Leading up to his 2005 title-fight with Tim Sylvia, Arlovski had been knocking opponents out left and right. However, “The Pitbull” made it clear his Sambo background was about more than striking with a quick Achilles Lock finish of the man he would end up facing three more times in his career. Arlovski followed the win up with two knockout victories before re-encountering Sylvia and suffering a strike-based stoppage. After Arlovski suffered back-to-back losses to Tim Sylvia, fans began to wonder if the beloved Belarusian was in decline. He answered those questions by putting together a very respectable run in the ring including an outpointing of Fabricio Werdum, now a UFC title-contender. Arlovski would only fight in the Octagon one more time after the victory, beating Jake O’Brien in an undercard affair before going off to explore free agency. Arlovski’s first fight outside of the UFC in eight years came under the Affliction banner during the clothing designer’s brief attempt at promoting live events. He drew Ben Rothwell as his first foe, a former IFL champ with a 29-5 record and some impressive wins. Arlovski beat him up throughout the tilt and eventually rung “Big” Ben’s bell in the third round. Stocky scrapper Roy Nelson has only been stopped a single time in his career with Arlovski laying claim to the noteworthy feat. The TKO came in another now-defunct organization, EliteXC, with Arlovski peppering the portly pugilist’s frame with punches en route to a second frame finish. When Arlovski met Fedor Emelianenko in Affliction it was a major deal. Both were seemingly at the top of their games and it was a super-fight of sorts for fans who had followed each heavyweight in the UFC and PRIDE respectively. Arlovski came out strong and seemed to have Emelianenko in trouble before the disastrous decision to go for a flying knee. “The Last Emperor” threw a perfectly-timed punch connecting right on the button and sent Arlovski down to the canvas, out cold. Arlovski would go on to drop three more fights in a row before getting back on his feet with a 4-1 run (and #5 potentially coming tonight at WSOF 5).
Andrei Arlovski has been a force in Mixed Martial Arts for more than a decade, holding UFC gold in the organization’s heyday and stringing together some solid performances outside of the Octagon after deciding to give free agency a go. While he isn’t the fighter he once was, the 19-10 Arlovski remains dangerous and plans to prove such tonight at WSOF 5 where he faces Mike Kyle. It will mark one in a string of notable match-ups “The Pitbull” has encountered in an extremely memorable career. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)