By JOHN SPECHT
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
Andrei Arlovski will make his return to action against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva on May 15th in Strikeforce – “Heavy Artillery.” He will be trying to keep from dropping 3 fights in a row for the first time in his eleven year professional career. A former UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski had won five-in-a-row in the UFC before suffering back-to-back losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. The question is, which “pitbull” are we going to see? The one that has been susceptible to strikes in his career, or the killer we were used to seeing years ago?
When asked about his recent signing with Strikeforce he stated “I am a fan of the organization and I am looking forward to a potential rematch with Brett Rogers and Fedor. I would love the opportunity to fight both of them again, but I really cannot think about that right now as I need to focus all of my time and energy on [Antonio] Bigfoot Silva.”
Silva is also a former world chamipion, and is considered by many the future of the Strikeforce heavyweight division, but he hasn't really beat anyone of note except for an old Pedro Rizzo. Ironically, Arlovski has a win over Fabricio Werdum, while Silva is coming of a loss to him (Werdum), after winning his previous six fights in a row.
When talking about a possible rematch with Werdum, Silva had this to say, “I fought a quality heavyweight and did pretty well.” Silva continued, “The lesson I learned is that a fighter can't show off; he needs to end the fight as soon as he gets the opportunity.
“I also fractured my left hand in the beginning of the second round, and I felt I slowed down a little after that. I think had that not happened, I would of knocked out Werdum, but I congratulate him. He survived and won the third round clearly.”
Only fight night will tell us that, but be assured, this is huge fight for both fighters, trying to keep their respective careers on track.
“A win over Arlovski would put me back in the light in the heavyweight division, and after winning, inside the cage, I will ask for a rematch with Werdum,” Silva said. “It's nothing personal against Werdum – he and his team are great people, great professionals, and I really like them – but I think that if I am 100 percent, and both hands are healthy, I win a rematch.”
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound native of Minsk, Belarus, Arlovski captured the UFC belt on Feb. 5, 2005 by submitting (Achilles lock) Tim Sylvia in 47 seconds.
The night will also feature Alstair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers, Roger Gracie vs. Kevin Randleman, and “Jacare” de Souza vs. Joey Villasenor.