“The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-9) is undoubtedly and by large considered one of the most skilled and dangerous heavyweight MMA fighters of all time. The 1st Razryad International Master in Sambo has seen a lot of glory in his 11-year mixed martial arts career, having been the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion and later promoted to the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, taking out some of the most formidable opponents in his weight class along the way. Some of those who have succumbed to Arlovski’s fighting prowess are “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5), “Cabbage” Wesley Correira (19-15), “The Maine-Iac” Tim Sylvia (28-7), “The Executioner” Paul Buentello (28-13), “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1), “Irish” Jake O’Brien (13-3), “Big” Ben Rothwell (27-7), and “Big Country” Roy Nelson (15-5). “The Pitbull” has built an impressive legacy and all the while has maintained his status as a fan favorite.
In a surprising twist at tonight’s UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Bones” Jon Jones (12-1) was announced as the next light heavyweight title challenger, replacing the injured “Sugar” Rashad Evans (15-1-1), against the current 205lbs. champion “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (19-4) at UFC 128 in March. Just this afternoon Evans withdrew from the title fight due to a knee injury sustained during training. Per both his and the UFC’s doctor’s orders, “Sugar” is mandated to six weeks off of training to recover from the injury.
The main event of the evening for UFC on Versus: Jones vs. Matyushenko on August 1, 2010 in San Diego will be an old guard vs. new guard affair between the functionally undefeated light heavyweight monster “Bones” Jon Jones (10-1) and dark ages UFC title challenger “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko. The first of these two men is well known even to the casual fan for his blistering athleticism, brutal wrestling, and abusive use of high risk spinning strikes, and has stopped all but two of his opponents with notable stoppages of “Irish” Jake O’Brien (13-3) and “The Truth” Brandon Vera (11-5). Jones also has a controversial disqualification loss to “The Hammer” Matt Hamill (8-2) who he dominated with a brutal wrestling and ground-n-pound assault that lasted over two minutes before the referee called the fight with no warning due to 12-6 elbows that were thrown well after most observers agree the believe the fight should have been stopped and drew criticism even from Hamill. The second man, Vladimir, is a world class Belarusian wrestler who amassed a 10-1 record of his own before facing then UFC light heavyweight champion “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-7-1) in what is now a fight the UFC would like everyone to forget and has since become the only IFL light heavyweight champ and quietly built a 4-1 UFC record since the debacle. This is another bizarre Twilight Zone bout on the card where one fighter is facing a distorted version of himself. The difference here is that Mark Munoz (6-1) is fighting a more experienced version of himself in “Thunder” Yushin Okami (24-5), thus the less experienced man is facing his future, and Jones is facing the flip side of his own coin in Vladimir, thus we have an aggressive, evolved Greco-roman wrestler facing the old world Greco-roman prototype built around turning every fight into a wrestling match.