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Best Underdog Picks for UFC on ESPN 4

Closeup of Andrei Arlovski in the Octagon.
Veteran Andrei Arlovski has long odds to beat Ben Rothwell due, in large part, to losing his last three decisions. Photo by Twitter user [@Boxing_NewsNow ]
  • UFC on ESPN 4 goes Saturday, July 20th, at 6:00 PM ET
  • Can Ben Rothwell avenge his loss to Andrei Arlovski? Will Maia go 2-0 over Modafferi?
  • Dylan Bowker picks the best underdogs on the card

UFC on ESPN 4 takes place at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, July 20th (6:00 PM ET). The card is topped by a high-stakes welterweight tilt between Rafael Dos Anjos and  Leon Edwards.

There are multiple bouts on the card that have divisional importance, though, as several top-15 caliber opponents will be locking horns in the octagon. Looking at the odds as of Friday afternoon, which underdogs stand out as good value?

Aleksei Oleinik vs Walt Harris Odds

Fighter Book 1 Odds Book 2 Odds
Aleksei Oleinik +135 +125
Walt Harris -155 -155

*Odds taken 07/18/19

Oleinik gets back on track

UFC on ESPN 4 features an enjoyable heavyweight bout between an established vet (Oleinik) and a surging prospect (Harris).

Both are ranked pretty highly with Oleinik sitting at #9 and Harris at #14 per UFC’s rankings. Though Harris is coming off back to back wins and Oleinik lost in his last outing, seeing Harris as a betting favorite was decently surprising to me. I see those trends reversing on Saturday.

Oleinik has faced a better caliber of competition over his career, has a significant experience advantage, and should be able to submit Harris. I see another Ezekiel choke and Oleinik with his hand raised.

Pick: Oleinik (+135)

Andrei Arlovski vs Ben Rothwell Odds

Fighter Book 1 Odds Book 2 Odds
Andrei Arlovski +165 +155
Ben Rothwell -190 -190

Arlovski bests Rothwell once more

Arlovski vs Rothwell is a rematch 11 years in the making. Andrei won the initial fight by knockout when the two fought at the first Affliction show.

Rothwell has had a tumultuous last few years with USADA issues, lengthy periods of time off, and a couple discouraging losses. Arlovski has largely been booked against rising heavyweights, functioning as a division gatekeeper. Both need a strong W here to get back on track.

Arlovski has better boxing technique and has more finishing power than Rothwell. Rothwell does have notable submission abilities but Arlovski generally doesn’t get submitted. On paper, Arlovski isn’t compelling because he’s dropped his last few fights, but he is the type of veteran fighter who can shake off a losing streak.

I’m picking Andrei Arlovski at UFC on ESPN 4.

Pick: Arlovski (+165/ +155)


Roxanne Modafferi vs Jennifer Maia Odds

Fighter Book 1 Odds Book 2 Odds
Roxanne Modafferi +120 +115
Jennifer Maia -140 -145

Modafferi takes the rematch

Modafferi vs Maia marks another rematch taking place at UFC on ESPN 4. Maia picked up the split-decision win over Modafferi at Invicta FC 19, capturing the Invicta flyweight championship in the process.

The winner of the rematch will put herself in the UFC’s 125-pound title picture, a belt currently held by Liz Carmouche. Modafferi and Maia are positioned at #5 and #6, respectively, in the UFC rankings.

Modafferi vied for the inaugural UFC flyweight championship, came up a bit short, but has not been dissuaded. Modafferi notched a significant underdog victory in her last bout by thoroughly out grappling Antonina Shevchenko, the sister of present divisional kingpin Valentina.

If their second bout is anything like the first, this could very well get the fight of the night honors at UFC on ESPN 4. I have Roxanne Modafferi winning and I think The Happy Warrior gets it done via decision.

Pick: Modafferi (+120/ +115)

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