MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN 4, a five-round welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and Rafael dos Anjos. The event takes place this Saturday, July 20 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Leon Edwards (-125)
Edwards (17-3) is one of the top up-and-coming welterweights in the UFC. The 27-year-old Jamaican-born Brit has quietly put together a 9-2 record in the Octagon since making his UFC debut in 2014. He is currently riding a seven-fight win streak that includes notable victories over Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and Vicente Luque. His last loss came back in 2015 to Kamaru Usman. Edwards is one of the most-well rounded fighters in the welterweight division. He came to the UFC known for his striking and showed that off in his eight-second KO win over Seth Baczynski in his UFC fight. Since then, Edwards has really evolved as a fighter. We already knew he had great striking, but his wrestling has improved tremendously over the years, and he looks like a natural on the ground. He also has the cardio to go a hard full five rounds, making him very well-rounded. Edwards is looking to take that next big step in his career and a win here over dos Anjos would push him one step closer to a title shot against the last man to beat him, Usman.
Rafael dos Anjos (+105)
Dos Anjos (29-11) is the former UFC lightweight champion and one of the top-ranked welterweights in the UFC. The 34-year-old Brazilian holds an all-time 18-9 record in the Octagon, with notable wins over Robbie Lawler, Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, and Kevin Lee. Some of his notable losses are against Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Tony Ferguson and Eddie Alvarez. For over a decade, RDA has proven himself to be one of the best fighters in the UFC at both 155lbs and 170lbs. He’s a very well-rounded fighter with tremendous wrestling skills, high-level striking, and slick submissions. He also has incredible cardio and has gone five hard rounds numerous times in his career. However, he is getting up there in age and will slow down at some point. RDA is already on track for a Hall of Fame career but he is looking to build on that. With a win over Edwards, RDA could move one step closer to getting a title shot in the crowded UFC welterweight division.
Fight Breakdown: This should be a highly-competitive, evenly-matched fight between two of the best welterweights in the UFC. For Edwards, it represents the opportunity to fight a top-five opponent and get closer to a title shot. For dos Anjos, it’s another opportunity to defeat a rising up-and-comer and prove once again that he’s still an elite welterweight. It’s going to be a great fight, but I like towards Edwards getting his hand raised. I think this is his time to shine and while he is fighting a tough competitor in the form of RDA, I still think Edwards win this fight. He has tremendous wrestling and cardio and he should be able to dictate where this fight takes place. If it takes place on the feet, I like Edwards to outstrike dos Anjos. If if goes to the mat, I think Edwards can get top position and score points from on top. At the end of a hard-fought five rounds, give me Edwards to win by decision. I would have preferred to get him at dog money like he opened, but even as a short favorite I still really like Edwards to defeat dos Anjos in this fight.
Prediction: Leon Edwards wins via decision