It has been six years since former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, has entered the Octagon. News broke yesterday that ‘The Pitbull’ was released from his World Series of Fighting contract and has signed a deal with the UFC to meet Brendan Schaub at UFC 174.
Arlovski’s last appearance in the UFC was in 2008 when he defeated Jake O’Brien via TKO. Leaving on a high note, Arlovski looked to to other organizations to better his career and fight bigger names. The UFC’s heavyweight division was extremely thin at the time and many other organizations had bigger names to fight. After leaving the UFC, Arlovski fought in seven different organizations before sticking with the newly formed World Series of Fighting. Arlovski went 8-5 (1) in these organizations, earning himself a second invitation to the UFC despite 4 in a row at one point. Since breaking the aforementioned losing streak, Arlovski has looked solid against tough and especially hard hitting opponents.
His most recent loss was a unanimous decision to, then heavyweight, Anthony Johnson, a devastating kickboxer who knocked Arlovski’s teeth out in their fight. Despite the injury Arlovski showed his gameness by going all three rounds.
Brendan Schaub, an always-dangerous heavyweight, will look to carry the momentum of a two fight win streak into this fight. Schaub, hard hitting and athletic will most likely own a speed advantage over Arlovski, though, his ground game is also extremely technical for a heavyweight. This is Schaub’s fight to win, beating a former UFC champion will raise his stock as well as put him on a three fight win streak.
There are a lot of unanswered questions about Arlovski and his ability to compete at the top level: whether he has the gas tank to go all 3 rounds, if his chin can hold up to a heavyweight punch, is he takedown defense good enough in a wrestler heavy division?
Come UFC 174, both men are in must-win situations, one to prove he is still a relevant mixed martial artist, the other to prove his worth and break into the upper echelon of the division.
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