UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Edwards Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in San Antonio.
Updated: July 18, 2019 • 9:37 PM ET
San Antonio will host this weekend's UFC Fight Night event.
The UFC will be in San Antonio for the second time in company history this Saturday, featuring several fights with ranked competitors. Rafael dos Anjos, the No. 4 ranked welterweight, will face No. 12 Leon Edwards in the main event, while the co-main event will be a heavyweight bout between No. 9 Aleksei Oleinik and No. 14 Walt Harris.
Dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion, made his debut at welterweight in 2017 and won three straight fights before running into Colby Covington in June 2018. He then suffered a second straight loss roughly six months later to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but rebounded in his last fight with a big fourth-round submission of Kevin Lee in May. With one more win, Dos Anjos (29-11) could see himself back in the title picture at 170 pounds.
Since making his UFC debut in 2008, the 34-year-old Brazilian has victories over some of the toughest fighters the sport has seen, including Evan Dunham, Donald Cerrone (twice), Jason High, Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis, Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny and Robbie Lawler.
Meanwhile, Edwards (17-3, 9-2 in UFC) has won seven straight fights, last defeating Gunnar Nelson by split decision in March. His last loss was to Usman in 2015 by unanimous decision, and the 27-year-old believes a win over Dos Anjos would put him in a great position for a title shot.
“I’m putting in the work and beating so many of these so-called tough guys that everyone else is raving about,” Edwards recently told MMA Junkie. “So I feel after going out there and beating the former lightweight champion, that will put some eyes on me. And I would love, after beating him, getting the rematch against Kamaru Usman.
“I think that would be my dream after beating ‘RDA.’ I want to be the one to dethrone him, to go out there and beat him. I feel like that would be the amazing story for that to happen. For me to go out there and beat him after he beat me three, four years ago, and I went undefeated, and then come back and beat him for the world title – that would be the perfect story.”
Including Nelson, Edwards has notable wins over Donald Cerrone and Vicente Luque.
Aleksei Oleinik, the No. 9 ranked heavyweight, will face No. 14 Walt Harris in Saturday’s co-main event. The two were originally scheduled to fight in May, but Oleinik was pulled from the card to fill a headlining spot against Alistair Overeem in April.
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Oleinik lost the fight against Overeem by first-round TKO after previously winning two straight over Junior Albini and Mark Hunt. The 42-year-old Oleynik is 6-3 in the UFC with six finishes (five by submission), and he’s one of the most dangerous ground fighters in the heavyweight division. He’s one win away from another potential top five matchup, but there’s also the possibility that Saturday’s fight could be his last.
“Nobody knows (when I will retire),” Oleynik said via BJPENN.com. “But, this could be the last time I fight, maybe I fight a couple of more. It just depends, no one really knows when I will end.
“But, my body feels good, I am just tired mentality sometimes.”
Harris has had an inconsistent second run in the UFC (5-4-1), but is coming off a powerful first-round TKO of Sergey Spivak (stepped in for Oleinik) in May that earned him Performance of the Night honors. He was 0-2 during his first stint with the UFC (2013-14), which subsequently released him.
Harris, however, made his return to the promotion in 2014. His greatest victory to date came over former champion Andrei Arlovski, but the decision was overturned to a no contest after he tested positive for a banned substance. Harris believes the failed test was due to a tainted supplement.
Despite his past issues, Harris may be best prepared for a fight with Oleinik, according to the Russian.
“Walt Harris is a very strong guy and has a very good left punch and left kick,” Oleynik said. “Most of his wins are by knockout. A bigger problem is that I used to teach Walt Harris and I taught him how to defend the submission attempts of mine.
“This makes it a lot tougher. I hope we make the fight interesting and then (can) be friends again after and possibly train together again.”
Harris has moved into the top 15 and at 36 years of age, there’s no time like the present for him to make a push for the title. After his victory over Spivak, a victory on Saturday could propel him into the top 10.
The rest of the main card on ESPN
Heavyweight bout - Greg Hardy vs. Juan Adams
Lightweight bout - No. 15 James Vick vs. Dan Hooker
Lightweight bout - No. 13 Alexander Hernandez vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Heavyweight bout - Andrei Arlovski vs Ben Rothwell
Featherweight bout - Alex Caceres vs. Steven Peterson
Bantamweight bout - No. 6 Raquel Pennington vs. No. 10 Irene Aldana
Light heavyweight bout - Sam Alvey vs. Klidson Abreu
Women’s flyweight bout - No. 5 Roxanne Modafferi vs. No. 6 Jennifer Maia
Bantamweight bout - Ray Borg vs. Gabriel Silva
Bantamweight bout - Mario Bautista vs. Jin Soo Son
Bantamweight bout - Domingo Pilarte vs Felipe Colares