What’s next for UFC San Antonio fighters, including Edwards, Hardy?

Everything’s bigger in Texas, right? That’s what they say?Well, this weekend’s UFC Fight Night in San Antonio did showcase three heavyweight bouts on the main card — two of which ended in violent fashion inside the first round. And in addition to that heavyweight action, welterweight Leon Edwards treated us to a master class, five-round performance over Rafael dos Anjos.What’s next for Edwards, dos Anjos and some of those aforementioned heavyweights? Here’s ESPN’s take.Leon Edwards, welterweightResult: Defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decisionNext: Jorge MasvidalLeon Edwards kept rolling on Saturday night, defeating Rafael dos Anjos for his eighth straight victory. Cooper Neill for ESPNI feel like a hypocrite with this pick, because earlier this month I did suggest Masvidal could wait for a title shot, following his five-second win over Ben Askren. But here’s the thing: I also said Masvidal was behind Colby Covington, and that if Covington wins his next fight against Robbie Lawler on Aug. 3, he should get a shot before Masvidal.So, let’s play this by ear. If Covington wins next month, and the UFC awards him a title shot (as it should), book Masvidal vs. Edwards in the meantime. If, however, Covington loses on Aug. 3, I’m all for a Masvidal title shot. In that case, we’d obviously have to find someone else for Edwards. Lawler, perhaps.Rafael dos Anjos, welterweightThe main event at UFC 240 features dominant featherweight champion Max Holloway defending against veteran Frankie Edgar, who at 37 may be competing for a title for the final time. In the co-main event, Cris Cyborg aims to bounce back from just her second career defeat against the unbeaten Felicia Spencer.UFC 240: Holloway vs. Edgar• Saturday, Edmonton, Alberta•Early prelims: ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET• Prelims: ESPN, 8 p.m. ET• Main card: ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ETSubscribe to ESPN+ to get exclusive live UFC events, weigh-ins and more; Ariel and the Bad Guy; Dana White’s Contender Series; and more exclusive MMA content.
Result: Lost to Leon Edwards via unanimous decisionNext: Vicente Luque, if Luque defeats Mike Perry on Aug. 10I’m not ready to send the former lightweight champ out to pasture just yet. I’m sure some are, though, as he’s now lost three of his last four — and none of those losses were particularly close. Maybe dos Anjos’ days as a legitimate title threat really are over, but I’m not going there for the moment. I think RDA could still have a run in him.That said, this loss stings. This was not a case of dos Anjos getting out-wrestled by a physical welterweight, or a case of him getting clipped by a shot he didn’t see. Dos Anjos was soundly defeated on Saturday. Edwards just looked better in every area of the fight. Dos Anjos probably needs a little time off, and when he comes back, he may not have much say in who he fights. At least for right now, he’s in a gatekeeper role, and if Luque wins in August, he’ll be knocking on that gate.Result: Defeated Juan Adams via first-round knockoutNext: Junior AlbiniEven if you hate Greg Hardy (and he seems aware of the fact many people do), you have to admit this was a significant result. Adams is not an established heavyweight by any means, but on paper, he was the toughest test of Hardy’s career thus far — and Hardy disposed of him in under a minute.I assume that, for some, this feels like a good time to throw Hardy to the wolves. And hey, he’s already talking about becoming one of the “greatest combat sport heavyweights” of all time in interviews, so it sounds like he’s up for a challenge. But the reality is Hardy is still extremely raw, and his level of competition should continue to reflect that.Albini has lost four in a row, so it might sound like I’m suggesting the UFC throw Hardy a can. But Albini also has roughly four times the amount of experience as Hardy, and this would probably be a “save your job” kind of matchup for him if it came together. Competitively, it makes sense to me.2 RelatedResult: Defeated Alexey Oleinik via first-round knockoutNext: Alistair OvereemNo joke, I remember Harris’ UFC debut in 2013 pretty well. He lost a decision to Division I wrestler Jared Rosholt in Las Vegas. He won the opening round, before dropping the next two. What I remember most, though, is thinking Harris’ speed and athleticism could be a difference-maker at heavyweight. I was definitely intrigued by him as a prospect.Six years later, I’m still waiting for Harris to realize that potential. He’s a mediocre 7-6 in the UFC, but the results have been better as of late. He’s essentially on a four-fight win streak, although one was changed to a no-contest for a failed drug test (though the California commission ruled the failure was caused by a contaminated supplement). Harris is deserving of a high-profile matchup, and it doesn’t get much more high profile than Overeem.Result: Defeated James Vick via first-round knockoutNext: Charles OliveiraYou can’t really go wrong at lightweight. There is so much talent at 155 pounds, it feels like there are at least five or six great options for anyone coming off a win.For me, this is about the finishing rate between these guys. Hooker has 18 professional wins — only one of which has gone the distance. Oliveira has 27 pro wins — only two of which have gone the distance! Fantastic style matchup, plus it makes sense within the rankings. Let’s do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *