The MMA Top Ten 6.23.14: Top 10 Andrei Arlovski Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 06.23.2014
From his four fights with Tim Sylvia and his battles with Matyushenko to his fights with Roy Nelson, Ben Rothwell and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Andrei Arlovski fights!
Andrei Arlovski's Top Ten Fights
Hey there readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at Andrei Arlovski's career. His fight with Brendan Schaub will not be making the cut, but the former UFC heavyweight champ finally fought his way back into the Octagon and that deserves some attention. The fights this week are based on the usual criteria of fight quality, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my personal opinion mixed in.
• VS Mario Cruz UFC 66- won via first round TKO
• VS Antonio Silva Strikeforce Heavy Artillery- Lost via unanimous decision
• VS Tim Sylvia UFC 59- Lost via first round TKO
10: VS Ian Freeman UFC 40
Arlovski's UFC career started with a win, but it was followed by two losses as he was thrown up against top competition in Ricco Rodriguez and Pedro Rizzo. So he was in a must win situation in his fight with Ian Freeman at UFC 40, as he would most likely get cut with a third loss in a row. Freeman was the first English fighter to compete in the UFC and it seemed like he might finally become a great fighter in his second UFC run as he just scored a huge upset beating Frank Mir by TKO in his last fight. UFC 40 was a stacked and historic show so these two were relegated to the prelims. Arlovski only needed a minute and twenty five seconds to finish off the future two-time Cage Rage champion and save his job in the UFC.
9: VS Tim Sylvia One FC Pride of a Nation
Fighters' going up against each other four times rarely happens, but this one actually made sense. Sylvia and Arlovski were the best heavyweights in the UFC for a couple years and they fought the three times from 2005-05. The first two meetings were exciting first round finishes, but their rubber match at UFC 61 ended in a lackluster unanimous decision win for Sylvia. Both fighters left the UFC in 2008 and they suffered some rough losing streaks, but at this point in 2012 both guys were trying hard to get back into the UFC. Arlovski was on a two fight winning streak and Sylvia was 7-1 in his last eight fights. The fight was much better than their last encounter and both guys were hitting hard. Arlovski was in much better shape though as he knocked him down with a punch and finished him off with a soccer kick in the second round. It was officially ruled a no contest because of One FC's stupid rules where you have to ask for permission to use a soccer kick, but it was an impressive performance as Arlovski's comeback was picking up steam.
8: VS Devin Cole WSOF 1
The first World Series of Fighting show in November 2012 was a big success. Most of the fights had quick finishes and some of the company's top fighters were highlighted. It had Steve Carl, David Branch, JZ Cavalcante, Josh Burkman, Tyrone Spong, Marlon Moraes, Anthony Johnson and Andrei Arlovski in the main event against Devin Cole. This was a huge fight for Arlovski as it was his first appearance for a major company on national television since his awful run in Strikeforce. His opponent was Devin Cole, a solid heavyweight that had experience in Strikeforce and the IFL. Arlovski's boxing was on point tonight as he only needed two and a half minutes to connect with a right hand to knock him down and finish him off with hammer fists on the ground.
7: VS Jake O'Brien UFC 82
This was the last fight on Arlovski's UFC contract back in 2008 and he needed a good performance after his crap fest of a fight with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 70. His opponent was the undefeated Jake O'Brien. The former Purdue wrestler was 10-0 at this point and just defeated Pride veteran Heath Herring in his last fight. O'Brien looked to stick to his strengths as he went for the takedown over and over again, but Arlovski showed some great takedown defense up against the cage and sprawling. Eventually he reversed one of them in the second and finished him off with strikes in full mount. He left with a nice UFC record of 10-4.
6: VS Vladimir Matyushenko UFC 44
Vladimir Matyushenko recently announced his retirement this year at 43 years old and he had a great career. The Janitor was a former IFL champion and UFC number one contender. He had wins over Pedro Rizzo, Yuki Kondo, Little Nog, and more. Matyushenko spent most of his career at light heavyweight, but he had some big fights at heavyweight as well and he was on a three fight winning streak at this point. UFC 44 was a battle of the Belorussians, but the Janitor was much smaller than his countryman. He weighed in at 219 lbs, while Arlovski was at 243 lbs. Arlovski was able to avoid the grappler's attempts to take the fight to the ground and connected with a good uppercut to end it.
5: VS Justin Eilers UFC 53
In his first UFC interim heavyweight title defense, Arlovski took on Justin Eilers. I don't remember why Eilers was given a title shot here, especially since he coming off a loss to Paul Buenetello. So maybe someone else that remembers and can let me know in the comment section. Eilers was 9-3 here and he showed a lot of toughness, but he was nowhere near Arlovski's skill level. The Pitbull manhandled him, bloodied him, and completely picked Eilers apart with his leg kicks and boxing. The fight was officially ended when Eiler's knee gave out with less than a minute left in the first round. Eilers' hands and nose were broken and his ACL was completely torn as Arlovski dominated in his first title defense.
4: VS Paul Buentello UFC 55
Paul Buentello has competed all over in places like the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, KOTC, and Affliction. He was on a six fight winning streak in 2005 when he took on the now official UFC heavyweight champion Arlovski. The fight itself only lasted 15 seconds, but what was really cool is how Arlovski knocked out Buentello. Arlovski connected with a right hand to knock him out, but Buentello started to go down while Arlovski was ducking his own strikes and he ended up falling on Arlovski's back. Maybe it's just me, but I thought it was a really cool knockout visually.
3:VS Roy Nelson EliteXC Heat
After his successful Affliction debut, Arlovski was supposed to take on Josh Barnett at their second event but the show got pushed back and instead he was sent over to EliteXC to fight Roy Nelson in a kind of partnership between the two promotions. Maybe if the two companies would have lasted longer if they tried to combine fighters and resources a little more. The former IFL heavyweight champion took the fight on only ten days' notice, but he was on a nice five fight winning streak. The first round wasn't too exciting, but it was close between Arlovski getting in some quick shots and Nelson holding him up against the cage and on the ground for most of the round. Luckily they started unloading on each other in the second round. Arlovski knocked out Big Country with a huge right hand. He's been the only person to knock out Nelson, which is pretty impressive considering the elite heavyweights Nelson has gone up against.
2: VS Ben Rothwell Affliction Banned
Arlovski rarely has exciting fights that reach the later rounds. They're usually either quick exciting finishes or decisions that could cure insomnia. His debut fight in Affliction with Ben Rothwell was the rare exception to that rule. This was Arlovski's first fight since his UFC contract ended and Rothwell's first fight since leaving the IFL. Rothwell was no joke at this point as he was on a thirteen fight winning streak that had lasted almost three years. The two had an exciting hard hitting fight. Arlovski got the better of their exchanges, but Rothwell hung in there with some good shots of his own. The Pitbull was victorious as he was finally able to knock him out in the third round to end his hot streak.
1: VS Tim Sylvia UFC 51
Frank Mir became the UFC heavyweight champion at UFC 48 when he broke Tim Sylvia's arm, but a motorcycle accident would have the UFC create an interim title. Sylvia would once again have a chance to regain gold and this time it was against Arlovski who was on a nice three fight winning streak. In forty seven seconds, Arlovski knocked him down with a huge right hand and quickly went for an Achilles lock to finish him off. An awesome performance as he beat the former champ to start his own impressive title reign.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.