Did you know there was a UFC show on ESPN Saturday? The hype behind this card seems minimal when compared to the last few shows (UFC 239 and UFC Fight Night 155). That doesn’t mean this can’t be a great card. While the main event of Rafael dos Anjos vs. Leon Edwards in a welterweight fight should be excellent and holds divisional importance, there are a few other fights that you should pay attention to because of the stories behind them.
Under the Radar: UFC on ESPN 4
The Heel vs. the Babyface
In pro wrestling, the draw of a match is the heel/babyface dynamic. You have a heel, who is a bad guy. Their motivations are nefarious. Their actions go against social morality codes. The main goal is to get people to hate them and buy a ticket to see them lose. The babyface, the good guy, is there as a surrogate for the audience. Since the average audience member is not capable physically or has the skills to fight the heel themselves, they pay to see the babyface deliver that sweet justice.
The UFC has a great heel with Greg Hardy (4-1). He has done little to shed that image. There was negative reaction to being signed to the UFC despite past domestic violence charges. Some believe he has shown little remorse for those actions. He lost his first UFC fight by blatant DQ with an illegal knee. On top of everything, he is receiving a higher payday than some longer tenured fighters. Most of all, heels have to be credible, and Hardy certainly is. All the fights he has won were first round KO/TKOs. Whether he recognizes it or not, a lot of fans dislike the former football player. Many would love to see him stare up at the lights.
In the other corner we have Juan Adams (5-1). He has not hid his dislike for Hardy. Adams has taken to Instagram to deliver some trash talk. He has used the hashtag #f***GregHardy (censored) on his posts. He also has taken digs at Hardy’s past domestic abuse charges. This fight is also personal for Adams. He has said he witnessed his mother get beat up at the age of 6. As he said in one interview, “Every person in America wants me to beat Greg Hardy’s ass.” He has the opportunity to be the unknown babyface hero walking into town to knock out the more well known fighter that many do not like.
These two hard hitting heavyweights are likely to finish this one in the first round knockout. Will the bad guy continue his dominance while cashing six figure paychecks or will the knight in shining armor slay the scary up and coming beast of the heavyweight division?
The Comeback Kid vs. A New Prospect
It’s not hard to feel bad for Ray Borg. The former flyweight now bantamweight fighter has been besieged by Ian McCall levels of bad luck. Ironically the two had a fight scheduled at one time that was canceled during McCall’s bad luck streak. Here is Borg’s bad luck resume:
– On a two fight losing streak
– Had numerous fights canceled due to injury, medical, and/or personal reasons.
– Missed weight for his last fight at bantamweight.
– His infant son had multiple brain surgeries resulting in expensive medical bills. It was so expensive Brendan Schaub had to help pay the bills.
If Borg makes weight, comes in motivated, and wins in an incredible fashion this could be one of the comeback stories of the year in MMA.
But there’s another story in this fight. Borg’s opponent is 24-year-old Gabriel Silva (7-0). He is the brother of former UFC, now Bellator fighter, Erick Silva. He was scouted and signed after finishing his opponent on Dana White’s Contender Series. The Team Nogueira fighter has the opportunity to make a name for himself in this fight and spoil the feel good story.
Father time though has not been kind to these fighters as both have been on a career downswing. Rothwell is on a two fight losing streak with both being decision loses. Arlovski is on a three fight losing streak all by decision (one fight was a decision loss overturned due to Walt Harris failing a drug test). In what could likely be a “loser leaves town match,” stakes are much higher for this fight. I can understand why newer MMA fans may not be too excited about this match, but for older MMA fans, it will be watching two crusty veterans of the Octagon having a go to see who stays or potentially get a pink slip.
Both are certainly not at their peak. Arlovski has slowed down considerably and so has Rothwell. I remain hopeful though that these two old school fighters realize their jobs maybe on the line here and set out to make an entertaining heavyweight clash.
If you want some betting tips for the show you can check this article for all your betting needs.