This Saturday, Strikeforce presents MMA fans with Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery from St. Louis, and the show’s nickname couldn’t be more spot on.
Part of the main card features a heavyweight duel between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski.
Arlovski has been away from competition for several months since being knocked out by Brett Rogers in June.
It took all of 22 seconds for Rogers to find the button that would put Arlovski out and seeing stars.
Since then, “The Pit Bull” has been eager to return to the fight game, and made that point very clear when he spoke to Bleacher Report MMA in a exclusive interview.
“First of all, I’m very excited to fight,” Arlovski said. “I didn’t fight (for) almost nine months. I’m very excited.”
Just because Andrei spend time away from sanctioned competition, doesn’t mean he stayed away from training.
On the contrary, Arlovski was putting in his work, training hard and making sure his skill set stays as sharp as those fangs he tends to wear.
“Before this fight…I had like three, four really tough camps,“ said the Chicago resident. “So, I’m just ready to go.”
Apart from his obvious excitement to return to the cage, Andrei is aware of the importance there is to perform in his upcoming fight with a stellar jiu-jitsu practitioner in Antonio Silva.
“It’s going to be a really, really important fight for both of us,” Arlovski said.
The Brazilian heavyweight known as “Bigfoot” is coming off a loss, much like Arlovski.
Last November, Silva went three rounds with Fabricio Werdum and ended up giving up a unanimous decision.
The loss does not shake Arlovski’s opinion of his upcoming opponent.
“Antonio…he’s a very dangerous opponent. His jiu-jitsu is great,” explained Arlovski when talking about Silva’s potential in a given fight.
Since dropping his last fight to Rogers, Andrei spent a lot of time training at American Kickboxing Academy and in Albuquerque with Greg Jackson.
Both of those camps have some of the most outstanding fighters and, arguably, are two of the top places in the world to train.
Greg Jackson has proven to be a top coach in the world of MMA and fighters flock to his nest of knowledge because of his high mixed martial arts IQ.
“He’s very intelligent, he’s very smart…it was a pleasure to train with him,” said Arlovski of his coach's knowledge.
Does a dog find it’s way home and will “The Pit Bull” look to Jackson for more?
“Of course, I’m going to continue to train with Greg Jackson,” Arlovski replied when asked if he plans on coming back to Albuquerque.
Arlovski has been criticized for having somewhat of a “glass chin” and being easy to knock out.
In his last two outings, Arlovski has been put out in dramatic fashion; first by Fedor Emelianenko then by the previously mentioned Brett Rogers.
The recent losses and methods of loss haven’t strayed the Belarusian fighter from his trail back to MMA supremacy.
Andrei explained that he is hungry and “will do everything possible to climb back on the top.” Much like most fighters competing in MMA, he wants “to be the best fighter.”
In the main event at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery, Arlovski’s last opponent, Brett Rogers, will tangle with heavyweight horse eater Alistair Overeem.
One can only assume that Arlovski would keep a close eye on the night’s main event.
When asked of who he thinks holds the upper hand in the bout, Andrei replied, “of course, I want Overeem to beat Rogers.”
And why is that, Andrei?
“Why do you think? Because Rogers beat me, but…I don’t really care who’s going to be champion of this fight.”
Depending on what happens this weekend, Andrei may meet Rogers again. Until that time comes, however, Rogers is getting a shot at heavyweight gold while Arlovski makes his return against Silva.
If anyone wonders what Andrei thinks of his last opponent getting a title shot coming off a loss, his opinion couldn’t be more clear when he said, “I think it’s a good opportunity for Rogers because he just fought Emelianenko. He lost but he showed a good fight. After this…he gets a shot against Overeem, so, he’s kind of lucky, you know?”