If you were to think of the classic rivalries in MMA, what's the first one to come to mind? You're probably thinking of Rampage Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva or Fedor vs. Big Nog. If you're newer to MMA, it's probably Edgar vs. Maynard, which was a great modern-day trilogy.
Now what about the rivalries that you no longer care about? I'm guessing at the very top of that list is Andrei Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia. They got off to a brilliant start with the first two fights. They had compelling back-and-forth action to really make fans care.
Then the third fight happened at UFC 61. A fight so miserable, I thank my lucky stars that I wasn't covering MMA at the time or it would have made me rethink my career choices. When the UFC's heavyweight division lacked depth, Arlovski and Sylvia made it painfully apparent just how shallow it actually was.
For 25 minutes they danced around, neither wanting to commit nor risk picking up another loss to the other. It was appalling and was the turning point where fans realized just how boring these two fighters could possibly be when scared of losing.
It's a theme that has remained with Sylvia for six years. He's the heavyweight who wants so badly to return to the Octagon that he's willing to bore fans to tears with sloppy clinch work. To his credit, Arlovski has been able to shake that reputation. He's replaced it instead with being known as a fighter who goes out quicker than a fainting goat.
Which brings us to today. This morning at OneFC 5, Arlovski and Sylvia met for a fourth time. The fight was, surprisingly, pretty entertaining. Both fighters had opportunities to finish and there were times when both were rocked.
The ending was actually captivating, though incredibly illegal. In OneFC, a fighter needs to wait for referee approval before going in for a soccer kick. Arlovski dropped Sylvia with a pair of overhand rights and went in for the kill with two soccer kicks to the face.
Sylvia was given five minutes to recover and Arlovski received a yellow card. Unfortunately, Sylvia was seeing double and the fight was ruled a no contest. From the video, it's clear that the damage was done with the right hands and not the soccer kicks.
But that doesn't mean much, as OneFC have decided to put together a fifth bout between the two.
It's literally the last fight that I want to see. The first three meetings were definitive enough that there was no reason for the fourth. The fact that this bout ended in controversy doesn't mean that there's reason for a fifth scrap.
OneFC is doing some really interesting things in Asia and have essentially become the home for high-level MMA in the Far East. They have the budget and promotional know-how to showcase some really good fighters who would otherwise have limited options.
They have been doing some great things and can really put Asia back on the MMA map. They should be focusing on building fighters such as Bibiano Fernandes and Eduard Folayang, both of whom have long-term viability for the promotion.
What I'm saying is, skip the fifth bout between Arlovski and Sylvia. Put this debacle behind you. Instead, focus on the future of the promotion with the best that Asia has to offer. It's why I want to watch OneFC in the first place.
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