UFC on ESPN 4 Post-Mortem: Welterweight Tumult

By Keith Shillan Jul 23, 2019


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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday returned to San Antonio, Texas, with UFC on ESPN 4 at the AT&T Center. The event was headlined by a welterweight clash between former 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos and surging British star Leon Edwards. Though he entered the cage as only a slight favorite, Edwards dominated dos Anjos and cruised to a unanimous decision, drawing 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46 marks from the judges. Still, “Rocky” was not completely satisfied with his eighth straight victory -- the second-longest such streak in the welterweight division.

“I would give myself a seven or eight out of 10,” Edwards said during the ESPN+ post-fight show. “I got caught with some shots and leg kicks I thought I shouldn’t have gotten caught with heading into the fight.”

Despite Edwards’ reservations, most observers viewed it as a strong performance and showered the former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion with praise. However, fellow welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal, emboldened by his record-setting knockout of Ben Askren on July 6, saw it differently and expressed as much on social media. “Big difference between putting top ranked opponents to sleep and putting fans to sleep. #bum #whoru,” Masvidal posted on Twitter.

Edwards and Masvidal have been linked since their backstage run-in backstage at UFC Fight Night 147 on March 16 in London. The two men exchanged words before “Gamebred” struck Edwards with several punches -- Masvidal called it a “three-piece with a soda” -- and had to be separated by their respective teams and UFC security. Edwards used his post-fight interview to call for a fight with Masvidal.

“There’s a little weasel called Jorge Masvidal,” he said. “Accept the fight and let’s do it. You are not on my level.”

Edwards later doubled down on his request and turned up the heat on the American Top Team veteran in a post-fight interview.

“I believe if [it is] not Masvidal, it should be a world title shot,” he said. “I want to silence Masvidal first. That fight has to happen, either in the street or the cage. That fight has to happen.”

Masvidal has become one of the sport’s hottest commodities in the aftermath of his brief encounter with Askren and made it clear he had his sights on something other than Edwards.

“So I can be clear I was promised a title shot after I beat Askren and I plan on cashing in on it,” Masvidal tweeted. “Don’t call me out no more until I get that belt #supernecessary.”

ALL APOLOGIES


Juan Adams had been calling for a fight with former NFL defensive end turned UFC heavyweight Greg Hardy ever since the latter transitioned to MMA. “The Kraken” finally got his wish in a main card assignment, but it did not go as he had hoped. Hardy dispatched Adams just 45 seconds into the opening round. The former NCAA wrestler shot on a single-leg, but Hardy sprawled on top of him and unleashed a barrage of punches to the side of Adams’ head. Referee Dan Miragliotta warned Adams to defend himself several times before he stepped in to stop the contest. Adams was visibly upset about the stoppage and acted out during the immediate aftermath. He walked out of the Octagon and threw his mouthpiece into the crowd before Bruce Buffer announced the official results. He was also shown pushing several UFC staff members and athletic commission employees out of his way. Adams later addressed his actions on Twitter.

“I apologize to the UFC and to all the fans for the way I acted after the fight,” Adams wrote. “I let my emotions get the better of me and I acted horribly. To everyone present and watching at home, I truly apologize. I took a few to the head and was caught up in the moment. Guys I don’t party after a loss, I’m sorry. I am sorry for losing composure. I am sorry for not honoring my word and all I can do is prove myself if given another opportunity. Whatever is next is next, but next week it’s back in the gym.”

Adams was not the only fighter to apologize for his actions after the fact. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski picked up a decision win over Ben Rothwell in their rematch and cut loose with a string of expletives when asked about the state of his chin.

“One again, I will tell everyone, shut your [expletive] mouth about my glass chin, so go [expletive] yourself, f------,” Arlovski said during a post-fight media scrum. “That’s it. I proved to everyone you’re [expletive] wrong.”

Arlovski has gone the distance in eight consecutive outings and has not been knocked out in more than two years. He apologized for his use of a homophobic slur in a statement to MMAJunkie.com.

“I apologize to anyone I offended with my poor choice of words,” he said. “I did not mean to offend any one group or person. I am deeply sorry and will not use these type of words in the future.” Advertisement

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