Although chances are Andrei Arlovski’s name doesn’t get mentioned that much, during discussions about who are the UFC’s top heavyweight contenders, the former champ still believes he has what it takes to add another title to his resume.
Arlovski is a day away from facing Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC Fight Night 51, in what is a main event rematch. The two fought in 2010, under the Strikeforce banner, and Silva emerged with a unanimous decision win.
The 35 year-old fighter recently spoke with UFC.com, and during the interview, Arlovski made his case as to why he still has a championship run left in him.
“Before, when I was in the UFC, I may have taken things for granted,” Arlovski said. “But I’m much more responsible now, and maybe that’s why the UFC gave me this chance again. The most important thing to me now is training hard and being a responsible professional. I think at this stage of my career I can still be a champion, and I’m going to work toward that goal. That is the most important thing right now, to move forward.”
Now, it’s probably fair to say that most fans and observers would be really, really surprised if Arlovski contends for another title at this stage of his career. Part of the reason for this, is that Arlovski narrowly got by Brendan Schaub in June via split decision, in a fight that was widely panned.
Arlovski, however, argues that things will be different on Saturday.
“I wasn’t happy with my last fight,” Arlovski said. “But if you look at his face he looked like he got hit by a train. My performance wasn’t the best but a win is always good. I took some lessons and did some homework and I will be a much different fighter against Silva.”
Guess we’ll see soon enough. Of course, if Arlovski goes out and destroys the #4 ranked Silva, then the MMA world quickly will be buzzing about what the future holds for the #14 ranked heavyweight. That’s if Arlovski can take out “Bigfoot”, which isn’t going to be easy.
When you look at Silva’s record, the only men to defeat the massive heavyweight in recent years are Fabricio Werdum, Daniel Cormier and the champion Cain Velasquez (twice). That’s some pretty elite competition.
And if you look at the betting lines, they also show that the oddsmakers would be pretty surprised if Arlovski gets by Silva. The latter is a favorite in the -400 to -500 range.
So, it’s a massive, massive opportunity for Arlovski, which should make for a very interesting night.
UFC FN 51 will be hosted by the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium, in Brasilia, Brazil.