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#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!

It was October 4th, 2008, a night that will forever live in MMA infamy as “That Time Seth Petruzelli Killed EliteXC.” Gina Carano had defeated Kelly Kobold via unanimous decision earlier in the evening, and in just his second match following an 8-year UFC run, Arlovski was paired against former/final IFL heavyweight champion and future subject of the Norwegian documentary Trollhunter, Roy Nelson.

Fresh off a first round knockout of TUF 2 finalist Brad Imes in his second IFL title defense, Nelson was riding a big wave of confidence into his bout with the former champion, and it showed early. For the first half of the round, Nelson thoroughly controlled Arlovski on the ground, passing his guard multiple times and cycling between armlocks while on top. This of course came to a screeching halt when referee Iam DumAss stood the two up at the midway point of the round with Nelson in side control. Classic DumAss.

Arlovski’s speed advantage in the standup department was evident, however, as “the Pit Bull” (not to be confused with this “Pitbull” or that “Pitbull”. Or that one.) was able to take advantage of the controversial stand up and unleash a brief flurry that like won him the round according to the Diego Sanchez Principle of Come At Me Bro.

Since we’re taking a little stroll down memory lane, does anyone remember when Tito Ortiz used to have hair like this? Because EliteXC remembers…

Looks like someone finally got around to renting The Jackal and loooovvedd itttt!!

The second round would see Nelson rock Arlovski early with a left hook, then shoot for a takedown that resulted in a minute of stalling against the fence. I’ll never understand why some fighters opt for this strategy when they’ve got their opponent on wobbly legs, but hey, that’s why I smash keys, not knees for a living (Obama3pointer.gif). In any case, Arlovski would eventually wiggle free and unleash an absolute clinic of knees, uppercuts, and hooks that even Nelson’s mighty beard could not withstand. In a blink, Arlovski accomplished a feat that no man could do before or has done since.

To be fair, Arlovski’s beatdown of Nelson at EliteXC: Heat came just prior to the rash of KO losses that nearly ended with him dining on a bullet, and Nelson had not yet truly earned his granite chin status via legendary beatdowns at the hands of Junior Dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, and Stipe Miocic. But looking back, who in their right minds would have thought that Arlovski would become the only man to ever stop Nelson inside the distance? Put your goddamn hands down, liars.

Currently a slight underdog against Schaub — who has something of a notorious chin in his own right (where is the roof on this hyperlink gag!) — Arlovski has nothing left to prove and has stated as much. But if he can stay away from the right hand of Schaub long enough to land some leather of his own, there’s a good chance that the former champion will finish things in the same fashion he did against Nelson on the humid Florida night so many, many years ago… (*sips brandy and stares out window*)

-J. Jones

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