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Tag: Andrei Arlovski

#ThrowbackThursday: Andrei Arlovski Does the Unthinkable, KO’s “Big Country” at EliteXC: Heat


(Photo via Sherdog.)

Throwback Thursday is a new recurring column that pays tribute to the stars of an upcoming UFC event by taking a look back at some of their greatest defining moments. This week, we recollect Andrei Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson ahead of the former’s clash with Brendan Schaub this Saturday. 

UFC 174: Dagestani Revolution marks the glorious (and somewhat unexpected) promotional return of former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. I could literally not be more excited. Also nervous, but mostly excited.

I imagine that I’m not alone in this feeling, as Arlovski has become one of those fighters who it seems harder and harder to root against these days. He’s seen some decent highs and the lowest of lows in the six years since we last saw him stomp out Jake O’Brien at UFC 82. I bet you thought I was going to link to the Fedor knockout in the “lowest of lows”, didn’t you? The Brett Rogers one, maybe? My hyperlink-based wit will not be contained.

But oh yes, Arlovski. Scheduled to face Brendan Schaub in a featured bout this weekend, Arlovksi is once again having to defend the absurd notion that he lacks a chin, because if Court McGee’s heroin overdose has taught us anything, it’s that most MMA journalists are unoriginal hacks content to repeat the same tired cliches and dusty anecdotes ad nauseum until they are eroded of all meaning. Stand and bang, you guys. Stand and bang.

Regardless, if Arlvoski fighting Anthony Johnson for two rounds with a broken jaw didn’t convince you that he does in fact have a chin at the end of his face, then perhaps we should go back a bit further…to the night when Arlovski traded hands with Roy Nelson and came out the conscious one, blowing everyone’s minds through the back of their goddamn cornholes in the process.

Cue the dream sequence harp!

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The Unsupportable Opinion: Screw It, Bring Tim Sylvia Back to the UFC


(Image courtesy of Sherdog.)

By Seth Falvo

Yeah, I know we’ve written otherwise around these parts. I understand that he hasn’t won a fight since defeating a thirty-eight year old journeyman sporting a 13-11 record back in 2012, that he probably can’t make 265 pounds without amputating something, and that he’s been a subject of scorn during pretty much every CagePotato Roundtable we’ve published. I secretly realize that there isn’t a single thing that Tim Sylvia has done within the past two years to justify bringing him back to the world’s premier MMA organization.

But there’s something remarkably hypocritical about acknowledging that the UFC is a sports entertainment company, then crying foul when one of the biggest stars of the mid-to-late 2000s is offered that final fight in the UFC he’s been so desperately seeking, so let’s not do that.

Instead of focusing so heavily on the sports, let’s actually focus on the entertainment that Tim Sylvia has provided us over the years. Personally, I was still in high school during the Tim Sylvia Era. A friend had exposed me to his collection of UFC events, and I immediately became hooked. I won’t claim that I was the biggest fan of the then-heavyweight champion — even with my limited knowledge of MMA, I realized Sylvia was an unrefined fighter — but there was something inspiring about watching him compete. “The Maine-iac” managed to achieve the highest honor in his sport, despite being the last person on the planet who most people would look at and think “professional athlete.” And of course, his rivalry with Andrei Arlovski helped make things interesting, even when his fights occasionally weren’t.

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Andrei Arlovski Re-Signs With UFC, June Bout Against Brendan Schaub Reportedly in the Works [UPDATED]


(To answer your questions, you can buy it here, and it also comes in shark. / Photo via Andrei’s Instagram)

After a six-year absence from the promotion, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will be returning to the Octagon this year. UFC president Dana White confirmed Arlovski’s signing on Twitter yesterday, and MMAJunkie reports that a bout between Arlovski and Brendan Schaub is being targeted for UFC 174 (June 14th; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). UPDATE: Arlovski vs. Schaub is official, and Schaub is pretty psyched about it.

Though Arlovski endured a rough patch in 2009-2011 where he lost four consecutive fights — marked by knockout losses to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, and Sergei Kharitonov — the “Pitbull” actually ended his first UFC stint on a three-fight win streak, including a decision victory against current heavyweight title contender Fabricio Werdum and TKO’s of Marcio Cruz and Jake O’Brien. His departure was contract-related (and immediately profitable), and since then, Dana White has always been highly complimentary of Arlovski as a fighter and as a person, even while criticizing his career choices.

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Video: Andrei Arlovski TKO’s Andreas Kraniotakes in Belarus [UPDATED]


(Props: UnderDog22 via MMAFighting)

As we mentioned last week in our profile of Muay Thai coach Said Hatim, Andrei Arlovski competed in his homeland of Belarus on Friday night, taking on German journeyman Andreas Kraniotakes in the headliner of Fight Nights: Battle on Nyamiha. Arlovski appeared loose and in control throughout the fight, which ended in the second round with a big right hand from The Pitbull and some follow-up shots on the ground. You can watch the fight above, which we’ve cued up to the TKO finish.

The match gave Arlovski his second straight win, and his fourth victory in his last five appearances. Hatim won his fight as well, stopping Artem Kazersky by second-round TKO. We’ll update this post if video of that match pops up on the Internet.

Update: And it has. Check out video of the entire event after the jump. Hatim’s fight begins at the 2:06:28 mark.

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Heart & Soul of MMA: Said Hatim, And The Virtue of Staying Ready


Said Hatim (center) cuts weight on a treadmill in Minsk, Belarus this week with student Andrei Arlovski (right) and coach Dino Costeas (left) | Photos via HatimStyle

By Elias Cepeda

MMA has come quite far in the past decade but very few fighters are featured on national television, sponsored by big companies and able to focus 100% of their energy on the sport. Many more put in the blood, sweat and tears without the bright lights or big bucks, filled with and fueled by love and an inexplicable drive to simply be a better fighter.

They hold down full-time jobs, have families and are known only to those truly in the know. They are the heart and soul of MMA.

Said Hatim is one such fighter.

The idea was initially proposed half-heartedly. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski had recently booked his next fight — a main event contest on the Battle in Minsk card in his home of Belarus on Nov. 29 — and jokingly asked his Muay Thai coach Said Hatim if he also wanted to fight on the card.

Said was a pro kickboxer and boxer for years and has coached and trained with high level fighters like boxer Mike Mollo, UFC veteran Clay Guida, top Bellator featherweight Mike Corey and TUF veteran Mark Miller but his lone, albeit successful, MMA fight had taken place five years ago. Since that time, Hatim has focused on coaching and submission grappling tournaments.

Sure, he’d make the trip to Europe with Arlovski to be in his corner as he usually does, but Hatim was now 38 years old and half a decade removed from his last fight. “The Pitbull” was suggesting that Hatim add to his coaching responsibilities on fight night with his own contest against a much younger competitor. Said didn’t hesitate.

“Andrei told me that he was fighting in a main event November 29 and asked me, ‘Oh, do you want to fight too?,’” Hatim recounts to CagePotato.

“We were joking like that. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight.’”

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The Top 24 Mixed Martial Artists Who Lost Their First Fight


(Renan Barao: Started from the bottom, now he here. / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

At the UFC 165 post-fight presser last month, UFC president Dana White showered praise upon UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao, calling him one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and remarking that the media hadn’t given enough credit to his eight-year, 32-fight undefeated streak, which has remained pristine since May 2005.

Barao has only tasted defeat once, and it was in the first fight of his career. The fact that he’s rebounded with the longest current undefeated streak in mixed martial arts — despite the fact that his first loss could have ruined his confidence forever — is absolutely amazing to me, as many young would-be prospects have crashed and burned in their debuts, never to be heard of again.

It got me thinking: What other mixed martial artists lost their first fight but then went on to have great success? I expected to bang out a list of ten fighters, but once I started doing the research, it blew my mind that some of the best fighters to ever compete in the sport, and a number of currently top 10-ranked fighters, actually lost their very first fight.

And so, I compiled a list of the top 24 MMA fighters of all time who lost their first fight. The list is based on accomplishments in the sport, overall skill level, and potential. Enjoy, and if I somehow missed somebody notable, please leave a comment below and explain why he or she should be included.

Honorable mentions: Matt “The Wizard” Hume (5-5), Wesley “Cabbage” Correira (20-15), Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (18-2), Rodrigo Damm (11-6), James Te Huna (16-6)

24. Travis “The Ironman” Fulton (249-49-10, 1 NC)

(Photo via ThunderPromotions)

On July 26, 1996, at the age of 19 years old, Travis Fulton fought Dave Strasser in his MMA debut at Gladiators 1 in Davenport, Iowa, losing the fight via first-round submission. He then went on to win 249 fights, the most wins in mixed martial arts history. Fulton also holds the record for most fights (309) and most knockout wins (91) in MMA history.

Mind = blown.

Was Fulton a can crusher? Yes, yes he was. Or, should I say, yes he is, as he beat some nobody in his native Iowa just this past March. But you don’t win 249 MMA fights by accident, and Fulton deserves a place on this list based on volume alone.

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World Series of Fighting 5 Report: Arlovski Beats Kyle, Branch Tops Villefort


(Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski [right] connects with a right on Mike Kyle Saturday night at WSOF 5 | Photo by Lucas Noonan/WSOF)

By Elias Cepeda

Andrei Arlovski showed resiliency for the second fight in a row Saturday night in the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) 5 event in New Jersey, this time coming away with a win. Last March, Arlovski had his jaw broken after taking extra punches from Anthony Johnson when the referee allowed the first round to go on past the bell but fought on for the duration of the bout, ultimately losing a decision.

Saturday night, the recently un-retired Mike Kyle dropped Arlovski twice, once in the first and once in the third round, but “The Pitbull” came back each time and scored enough himself to be awarded winning scores of 29-28 by all three ringside judges. Arlovski took the fight on a month’s notice after Johnson himself was injured and had to pull out of the fight with Kyle.

“It was a great fight,” Arlovski said after the bout. “[Kyle is] a top fighter, and I really appreciate him for this fight.

In the WSOF 5 co-main event, middleweight David Branch won a decision over Danillo Villefort on the strength of dominating take downs and ground grappling. With the win, Branch has earned a shot at the WSOF middleweight belt. His opponent for the inaugural middleweight title bout has not yet been announced.

In heavyweight action, Derrick Mehmen knocked out Rolles Gracie in the second round. Throughout the first round, Gracie was able to stay safe and use his grappling effectively against Mehmen but in the second stanza, his opponent connected with a clean right hand on the feet that put Rolles out in unintentionally hilarious fashion.

In a strange turn of events, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board officials called off a middleweight tournament bout between Elvis “The King” Mutapcic and Jesse “JT Money” Taylor just moments before the two were scheduled to hit the cage.

According the commission, Mutapcic took a prescription pill that had not been cleared for use.

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Interview: Back in the Spotlight, Andrei Arlovski Won’t Stop Until He’s Champion Again


(“It’s a trap when you’re on top of the world. When I was champion, I had people who would go out with me every day of the week. After I had two, three losses, people disappeared.” / Photo via Sherdog)

By Brian J. D’Souza

This Saturday, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will make his third appearance under the World Series of Fighting banner when he faces off against briefly-retired UFC/Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle in the main event of WSOF 5. Arlovski is actually coming in as an injury replacement for Anthony Johnson — the man who broke his jaw (and his four-fight win streak) at WSOF 2 in March.

As he prepares to bounce back into the win column, the Pitbull took some time to speak with us about this weekend’s fight, as well as the highs and lows of a memorable career. Enjoy…

CagePotato.com: What do you think about Mike Kyle as an opponent?
Andrei Arlovski: He’s very quick. Has quick hands. Very quick jab, good right hand. I just have to be ready for his speed. That’s why I train a lot right now with Jon Jones — he’s my main sparring partner. We try to help each other. He’s a hard worker, he’s a good striker, so it’s good to work with him.

CP: Your last fight against Anthony Johnson was a painful one.
AA: Yes, my jaw was broken in the fight. The referee didn’t watch the time [letting the fight continue eight seconds past the five-minute first round] and Johnson broke my jaw in two places. Every punch in my face after that gave me that feeling of putting electricity in my body. Of course, I’m not happy that I lost, but I’m very happy that I shut all the fucking mouths who said I have a weak chin. I was able to fight two more rounds with a broken jaw.

CP: How big of a problem is bad officiating, bad time-keeping, and bad refereeing in MMA?
AA:
To be honest with you, I can’t make any comments right now. Maybe later. I’m sorry. I just hope this time, the referee is going to be more professional.

CP: You’ve made an impressive career comeback after losing four straight fights in 2009-2011. How tough was that losing streak for you mentally?
AA:
 It was really tough mentally, it was really tough physically. I was asking myself, “What’s wrong? Every time, I do everything right.” I train right, I was on a schedule. You know what my old trainer told me? He said “You need to retire.”

I just gave a call to Greg Jackson, I said “Listen, should I retire or not?” He said, “Absolutely not! Just come to my camp and we’ll start over again.” Greg Jackson supported me a lot, he gave me hope.

I told [Greg] face to face, “I don’t need any favors from you. Do you think I can be champion again?” He said, “Yes.” “Do you think I have potential?” he said, “Yes.” And hearing that was enough for me.

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“Rumble” Out, Arlovski in Against Mike Kyle at WSOF 5 Main Event


(We know we’ve beaten this horse to death, but the guy on the left USED TO FIGHT AT F*CKING WELTERWEIGHT.)

Some mixed news out of the World Series of Fighting, as news broke yesterday that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who was slated to brutally KO the recently un-retired Mike Kyle at WSOF 5 in September, has been forced to pull out from the headlining fight. Although Johnson’s camp is citing a “training injury” as the reason for his withdrawal, our inside sources tell us that Rumble actually suffered an “empathy implosion” of his ACL while watching the Korean Zombie/Jose Aldo fight car wreck last weekend. Just when you thought you’ve heard it all.

Thankfully, the man stepping up on short notice to take Rumble’s place will be none other than the last man to be defeated by him, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. “The Pit Bull” has not fought since his aforementioned loss at WSOF 2, where he dropped a unanimous decision to Johnson in an entertaining slugfest.

While we imagine that Kyle is probably elated to learn that he is now fighting a guy he stands a decent chance of actually knocking out, expect him to be a huge underdog heading into this one nonetheless. Minus his setback at the hands of Johnson, Arlovski has gone 4-0 with 1 NC since exiting Strikeforce back in 2011 (well, 5-0 if you also happen to think that ONE FC’s stance on soccer kicks is f*cking ridiculous). Kyle, on the other hand, recently scored a quick KO over Travis Wiuff in his comeback bout last May.

Anybody liking “MAK” for the upset here?

-J. Jones

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CagePotato Roundtable #22: What Was the Worst UFC Title Fight of all Time?


(It’s not a UFC fight, but you can’t talk awful title fights without at least referencing Sonnen vs. Filho II. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Today we’re talking about bad UFC title fights – fights that fizzled out after weeks of hype, bored even the most die-hard fans among us, and left us baffled that the winner was considered the best in his weight class. Since we’re dealing strictly with UFC title fights, notable clunkers like Ruiz vs. Southworth II (Strikeforce), Wiuff vs. Tuchscherer (YAMMA), and Sonnen vs. Filho II (WEC) are ineligible for inclusion. Also, we promise that the only appearance of the name “Ben Askren” in this column lies in this incredibly forced sentence. Read on for our picks, and please, pretty please, send your ideas for future Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Jason Moles

Detroit is known by many names – Motown, Motor City, and Hockey Town to name a few. None of which lend to the idea that the birthplace of the assembly line was also a mecca of mixed martial arts or a place to catch great fights on Saturday. Unfortunately, UFC didn’t care; they took the show to the Great Lakes State in 1996 for UFC 9: Clash of the Titans 2 nonetheless. Ken Shamrock and Michigan native Dan Severn were set to face off for the first world title outside of Japan, the UFC Superfight championship. However, thanks to Senator John McCain, instead seeing an exciting rematch that was sure to cover the canvas in bad blood, fans in attendance and at home watching on PPV were treated to what became known as “The Detroit Dance.” And to this day, it is regarded as one of the worst fights in the history of the sport.

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