 1

    Snowden

    You've got to love Francisco Trinaldo. Unfortunately, by the time we've grown to love a fighter, it's usually a sign that he's past his prime and we're all destined for heartache. Trinaldo is 40 and can cause our hearts little but pain at this point.

    Hernandez, unanimous decision

    McCarter

    Hernandez made an impact in his UFC debut and quickly vaulted into big matchups. A little too quickly. Cerrone derailed the hype — which was a good thing. Hernandez will return better than ever on Saturday against a wily vet. He'll shut down Trinaldo's offense early to make him a sitting duck and then launch an assault that forces the referee to intervene.

    Hernandez, TKO, Rd. 1

James Vick vs. Dan Hooker

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    Harris

    I love this fight. Action will abound. Vick has a massive cut to make it to 155 pounds, and the hard-hitting Hooker will take advantage of the resulting vulnerability in the cranial department.

    Hooker, TKO, Rd. 2

    Snowden

    There's a boxing maxim that says "you never hook with a hooker." That doesn't really relate to this pick, but it is good advice, both for boxing and life.

    Hooker, TKO, Rd. 3

    McCarter

    I do not think this will be as swift or violent as the Vick-Gaethje meeting, but I do believe Hooker can exploit the same deficiencies in Vick's game. I also expect this fight to hit the canvas at some point as well. The accumulation of damage will wear down and be the end of Vick.

    Hooker, TKO, Rd. 2

Greg Hardy vs. Juan Adams

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    Harris

    Juan Adams has done a good job of positioning himself as the face to Hardy's well-deserved heel. And you know what, why can't the good guy win? Hardy remains as green as ever, his cardio is not exactly at automatic levels, and Adams isn't Dmitry Smolyakov.

    Adams, TKO, Rd. 1

    Snowden

    Hardy's comeuppance narrative requires a more famous protagonist and Adams is there to take an "L" and move the story forward. But I just can't bring myself to pick Greg Hardy.

    Adams, unanimous decision

    McCarter

    Until Hardy fights someone really notable, I won't pick against him in the UFC. Why? Because we know what they are doing. They are handpicking opponents for him to look good against throughout his development in the hopes he'll become a bankable contender.

    Hardy, TKO, Rd. 1

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Walt Harris

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    Harris

    Walt Harris has the crowd-pleasing knockout power everyone loves in the heavyweights, but don't forget: this guy was submitted by Fabricio Werdum in 65 seconds. Oleinik has 45 pro wins by way of tapout. Sometimes the math does itself.

    Oleinik, submission, Rd. 1

    Snowden

    Walt Harris is a big, strong guy who can put those big hammocks on you if given the opportunity. But we learned a long time ago that submission defense is one of those skillsets absolutely required for sustained success in this sport. Harris doesn't have it and, barring the perfect punch, will eventually get taken down and tapped.

    Oleinik, submission, Rd. 1

    McCarter

    I'm going to ride with Scott on this one. Oleinik will rebound from his recent loss with a submission victory here. Harris isn't as skilled or dynamic as Overeem, and Oleinik can survive the early heavy shots to wear on him until the choke presents itself.

    Oleinik, submission, Rd. 2

Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Leon Edwards

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    Harris

    Leon Edwards is no longer just a knockout artist. A split-decision win in his last outing over super-grappler Gunnar Nelson showed he has plenty of skills beyond striking. But he's still not as well-rounded as Dos Anjos, and the Brazilian's pressure will keep Edwards off balance.

    Dos Anjos, unanimous decision

    Snowden

    I agree with Scott. Leon Edwards is a really good fighter—but Dos Anjos is a great one. Almost every fighter eventually enters a contest that firmly establishes their level. This is that bout for Edwards, a top ten fighter just below the truly elite.

    Dos Anjos, unanimous decision

    McCarter

    I've loved Edwards' rise through the ranks, and I am a little bummed it has been underapprecited. Even still, his run stops in San Antonio.

    Dos Anjos is just a terrible stylistic matchup for him. A high pace with grueling grappling and strong leg kicks will take away almost all of Edwards' offense. Once he becomes one-dimensional, Dos Anjos will take him down and submit him.

    Dos Anjos, submission, Rd. 4