UFC 174 Results: Fights for Andrei Arlovski to Take Next
Arlovski fought Brendan Schaub for the full three rounds in what can only be politely called a lackluster fight. Even worse, for some fans the fact Arlovski won was as bad as Diego Sanchez beating Ross Pearson by split decision.
Still, the bottom line says Arlovski won which means he's likely to get another shot in the Octagon. With a thin division, there aren't a lot of viable options for a heavyweight who is struggling to stay relevant.
Gabriel Gonzaga is coming off a loss so this would go against the usual match-making rules the UFC tends to follow (winners vs. winners, losers vs. losers), but it makes a lot of sense given where both men are at in their careers.
Andrei Arlovski returned to the UFC at UFC 174 but didn't look like the Arlovski we've come to expect. The trademark hand speed and crisp boxing weren't there. Instead, the new Arlovski was extremely tentative and struggled to do much of anything over the course of three rounds.
Likewise, Gonzaga has appeared to slow down immensely in the past few years. Never an athletic guy, Gonzaga's bread and butter involves Brazilian jiu-jitsu combined with new-found punching power.
Gonzaga has struggled to get past gatekeeper status, which is why a matchup with Arlovski makes sense. Both guys are around the same caliber of fighter at this point in their careers, and both have name value to sell on a Fox Sports 1 card.
Frank Mir has lost four fights in a row and should consider himself lucky to still be employed by the UFC. Although not officially retired, Mir hasn't come up in any future plans for the UFC since his UFC 169 loss.
Although it might seem odd to pair up a guy on a four-fight losing streak with a guy on a three-fight winning streak, let's not act as if Andrei Arlovski is surging up the heavyweight rankings.
Arlovski may have picked up the "official" win at UFC 174, but it wasn't an impressive performance by any means. Likewise, Mir hasn't had very many impressive performances either.
With both men struggling to stay under the Zuffa banner, at least they could fight someone who is in a similar position rather than a young, up-and-coming type of fighter.
And hey, it'd be a nice nostalgia act for these two heavyweight greats of yesteryear to face off.
Ben Rothwell has been on the sidelines since UFC 164 due to the UFC suspending the heavyweight fighter for elevated testosterone levels.
That came on the heels of Rothwell taking out Brandon Vera and getting back into the win column after a loss to Gabriel Gonzaga. Rothwell has thus far had an underwhelming UFC career, alternating wins and losses since stepping foot in the Octagon.
Although Rothwell might not want to sit on the sidelines any longer following his suspension, he may choose to do so if Arlovski's name comes up as a future opponent.
The two men have faced one another once before under the Affliction promotion with Arlovski picking up the KO win. The defeat marked the first for Rothwell in three years.
With the UFC unlikely to reward Rothwell with a high profile fight following his suspension, getting revenge against Arlovski may be the best option available.
Jared Rosholt represents the perfect opponent for an ageing Andrei Arlovski.
Rosholt doesn't have the stand-up game to hang with Arlovski on the feet and is about as one-dimensional as one can be. Perhaps if Arlovski faces Rosholt he'd open up more with his hands knowing that Rosholt isn't going to be looking for that one-punch knockout.
Before this matchup can take place, however, Rosholt has to get past Soa Palelei. If Rosholt can win, a future showdown with Arlovski makes sense.
Rosholt has flown under the radar despite winning back-to-back fights in the UFC (and a 10-1 record overall) and could use some wins over big names. A win over Palelei is a good start, but a win over Arlovski could vault Rosholt into the top 10 of the division.
Similar to the aforementioned Frank Mir fight, a bout between Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett would be a great nostalgia act.
Yes, Barnett is coming off a nasty KO loss to Travis Browne, but he is also ranked inside the top five of his division. There aren't a lot of viable options within the top 10 for Barnett to face in his next contest, so a pairing with Arlovski makes sense.
A Barnett-Arlovski fight provides both men with a winnable fight. Barnett's striking game is powerful but isn't the most technical thing to watch. However, his ground game is top notch.
Arlovski, meanwhile, has some of the best boxing—when he throws punches—in the division. He also has grappling credentials of his own.
Barnett and Arlovski shouldn't face any of the young up-and-coming heavyweights as their lack of athleticism would be a major hindrance. Instead, keeping the "senior circuit" going would be a good idea for both men and for the UFC's match-making people.
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