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Fedor vs. Arlovski: Breaking down tonight’s main event

If Affliction Entertainment has mastered one aspect in the art of promoting combat sports, it has been an ability to spend money and assemble stacked fight cards.

After a star-studded “Banned” event this past July, tonight’s “Day of Reckoning” lineup is as deep if not deeper than the promotion’s inaugural event.

Headlining the show will be a WAMMA heavyweight title defense by Fedor Emelianenko against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.

Arlovski will attempt to hand Emelianenko his first true defeat. While competing in the Japan-based Rings promotion in 2000, Emelianenko was TKO’d against former UFC veteran Tsuyoshi Koshaka after suffering a cut. The rules of the promotion at the time dictated that a fight had to be called to an immediate stop once a competitor had suffered a laceration. While his official record is listed as 28-1, Fedor has yet to experience being knocked out, TKO’d, or submitted in an MMA fight.

Much has been made leading up to this fight regarding Arlovski’s work with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. Roach has been quoted as making critical comments regarding Fedor’s standup technique, which has drawn a negative reaction from MMA purists.

“He’s flat-footed, has no technique,” Roach told’s Josh Gross last month, before taking a more complimentary tone.

While Roach has rubbed some Fedor fans the wrong way, his ability to help promote a fight cannot be overlooked. In addition to being one of the top trainers in the sport, Roach is also a savvy businessman. His comments brought a spark during the fight’s buildup that was sorely lacking.

Roach no doubt made an impact during Arlovski’s preparations for this fight but too much attention has been paid to his involvement. The 21-year old native of Belarus did not spend his training camp working with Roach on an exclusive basis, as sources have revealed to that Arlovski spent a great deal of time in Chicago working with Division I wrestlers.

Arlovski’s camp is well aware of just how versatile Fedor is and knew going into the fight that all of his skills would need to be in top shape. In addition to showing strong skills, Arlovski will also need exhibit strong tactical ability. In recent years, Arlovski has adopted a more thought out methodical approach, much to the dismay of some of his fans who preferred his aggressive style that he exibited during his early UFC days.

While Arlovski’s new style may not be as television-friendly, he’s a much better fighter. Following his UFC 59 loss in 2006 to Tim Sylvia in which Arlovski was TKO’d just 2:43 into the fight, he learned that he wasn’t the only hard-hitter in the heavyweight division. By evolving and fighting smarter fights, Arlovski has proven to be a much bigger threat than he ever was during his heavyweight championship reign in the UFC. Fedor is a dangerous opponent and Arlovski will not recklessly open himself up to be knocked out early.

It will benefit Arlovski if he starts out slow and paces himsef. While cardio has never been an issue for Fedor and likely won’t be in this fight, it needs to be noted that Fedor began his camp for this fight in Stary Oskol six weeks ago. That has left him several weeks short of the standard 8-12 week approach that most fighters dedicate to a training camp before a major fight. However, his involvement in filming a motion picture in Thailand and his decision to compete in the World Combat Sambo Championships in Russia in November briefly delayed the start of his camp.

However, being a few weeks short of a full camp isn’t likely going to be a factor in tonight’s contest. Both fighters have the ability to be explosive and finish fights early. Tonight’s contest is a title fight and is scheduled for five rounds but it’s very unlikely that Fedor vs. Arlovski will go the distance.

Fedor could pace himself in the early going but will likely look to make his move to finish Arlovski within the first three minutes of round one. Known for having a strong chin, Fedor can afford to expose his chin to one of Arlovski’s power punches in order to close the range between the two combatants so that he can apply a body lock to Arlovski.

Arvloski is one of the most athletic heavyweights you will find and he has utilized his athletic gifts to develop a strong sprawl. As such, it is not a forgone conclusion that he will get taken down. The problem is that Fedor is not a leg attacker, as much like Randy Couture, he relies on bodylocks in order to initiate upper-body takedowns so that he can ground his opponents.

If Fedor gets inside and wraps his arms around Arlovski’s body, he will utilize his world class Sambo skills to put Arlovski on the mat. While Arlovski’s jiu-jitsu is very underrated, Fedor’s ground and pound will likely prove to be too much. If Arlovski exposes his arm or neck in an attempt to defend Fedor’s punches, Fedor has shown in the past that he’s not opposed to taking the submission.

If Arlovski finds himself on his back, he will need to make sure he stays close to Fedor so that the former PRIDE champion can’t achieve separation in an attempt to put an optimum amount of momentum behind his ground and pound strikes. If Arlovski can force a standup, he will give himself a second chance at life and create the possibility of beating Fedor with his improved standup skills.

If Arlovski is able to force a standup, do not expect Fedor to allow it to effect him mentally. As one of the most collected human beings you will ever see during a violent confrontation, Fedor does not fight with emotion and will not allow outside influences to stand in the way of his achieving his objectives.

No matter how hard Arlovski tries to keep the fight standing, it’s inevitable that Fedor will find a way to ground “The Pitbull” and finish him via TKO, possibly as early as the first round.

  • BigDave says:

    Sam, I think you need a vacation or something. You seem to think that fedor is some kind of mythical being that cant be beat or tested by any meer mortal. Fedor is a great fighter thats true but so is arlovski. they are both sambo fighters and if im not mistake Fedor jus got beat in november in a sambo fight. He didnt train long enough for this fight. Fedor also looked like a tub of goo at the wheigh-in. i predict that not only will Arlovski win this fight he will do it convincingly.

    The Pitbull by TKo dur to strikes Rd 2

  • mike wolfe says:


    If your prediction is correct, I’ll be the first to tip my hat. But I’ve got a better chance of being struck by lightening in my basement than Arlovski has of winning this fight.

  • colin61 says:

    I think Arlovskis going to take this and with a good game plan. For example I expect to see leg kicks and even a Muay Thai clinch from Arlovski. He isn’t intimidated by Fedor and he is a fighter that continues to grow and improve.

  • Joey says:

    I agree with Sam on this. BigDave your clearly ill-informed or just know nothing about MMA to think that Fedor’s physical appearance has anything to do wth how good of a fighter he is. So what if he was tubby? Its the same gut that dominated pride and knocked out Tim Sylvia in 36 seconds. Do some research – even wikipedia it- before you make some disrespectful comments.

  • nuckster says:

    Fedor is basically undefeated because he has rarely fought anyone worthwhile.I agree he is a very good fighter, but get tired of everyone turning a blind eye to the level of competition he has faced. Silvia is broken down to the point he hobbles around the ring. We all saw what happened to Cro Cop in the UFC. Arlovski will be a good test for Fedor, especially if he can’t finish him early. I say if Fedor can’t submit him in round 1, its Arlovskis fight by decision.

  • kidneybeans says:

    Al I know is I can’t fucking wait!

  • Handover Fist says:

    I’m skeptical that Arlovski’s skills have progress as much as the article suggests but I hope your right. Otherwise I have to agree this fight has little chance of getting out of the first round.

  • Lord Faust says:

    Um, might want to check that article…. I don’t think Arlovski is only 21 years old… He’s verging on 31…

  • justin b says:

    Arlovski by decision. write it down take a picture. its going to be a paced out and AA will out point him on the feet.

  • screwface says:

    if theres one thing the ufc has taught me, is anything can happen to any fighter on any given night. but this is one time i refuse to believe in that possibility. no fedor is not some mythical godlike being. but lets keep it real. no way in hell does arlovski have a chance of winning this fight. arlovski is a decent fighter. but fedor is better then him in all aspects. even if fedor has a staph infection and a sprained ankle with a broken hand, he still wins this fight. unfortunately fedor has easily beaten everyone else outside of the ufc so arlovski is the only one whos left to create a decent main event around. i just cant see this fight goin any other way. this fight will goto the ground, and fedor will submit him and make it look easy. sorry to the fedor haters, and trust me i think hes beatable just not by arlovski.

  • mu_shin says:

    Go back and research some of Fedor’s Pride matches. You can find the videos on-line if you search. He’s always looked the same, kind of stocky, a little thick, but watch him in Pride, where the first round is ten minutes, and tell me you think he’s not a great athlete. No, he’s not invulnerable, and no, he’s not unbeatable, but the guy has crushing power in both hands, he has scary strength to take down just about anyone, while also having tremendous takedown defense. He has more than twice as many submission wins as knockouts, so he’s deadly on the ground, but can clearly do both with authority. I read people question his record, and the opponents he’s faced, but don’t know of any other heavyweight in any organization who has fought so many fights with a nearly perfect record (no one has beaten him in the ring, one loss for a cut, one no contest) nor is there any active heavyweight with a more impressive fight resume.

    While Arlovski is an improved fighter, I think it would be an even bigger shock to the MMA world if Andrei wins this fight than it was when Frank Mir overwhelmed Nogueira. Emelianenko is the most complete heavyweight we’ve yet seem in MMA, and I think he will win convincingly against Arlovski. Perhaps then the powers that be can get past the business road blocks, and give us, the fans and PPV purchasers, the best of the best, Fedor/Lesnar, Fedor/Mir, however it plays out in the coming year.

  • john says:

    Yeah Arlovski was what 1-2 against Sylvia? Fedor beat Sylvia in what 36 seconds? Fedor by murder round 1.

  • HexRei says:

    After how Nelson handled Arlovski on the ground, I can only imagine Fedor will sub Arlovski soon after they hit the mat. And I don’t see Arlovski KOing Fedor, Fedor has only been rocked once that I have seen (Fujita) and I don’t think Arlovski will exposing anything about Fedor’s chin tonight.

  • HexRei says:

    Screwface, there is one opponent left for Fedor after this: Barnett.

  • felipe says:

    Arlovski will put up a good fight because he will be running around the ring trying to avoid a takedown. He will distance himself in order to maintain a good stand up game because if he goes down, Fedor will destroy him. As far as the fedor haters go, you guys need to get ur mma iqs up!!! Fedor has faught many athletic fighters and has spanked all of them! Watch the fight against Randleman. Which was considered one of the first mma deaths when he was suplexed on his head but somehow managed to continue fighting as if nothing happened! Watch the fight against hong man choi! He can take on a heavier opponent! He has never been knocked out!!! If Fedor was in ufc he would be champ hands down, and ufc dickriders would know whats up!!

  • neijia says:


    1. can’t believe how great Arlovski’s kickboxing looks. better than Frank Mir’s dismantling of Nog. Arlovski might have won in similar fashion against Fedor if he were more patient and disciplined like Mir was against Nog. He was winning, though Fedor by sub later was my thought… but then he didn’t seem to be able to take down Arlovski in rd 1.

    2. can’t believe how perfect Fedor’s answer was. I don’t know if it was:
    a. incredible luck
    b. perfect coincidence
    c. amazingly good timing and spot on aim
    d. come from behind ability and mental ability only seen in stars like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and … Fedor
    e. all of the above

    3. leaving your feet, even for the flying knee = very bad idea against someone of such skill and experience.

    4. incredible power vs. incredibly technical = who knows what will happen. damn!

    did Fedor look rocked? he exhaled a lot against the ropes. but in replays Arlovski’s push kick looked like it did nothing more than move him and Arlovski’s amazingly crisp striking didn’t look that damaging. was Fedor feinting being totally open and in trouble? i don’t think we’ll ever know.

    Also, is Arlovski now the clear #2 HW in the world? He looks like he could destroy anyone else – Mir, Lesnar, whomever, and showed Fedor’s only holes. Arlovski looks like he really can jump into pro boxing and become champion. Freddie Roach was right about Arlovski’s superior boxing but was just plain wrong about Fedor’s overall MMA skills and mental game. No one could’ve predicted tonight’s outcome…

    PS really hope Lindland is ok.

  • HexRei says:

    Yeah Lindland was twitching, it was a tough call for the ref cause he had his guard up but those last three punches were seriously injuring and probably unnecessary. I am one of those who rarely say a fight was stopped late, but that was really distressing to see. He couldn’t stand even after two minutes or so.

    As an Oregonian, I may hate your politics Matt, but you’re a great fighter and I wish you the best

  • neijia says:

    Man I feel scared for him. The leg twitching was extremely frightening. Brain damage of any kind is extremely distressing and terrible. I hope he watches his tape and decides to retire. He’s an Olympic silver medalist and has already had a great mma career. Whatever his politics, I wish him the best as well.

    Vitor Belfort does seem to be back, doesn’t he?

  • Chris says:

    Wow. The Fedor Vs Arlovski was incredible. Arlovski looked impressive. I sure hope he doesn’t leave MMA for boxing. A rematch would be great a year down the road.

    Nieijia. I don’t believe Fedor was tired from fighting Arlovski. Fedor may have been surprised by his strength and quickness but I do believe that Fedor was trying to wear him down and figure out his game plan. I would have loved to see Fedor use some G4P and beat the SH*T out of Arlovski in the second round. But what could a fighter do against the most talented, smartest, confident, conditioned, perhaps the quickest, and definitely one of the strongest fighters in the world, Fedor Emilianenko!

    Barnett is going to face the toughest challenge of his life, from the best fighter ever The Last Emperor!

  • LetEmFight says:

    As one of Fedor’s many fans …. every fight against someone like AA, or when I am contemplating Fedor in a fight with Randy, Barnett, Mir or Lesnar…I confidently tell my friends how bad he is going to kick the other guy’s ass, but secretly fear that “This guy has a genuine CHANCE to beat Fedor, maybe he’s the guy”….but even though I predicted the Fedor win, he suprises me again by always showing why he is the only current HW Champion….he always finds a way to win that perpetuates the legend that has become Fedor.

    If you remember, Lindland did pretty good against Fedor in Pride, but last night’s fight with Vitor showed that even an inconsistent / unstable fighter’s physical gifts can be dangerous at this level…so anyone CAN and likily will be beaten, but when the opponent is Fedor, your odds of victory decrease……almost as fast as Dana’s credibility.

  • FightMinded says:

    And all u guys thought AA had a chance?!?! C’mon. Who says Fedor has a weak record?!?! Cro-cop, Big Nog, Randleman, Coleman, Sylvia, Babalu, Herring, Semmy, and now AA. I think those guys are good. BTW, Lindland and Fedor fought in Bodog. Fedor kills Barnett then hopefully stomps Coture. Then I guess he goes back to DESTROYING every ex UFC heavyweight champ. He’s up to 5 or 6 now………………Is tank abbott really gay? I heard that.

  • Bob says:


    Bad prediction. Fedor isn’t mythical either though..he’s been rocked before and if anyone can do it, its arlovski. But i think the writer has it right..This isn’t boxing and although everything seems centered on Arlovski’s stand up, Fedor has fought Crocop in his prime and knows how to handle himself against a great striker. If he starts losing the stand up game, he’ll eventually put Arlovski on the ground and dismantle him.

    Ironically, He KO’ed Andre in round 1 because of a stupid mistake Andre made.. but even if he hadn’t, Fedor still had the better chance to win, given his ground game. MMA isn’t all about striking and Fedor knows how to switch gears instantly and take the fight to a different zone.

    Having said that, Andre might have been able to keep him on his feet long enough for a KO.. but he didn’t have a very good chance i don’t think


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