Saturday July 19th not only marked the debut of the new MMA organization, Affliction: Banned, but it also turned out to feature the return of a once feared MMA veteran. Andrei Arlovski showed the MMA world that once again he is a force to be reckoned with.
Arlovski treated the MMA fans to the same glimpses that he showed us six years ago, when he was running things in the heavyweight division for the UFC. He was considered the United States’ version of Fedor Emelianenko.
In fact, his performance Saturday night was so spectacular that he even drew praise from Emelianenko himself, as he said, “Of the other heavyweight fights, I really enjoyed Andrei Arlovski’s fight…”
On Saturday night, Arlovski turned back the hands of time and was back to his old tricks.
“I tried to show my best performance,” Arlvoski said at the Affliction:Banned post fight press conference. “I tried to show a good fight.”
To say that he put on a “good fight” would be an understatement, as his dismantling of Ben Rothwell throughout the bout was both vicious and brutal. When Arklovski finally decided to put an end to the punishment in the 3rdRound, Rothwell was found laying flat on his back; a position in which many of Arlovski’s opponents have found themselves.
“I thought I trained hard for my fights before in the UFC, but for this fight I trained even harder,” said the former UFC heavyweight champ. “I didn’t miss one workout. I want to thank my trainers for pushing me for this fight.”
Arlovski’s stand up game was clearly far superior to Rothwell’s. Even the Arlovski of 2002 would have been impressed. This version gave all of the praise to his new boxing coach that has trained the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Mike Tyson.
“Freddie Roach helped me a lot before the fight,” said Arlovski.
Roach was very humble in his role in Arlovski’s development, giving all the praise to Arlovski’s re-found hunger to be the best once again.
“He wanted some help with his hands, he’s a hard worker,” stated Roach. “I trained to make him perfect with his hands, and he fought very well with his hands tonight. “
As far as what is on the horizon for Arlovski and his new found skill, only his new employer knows that.
“It’s up to Affliction,” Arlovski said. “Josh Barnett made a great fight (in his win over Pedro Rizzo), I don’t know maybe in the future, it’s up to Affliction.”
Actually, it looks like Arlovski’s future is up to him.