Here are three takeaways from UFC San Antonio last Saturday.
UFC San Antonio took place last Saturday and featured many interesting matchups, including a top-10 welterweight showdown in the main event. That main event saw Leon Edwards dominating former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos in a decision win for the British fighter. Also on the card were a pair of ranked bouts in Walt Harris vs. Alexey Oleinik at heavyweight, and lightweights Dan Hooker and James Vick. Both bouts ending in first-round knockouts for Harris and Hooker respectively. The card also saw a first-round knockout win for former NFL All-Pro Greg Hardy over Juan Adams in a heavyweight grudge match.
Here are three takeaways from that night in San Antonio.
Leon Edwards continues to be underappreciated at welterweight.
Going into UFC San Antonio, Leon Edwards was on a seven-fight win streak and had won nine of his last 10 bouts. That one loss being to current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Along the way, he had defeated multiple ranked fighters as well, including Gunnar Nelson, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, and Vicente Luque. Despite all of this, he was only ranked #10 going into his showdown with Rafael Dos Anjos.
Edwards would do what he had done many times before, dominate his opponent. Winning a one-sided decision over the former lightweight champion in dos Anjos. Dos Anjos was ranked third in the division going into the bout and had just defeated Kevin Lee in his welterweight debut. Edwards got on the mic post-fight and call out Jorge Masvidal, as Edwards was the man who notoriously was on the receiving end of Masvidal’s “three-piece and a soda” in March.
Edwards’ callout wasn’t given much credence on social media, and his performance wasn’t given much praise either despite it being a technical masterpiece over a former champion. This is sadly nothing new to Edwards, despite being on the second-longest win streak in the welterweight division, he’s not even in the title conversation. Despite being on a longer win streak than both fighters, more people talk about Colby Covington or Jorge Masvidal as title challengers for the champion Usman.
Leon Edwards is the UFC’s most underappreciated fighter. Whether it be because he’s not getting knockouts, or something else, the public and the UFC just don’t want to get behind him. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here, with Jorge Masvidal’s title shot seeming imminent, Edwards will have to fight someone in the meantime. Maybe even match him up with the winner of Covington/Lawler? That fight goes down in August.
But I’m sure if he dominates that fight as well, there will still be an excuse as to why he’s not that good.
Walt Harris is the heavyweight division’s dark horse.
Walt Harris is 36, has an unimpressive record, and lost quickly to the only top-five fighter he’s faced in Fabricio Werdum. Despite all of that, he is the heavyweight division’s dark horse and is currently tearing his way through the division. Harris’ only losses since 2017 are against former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum on hours’ notice, and a DQ loss to Mark Godbeer in a fight he was handily winning.
Harris is currently riding a four-fight unbeaten streak, having defeated Daniel Spitz, Sergey Spivak, and Alexey Oleinik. That win over Oleinik was just this past weekend at UFC San Antonio and was a 12-second knockout victory for Harris. It was the third-fastest knockout in the division’s history. However, knockouts are nothing new to Harris, as all 13 of his career victories come by way of KO. It’s worth noting that Harris did beat former champion Andrei Arlovski via decision, however, the win was overturned due to a USADA violation.
Harris continues to dominate in his recent fights in the division and is rapidly improving. His power and speed is a difficult task for anyone in the division to deal with, as we’ve seen with his win over Oleinik in San Antonio. Harris’s size and reach also have earned him the nickname of ‘The Big Ticket’ and his 81-inch reach is one of the longest in the UFC.
Harris’ 12-second knockout of Oleinik shot him up to the 11th spot in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings. Now on the cusp of the top-10, he’s going to start facing the upper echelon of heavyweight, and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here. A fight with Derrick Lewis seems like a good matchup for fans.
Harris isn’t the perfect fighter, but he’s quickly improving and remains the division’s dark horse.
You can hate him, but Greg Hardy is a good fighter.
Greg Hardy is possibly the most physically talented man to make the crossover from another sport to MMA. Hardy is a former NFL player who didn’t only play in the NFL but played at the highest level. Hardy was an NFL Pro-Bowler and All-Pro Defensive End with the Carolina Panthers in 2013. However, after his breakout season, he was charged with domestic violence and was soon after found guilty of assault on a former girlfriend. Despite the case being thrown out after the victim failed to appear in court after a settlement, the damage was done.
That case has followed Hardy for the past six-years, garnering hate for Hardy wherever he went. Following a quick stint with the Dallas Cowboys, Hardy was out of the league and turned his sights towards MMA in 2016. Announcing that he was training with American Top Team and was preparing to make his debut, the announcement was predictably met with much controversy.
Three years later, and Greg Hardy is facing off with prospect Juan Adams at UFC San Antonio. Hardy had earned his first UFC victory earlier in the year over Dmitry Smolyakov via first-round knockout, and Adams was coming off a close loss to Arjan Bhullar earlier in the year. Adams notably earned his way into the UFC through the Contender Series and defeated Chris De La Rocha in his Octagon debut. After all of the hype and trash-talk from Adams to Hardy, he was finished in 45 seconds.
Hardy, in his post-fight interview, was predictably booed as he had in his previous Octagon appearances. Hardy will be continued to be booed by fans, and arguably should be. However, it seems he’s here to stick around and is developing into a great fighter. Juan Adams is a legitimately good prospect at heavyweight, and Hardy blew through him in 45-seconds. It’s important to remember that Hardy has only been training in MMA for under three years, and he’s already beating UFC-level competition.
Love him or hate him, Greg Hardy is a good fighter, and he’s only getting better. We might as well get used to it.