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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.


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… 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?
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?
 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.


“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


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

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.


World Series of Fighting 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson — The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Special thanks to Oliver Chan and photographer Rick Albrecht for the photos.

If there’s one thing that I took away from last night’s World Series of Fighting card, it was that even a high profile promotion that puts on a night of entertaining fights is going to encounter some hiccups during its second event. Join us as we relive the highs and lows from WSoF 2.

The Good:

Anthony Johnson looked legitimate at heavyweight: Heading into last night’s main event, a lot was riding on Anthony “Rumble” Johnson actually fighting like a true heavyweight and not just looking like one. With all of the focus from fans and pundits alike on the “former UFC welterweight” issue, a poor showing from Johnson could have caused many fans to dismiss WSoF as an organization of squash matches and freak show fights. Fortunately for the organization, last night Rumble proved that his fight against Andrei Arlovski didn’t deserve freak show status. Johnson was too quick for Arlovski early on, and almost finished the fight before the end of the first round. He may have gassed out early – that’ll happen when you take a knee to the juevos during your first fight as a heavyweight – but at least he demonstrated that he’s capable of being a competent heavyweight if Ray Sefo needs him to be one again.


World Series of Fighting 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson — Live Results and Commentary

(Admit it. You kind of missed that tongue.Photo via

Tonight in Atlantic City, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski headlines World Series of Fighting 2 against former UFC whateverweight Anthony Johnson, in a battle that will surely earn the 2013 Minowaman Freak Show Hall of Fame Award. Also on the card: UFC vets Josh Burkman and Aaron Simpson throw down in the welterweight division, Paulo Filho hopefully shows up to fight David Branch, and Marlon Moraes returns from his win over Miguel Torres to face Bellator champ killer Tyson Nam.

Our man Oliver Chan is on the scene tonight at the Revel Casino, where he and photographer Rick Albrecht will be posting round-by-round updates, commentary, and visual aids after the jump, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest from the NBC Sports Network main card broadcast, and let your voices be heard in the comments section.


[VIDEO] Anthony Johnson is a Round Mound of Ground-n-Pound in Extended ‘WSOF 2′ Preview

(“Why yes, I did smell what The Rock was cooking. In fact, I went back for seconds. Why do you ask?”) 

“Anthony Johnson is trying to shed the tarnish of being one of the best welterweights in the world…that couldn’t make the weight.”

In the opening moments of the extended preview for this weekend’s second World Series of Fighting event, we are informed of the above dilemma facing former UFC contender Anthony Johnson by a silky-voiced narrator — over a melancholic piano soundtrack of course, because emotions. And while this bit of info would usually serve as the precursor to an inspiring tale of Johnson’s welterweight redemption, it kind of loses its pop when you realize that Johnson is now fighting at upwards of 50 pounds heavier than he was in the UFC.

But it is Johnson’s horizontal expansion that takes center stage in the above preview, understandably yet somewhat still puzzlingly juxtaposed with Andrei Arlovski’s own tale of hopeful redemption. It’s a shame that Dana White has already publicly written off the fight as “not legit,” or the (implied) idea that we could see “The Pitbull” back in the UFC would probably hold a lot more water in the above preview. Ditto for the idea that Arlovski could do so by beating up a former welterweight who has been fighting at light heavyweight for less than a year now. Then again, if you’re like Sherdog’s Jordan Breen, who is also featured in the video, you probably think “weight classes” and “champions” of said “weight classes” are meaningless restrictions meant for little more than depriving MMA fans for the fights they truly want to see (SUPER HLUK TOURNEY NEVER DIE!).

Featuring some highlights of Johnson and Arlovski crushing their respective cans at WSoF 1, as well as the aforementioned interviews with everyone from Eddie Alvarez to renowned trainer Mike Winkeljohn, check out an extended preview of WSoF 2 after the jump, along with a full rundown of the card.


What, You Don’t Want to Read About the Time Vince McMahon Challenged Dana White to a Fight?

(I have nothing funny to say, so instead I’ll remind everyone that this guy was an ECW champion, and that makes me feel empty inside.)

For a guy who doesn’t believe that MMA is a threat to his business, WWE owner Vince McMahon is certainly very conscious of its existence. In fact, I’m willing to bet that McMahon is secretly a pretty big MMA fan. In the past, he has basically taken credit for the MMA success of Brock Lesnar, financed a movie about a mentally-challenged MMA fighter (I’m being dead serious), paid tribute to Sonnen vs. Silva II during one of his company’s matches, and once tried to pay Mike Goldberg to no-show his UFC announcing duties. What hardcore MMA fan hasn’t thought about doing that last one?

So I guess it should come as no surprise then that according to Dana White, Vince McMahon once challenged him to a fight. As he told the media leading up to tonight’s UFC 158:


Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson Booked for WSOF 2; Event Kicks Off New Three-Year Deal With NBC Sports Network

(Anthony Johnson, back in his “How in the actual f*ck does that guy make 170??” days.)

After going 3-0 as light-heavyweight last year — with no weigh-in mishaps whatsoever — ever-expanding slugger Anthony Johnson is making his next jump up the scale. As first reported by MMA Junkie, the former UFC welterweight contender is slated to face former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski at heavyweight in the main event of World Series of Fighting 2, which goes down Saturday, March 23rd, at Revel Resorts & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Both men scored easy first-round knockouts at WSOF’s debut event in November, so hell, why not make ‘em fight each other? Though “Rumble” won’t have a size-advantage to rely on this time, his powerful fists could spell doom for Arlovski’s fuzzy chin.

But that’s not even the biggest WSOF-related news we have to share. According to a press release distributed today, WSOF 2 will mark the first live event in a new three-year broadcast partnership with NBC Sports Network, which previously aired the promotion’s first card. Here’s the important stuff:

The agreement calls for a minimum of six live events annually on the national television platform that reaches over 80 million homes. Additionally, later this year, will live stream World Series of Fighting events via TV Everywhere.


In Case You Missed It: Anthony Johnson Gets Eye-Poked, Turns Opponent Into Falling Tree [VIDEO]

Anthony Johnson picked up his third consecutive victory at 205 pounds over the weekend at World Series of Fighting 1, and while we described the moment as best we could, words simply don’t do justice to this Knockout of the Year candidate. Check out the moment above, in which Johnson, owner of the most cursed retinas in MMA, gets poked in the eye during an exchange with DJ Linderman, then immediately responds by turning Linderman into lumber with a single right straight. Even Johnson’s former boss was impressed.

After the fight, Johnson began speculating wildly (our favorite kind of speculation!) about how crazy it would be if the WSOF decided to book him against Andrei Arlovski:

I thought about that fight too, I’d take it if they offered it to me. I was actually thinking about it today. I was thinking about it today whenever I watched the fights, I watched the whole card today, and I was like it would be crazy if I got to fight Andrei Arlovski…If it happened, I would accept it. Andrei’s a great athlete. I remember when he won the title, I remember when he lost the title, I’ve followed his career. He’s a great fighter, a real athlete, a real fighter too, so it would be an honor to fight him. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. That’s just something that popped in my head this morning, what if it did happen? That would be crazy.”

That would indeed be crazy — especially considering that AJ was competing successfully at 170 pounds as recently as October 2011. Then again, their size difference isn’t much of a difference at all. Arlovski was also victorious in his World Series of Fighting appearance, TKO’ing Devin Cole in the first round of the show’s main event. Arlovski has now gone four fights without suffering a scary concussion, which is as impressive an accomplishment as anything else that happened this weekend. Check out the Arlovski vs. Cole fight after the jump, and tell us who you think would win the hypothetical moneyweight matchup between Rumble and the Pitbull.