MMA Gradebook: Rating Every Fight From UFC on ESPN 4

By Kevin Wilson Jul 21, 2019
If you’re like us and watch an absurd amount of mixed martial arts each week, you probably wish there were some sort of rating system so you’re not forced to sit through a boring fight waiting for something to happen. In order to help, we rate the fights on major cards for your convenience. If you happen to miss an event, check back here for ratings so you can pick and choose which bouts to watch and which to skip.

Fights are ranked on the scale shown below, based on competitiveness, the skill and technique on display, excitement, and the story and drama of the contest. Wherever possible, the fights are described without spoiling the outcomes. Here's the MMA Gradebook for UFC on ESPN 4: Dos Anjos vs. Edwards.

Felipe Dias Colares vs. Domingo Pilarte

We open up the card with two young bantamweights looking for their first wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Some good grappling throughout, but neither man would open up on the ground, so half of the fight was boring ground exchanges with little action. [2.0]

Jin Soo Son vs. Mario Bautista

Next up we have another bantamweight scrap, with MMA Lab prospect Bautista taking on Chan Sung Jung training partner Son, who lost his UFC debut last year against Petr Yan. Wild back-and-forth fight, though there was one fighter clearly ahead for the entire bout. Both men were eager to stand and trade in the pocket and the loser kept coming forward no matter how much damage he was taking, which gave us one of the best fights of the night. [3.75]

Ray Borg vs. Gabriel Silva

Our third straight 135-pound fight to open the show features Borg, whose struggles in and out of the cage over the last two years have been well publicized, returning to the Octagon for the second time this year and looking to get his first win since 2017 over the debuting Silva. There was some good back and forth action on the ground but overall, neither man displayed much urgency to finish the fight. Borg dominated and there were some nice ground transitions from both men but overall this was just an average fight. [2.0]

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Jennifer Maia

Former Invicta FC champion Maia steps inside the Octagon for the third time to take on a pioneer of women’s MMA in Modafferi. “The Happy Warrior” always puts on a good fight and pushed the pace for all three rounds as usual, but Maia dominated her on the feet from bell to bell. Despite the one-sided performance, this was still one of the better fights from the prelims. [2.75]

Sam Alvey vs. Klidson Abreu

The happiest man in MMA, Alvey, returns to the Octagon for the 18th time to take on the 26-year-old Abreu, who is looking for his first UFC win. Alvey is notorious for boring fights but I never understood the hate for him. This wasn't the most action-packed fight of the night but it featured some good exchanges on the feet and was rather close despite the weird scorecards. [2.0]

Raquel Pennington vs. Irene Aldana

Former bantamweight title challenger Pennington returns to the Octagon off back-to-back losses to take on Aldana, who has won her last three. Good first round with both women pushing the pace and trading in the pocket. Things slowed down in the second round, though, and most of the third was spent in a stagnant position on the ground. Compared to most of the rest of the card this was a great fight, but not quite good enough to get 3 stars. [2.5]

Alex Caceres vs. Steven Peterson

“Bruce Leeroy” Caceres steps into the UFC cage for a very surprising 21st time to take on Steven Peterson who is just 1-2 in the organization. Decent back-and-forth fight, but once again there was a clear winner throughout, despite the loser giving us the feeling he might make a comeback. Both men threw high volume but landed a low percentage of their strikes which lowers the rating a bit. [2.75]

Ben Rothwell vs. Andrei Arlovski

A rematch 11 years in the making that nobody asked for ended up being a pretty damn good fight. Both aging vets gave everything they had to win the fight and we got a classic heavyweight battle that proves old dogs don’t die easy. UFC San Antonio ended up being one of the worst UFC cards of all time but this fight was a glimmer of hope. [3.5]

Alexander Hernandez vs. Francisco Trinaldo

This fight sucked. Everyone expected this to be a sleeper fight of the night candidate and instead, we got a hesitant Hernandez and a frustrated Trinaldo chasing him for three rounds. San Antonio native Hernandez was fighting in front of his home crowd, but put on a very disappointing performance for someone who was considered one of the top up-and-comers in the division. This was going to get 1 star but with the atrocious decision, I’m giving this fight our second-ever ZERO rating.

Dan Hooker vs. James Vick

“The Hangman” Hooker returns for the first time since his brutal loss to Edson Barboza to take on Top 15 lightweight James Vick who has lost two in a row. Quick fight, and with most of this card getting awful ratings, this is one you definitely don’t want to miss. [3.5]

Juan Adams vs. Greg Hardy

Dana White's Contender Series alum Juan Adams makes his first main card appearance to take on a fellow Contender Series export in former NFL Pro Bowler Hardy, who before facing Adams had yet to be tested against anyone with a win in the UFC. This is worth the watch for the weird finish but was otherwise very uneventful. [1.0]

Alexey Oleynik vs. Walt Harris

The co-main event offers plenty of intrigue, as the 42-year-old Oleynik, a veteran of 70 fights, takes on Harris, who still feels a bit like a developing prospect in spite of being 36 himself. Oleynik’s improbable late-career run has been a great story, but age has to catch up to him sooner or later… right? On the other hand, Harris has alternately dazzled and disappointed on his way to a 5-4 record with one no-contest in his second UFC run. Would this be the fight where finally got all of his prodigious gifts together? On top of it all, the two heavyweights are former training partners who seem genuinely fond of each other. Another weird heavyweight finish, but this one was much better than Hardy vs. Adams. [2.0]

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Leon Edwards

Former lightweight champion dos Anjos returns for the second time this year to take on rising contender Edwards, who could move into the Top 5 with a win over the timeless veteran. I expected this fight to be much closer but instead, we got one of the finest performances of the year from the winner who picked apart the loser on the feet for all five rounds while holding his own on the ground. If this fight was a little closer it would have gotten five stars but the showcase of technique from the winner still earns this one 4.5 stars.
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