UFC On ESPN 4 takes place tomorrow night in San Antonio, Texas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Leon Edwards
Two very talented, well-rounded welterweight are on display in the main event in what should be a very evenly contested fight.
On the feet Dos Anjos is a pressure fighter with high volume striking and the capability to put together potent combinations, but his strikes don’t have the same kind of impact as they do down at lightweight. That doesn’t hold him back though as he’s broad skill-set, which also includes a strong clinch game and dangerous submissions still makes him a serious player at 170lbs.
Edwards also has a lot to offer, being a striker with knockout power who has actually found more success as a wrestler in the UFC and isn’t afraid to just apply a grinding approach to emerge victorious.
RDA has had some difficulty with top-of-the-food-chain wrestlers at 170lbs, but I believe Edwards sits just below that level, where the Brazilian can still remain competitive.
Meanwhile, RDA’s pace, pressure and higher volume of strikes are going to make it hard for Edwards and his lower output, counter-striking and so I see Dos Anjos edging out a close fight on the scorecards here.
Rafael dos Anjos wins by decision.
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Walt Harris
Harris is big, imposing and hits hard, but his athleticism can be underutilized at times and that can leave him stuck in the mud a little with slower-paced fights and a lack of the kind of well-rounded skillset that would help him progress beyond his current level at heavyweight.
If this one stays on the feet then the 42-year-old Oleinik won’t be doing much to increase the tempo, but he is durable enough to take a few shots while looking for openings to take Harris to the mat, which is where ‘The Boa Constrictor’ excels.
I don’t expect to see much from Harris off his back and Oleinik should be able to add to his already impressive record of submission finishes here inside the first five minutes.
Aleksei Oleinik wins by submission in Rd1.
Greg Hardy vs. Juan Adams
For all his faults, there’s no doubt that the controversial former NFL player Hardy has plenty of athletic potential, but as yet in the UFC he hasn’t displayed much apart from having rudimentary striking skills and knockout power.
That makes Adams a potential banana-skin for him as though he’s no world-beater, he has a more developed fight game than Hardy. He moves well for his size, he’s got power in his hands and most importantly he can wrestle too.
Hardy doesn’t seem to have much of a ground game to speak of yet, so if Adams can avoid letting his emotions get the better of him and avoid a slugfest on the feet, then his wrestling should be a route to get the better of Hardy and gradually beat him up with ground and pound for a second round TKO stoppage.
Juan Adams wins by TKO in Rd2.
James Vick vs. Dan Hooker
Like some of the other fights on this card, this is a finely balanced match-up between two lightweights who have compliled a solid winning streak in the past, but are now attempting to get back to winning ways after faltering in recent outings.
Vick in particular has had a tough time of it, being KO’d quickly by Justin Gaethje and then convincingly beaten by Paul Felder last time out, and it’s shown that though he has been a good outfighter who uses his height and reach well, he can struggle when he’s put under a lot of pressure.
That’s good news for Hooker who likes to press forward, has good power and a solid chin, not to mention the fact that he’s a big lightweight too, who will only concede an inch in reach to Vick.
Hooker is also the better wrestler, though both fighters offer up a submission threat on the mat. Still I think this one is more likely to be one or lost on the feet and though he’s a bit too hittable, I still like Hooker’s more aggressive style to make life uncomfortable for Vick, and his power advantage will pay off in the second round with a TKO stoppage victory.
Dan Hooker wins by TKO in Rd2.
Alexander Hernandez vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Hernandez shows a lot of potential, but a loss to Donald Cerrone last time out confirmed he’s still a work in progress. He’s not been given an easy fight as he looks to get back to winning ways though, as even at 40, Trinaldo remains a tough competitor.
Hernandez should be the aggressor here and he’ll burst forward with offensive salvo’s, but he’ll need to be careful though as that style leaves holes in his defense and Trinaldo’s hard-hitting counter-striking will be a threat.
Hernandez is also strong in the clinch and works well on the mat, so he’s got options here and could look to tire out the older man, though Trinaldo’s physical strength has always been a plus point and so he won’t be getting bullied.
It’s quite possible Trinaldo’s counter-striking style could discourage Hernandez, but I still lean towards his youth and offensive approach to lead him to a competitive decision victory here.
Alexander Hernandez wins by decision.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Ben Rothwell
These two veteran warhorses have fought once before with Arlovski claiming a knockout victory on that occasion, but that was 11-years ago and there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.
Arlovski has done well to extend his career as long as he has at the top level, but at 40 it’s taken a toll on him and he’s starting to slow down, has a lot of wear and tear and has to fight more cautiously now.
Nonetheless Arlovski remains the better technical striker of the two and still hits hard, but he’s dealing with a bigger, more durable fighter who will keep plodding forward looking to land something big.
If this fight goes the distance Arlovski may emerge with his hand raised by being the more savvy striker, but I think Rothwell will have his opportunities to land with his more awkward, but still at times effective striking style and I don’t have faith that Arlovski’s chin will hold up, leading to a second round KO finish for ‘Big Ben.’
Ben Rothwell wins by KO in Rd2.
Prelims (predicted winners in bold)
Alex Caceres vs. Steven Peterson
Raquel Pennington vs. Irene Aldana
Sam Alvey vs. Klidson Abreu
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Jennifer Maia
Ray Borg vs. Gabriel Silva
Mario Bautista vs. Jin Soo Son
Domingo Pilarte vs. Felipe Colares