UFC on ESPN 4 - Texas Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC on ESPN 4? Sunday 21st July, 2019 - 00:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC on ESPN 4? AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
What channel is UFC on ESPN 4? BT Sport 1
Where can I stream UFC on ESPN 4? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ which can you sign up to here!
Are tickets still available for UFC on ESPN 4? https://www.ufc.com/tickets
Rafael dos Anjos vs Leon Edwards
Leon Edwards has finally got his top five opponent as the former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos has accepted the challenge in a very tough fight with not much to gain for the veteran.
Edwards is on a seven-fight winning streak which is super impressive in such a stacked division and he has pipped some big names including the likes of Albert Tumenov, Vicente Luque, Donald Cerrone and Gunnar Nelson in his last fight. Edwards is a bad match-up for all the top welterweights. He is ranked outside the top ten but he is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC. He is a dangerous southpaw with a complete skill set.
However, Dos Anjos is a huge test for the Englishman. He has all the experience and is one of few welterweights more well-rounded than Edwards. The Brazilian has come up short recently against elite wrestlers Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman but he showed off his world class jiu-jitsu in his last fight by submitting Kevin Lee.
This may not be the most exciting scrap with a blockbuster finish but we will witness two of the best very best welterweights show off their world class skills. It will be a very technical contest starting on the feet but it is likely to spill out into clinches with both men trying to assume control.
Edwards is so tricky in the grappling exchanges and has a nasty elbow when exiting the clinch. He has the cardio to take Dos Anjos into deep waters and all the way into the championship rounds. However, the Brazilian’s experience in five-round fights will be crucial to holding his nerve and conserving enough energy to inflict more damage in the later rounds whether that be on the feet or on the ground.
If Edwards can keep up his excellent defence and utilise his reach, he can easily bank three rounds but Dos Anjos should just have enough to sway the judges although it could easily go either way.
Winner: Dos Anjos via Decision
Alexey Oleynik vs Walt Harris
The stalwart Alexey ‘The Boa Constrictor’ Oleynik walks out for his 71st MMA fight to take on Walt ‘The Big Ticket’ Harris who is hell-bent on notching the 13th knockout of his career.
After two vintage submission wins over Junior Albini and Mark Hunt, Oleynik is coming off a knockout loss to Alistair Overeem which is a fate suffered by some of the best. He seemed to give up trying to grapple with the legendary striker but knows Harris’ grappling is not on the same level as Overeem’s and will look to capitalise on it.
Just by looking at Harris’ record, you know what to expect. With all his wins ending in knockout, he has the power to finish Oleynik quickly just like he did to Sergey Spivak in his last fight - welcoming him to the UFC with an onslaught of elbows.
Oleynik was unable to inflict his will on Overeem in his last fight but Harris will be easier to take down. Oleynik just needs to avoid the ferocious speed and power of ‘The Big Ticket’ as he shoots in for a takedown or a clinch.
The ‘The Boa Constrictor’ just needs to get his hands on Harris as he has the skills to wrap up a submission from anywhere, even from the feet where he has pulled off an Ezekiel choke an astonishing 12 times in his career.
Winner: Oleynik via Submission
Gregy Hardy vs Juan Adams
The former NFL star returns to the cage to realise his MMA potential but excitingly there is beef to settle as fellow heavyweight Juan Adams has been stirring the pot and making his feelings clear towards the controversial bruiser.
The former defensive end is an athletic beast and if he can continue to tune up his skills and work on his cardio, he is going be a big threat in the division. He has had five fights and starched every opponent, even Allen Crowder, although he delivered an illegal knee to lose the fight via disqualification.
Interestingly, Adams matches up very similarly on paper. All his wins have come via knockout and has a huge bulldozing frame, although he has had to cut weight to hit the 265 lb mark. He strung five knockouts together but stepped up in competition in his last fight against Arjun Bhullar and lost via unanimous decision.
Both men are going to swing and they will connect which means this fight won’t last long. Adding in the fact they do not like each other at all, we are likely to see a violent exchange.
Adams can easily find the shot to set up the finish and also has wrestling in his arsenal but an angry Hardy is a terrifying prospect and, as he is training at American Top Team, he will be improving at a drastic rate and will have more skills to blow Adams out of the water.
Winner: Hardy via KO/TKO
James Vick vs Dan Hooker
James Vick welcomes the Kiwi Dan Hooker to Texas as both men look to recover from having their winning streaks chewed up and spat out.
James Vick was on a four-fight winning streak with wins over Abel Trujillo, Marco Polo Reyes, Joe Duffy and Francisco Trinaldo which set up a meeting with Justin Gaethje. Vick was confident but Gaethje spectacularly cleaned his clock in the first round. He then looked to bounce back but met another monster in the shape of Paul Felder who claimed a unanimous decision.
Hooker was also riding an impressive four-fight winning streak, finishing Ross Pearson, Marc Diakiese, Jim Miller and Gilbert Burns. However, he met Edson Barboza who violently assaulted him over three rounds before eventually finishing him with a ruthless liver shot.
What was so impressive about their winning streaks was witnessing how well-rounded they are with knockouts and submissions. They are primarily strikers but are also exceptional grapplers although we are likely to see both men search for a knockout as a plan A.
They both have knockout power but a knockout is likely to come after an accumulation of strikes. This will be a close contest but the difference could come in Hooker’s power. Vick depletes himself too much at lightweight and Hooker’s experience with Barboza and sparring with Israel Adesanya should give him the edge.
Winner: Hooker via KO/TKO
Alexander Hernandez vs Francisco Trinaldo
The young prodigy Alexander Hernandez looks to bounce back from his first loss in ten fights as he takes on the Brazilian veteran Francisco Trinaldo.
Hernandez blasted into the UFC with a first-round knockout over top talent Beneil Dariush to announce himself as the new kid on the block. He then claimed a unanimous decision over Oliver Aubin-Mercier to set up a fight with the legendary Donald Cerrone who bought him back down earth with a vicious head kick and first knockout loss of his career.
This will be Trinaldo’s 19th UFC fight and at the ripe old age of 40, he is still handing out beatings. After suffering his first loss in eight fights against Kevin Lee, he responded well with a decision over Jim Miller but lost again against James Vick. However, he pulled off arguably the best finish of his career in his last fight. He folded Evan Dunham with a beautifully timed knee to the liver with no follow up shots required.
This should be a great fight. Hernandez is ultra-aggressive and Cerrone humbled him in his last fight but this will make him a better fighter and the experience will be important against another veteran striker.
He may be more hesitant to rush forward knowing Trinaldo will be waiting to take his head off so he may rely on his wrestling in this fight. In a stand-up battle you have to favour Trinaldo but Hernandez has the power, speed and youth to out-wrestle the Brazilian for three rounds.
Winner: Hernandez via Decision
Andrei Arlovski vs Ben Rothwell
Two wily old veterans head to Texas desperate to pick up a win. Andrei Arlovski is dragging out his career and after losing his return fight after a two-year suspension, Ben Rothwell is yearning for that winning feeling again.
Many are hoping for Arlovski to close the curtain on his illustrious career after winning only two of his last 11 fights. He has lost his last four via decisions to Tai Tuivasa, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai. His loss to Harris was later overturned after a failed drugs test but safe to say ‘The Pitbul’ is past his prime.
Also past his prime is Rothwell, who hasn’t won a fight since January 2016. Junior dos Santos snapped his impressive four-fight win streak but after three years out he returned to fight Blagoy Ivanov and lost via a unanimous decision, although he fought a lot better than the scorecards suggested.
A fight between these lumps in their prime would have been a spectacle but Arlovski is a shadow of his former self and Rothwell has no momentum. Arlovski’s last seven fights have gone to a decision but he still has knockout power.
Rothwell looked decent against Ivanov considering the lay-off and the Bulgarian is one of the most durable fighters in the UFC so was never going to put him away. If Rothwell improves on that performance he should have enough to out-point the Belarussian.
Winner: Rothwell via Decision