Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski faced long odds tonight at UFC Fight Night 51, also known as UFC Fight Night: Big Foot vs. Arlovski.
On paper, many thought he didn’t stand a chance.
“The Pitbull” looked anxious and sluggish in his Octagon return just three months ago, and seemed well past his days of championship contention.
Here, he was fighting ranked opponent who defeated him three years ago in the Strikeforce promotion.
That opponent, Antônio “Big Foot” Silva, had a great back-and-forth war in his last Octagon appearance — a bout which commentator Kenny Florian ranked among the best UFC fights of all time.
Silva was bigger, seemed closer to his fighting prime, and enjoyed the raucous support of a home Brazilian crowd as he bounced up the aisle. Now fighting out of Florida, Silva was an almost four-to-one favorite according to odds-makers.
But then, the fights aren’t settled on paper.
Arlovski, of Belarus but fighting out of Chicago, scored a dramatic one-round knockout victory tonight, perhaps heralding his return to his earlier championship form.
“The Pitbull” boxed well from the opening moments of the fight, bouncing in and out of range to land punches and looking more confident and fluid than his last UFC appearance. A right hand knocked Silva cold, and Arlovski followed up immediately with hammer-fists until halted by the referee.
UFC President Dana White remarked on Twitter:
Congrats @AndreiArlovski !!!!!! WOW
— Dana White (@danawhite) September 14, 2014
Arlovski advances to 23-10-1 with the victory. He will likely join another old contender, Ben Rothwell, in the UFC top ten rankings soon. Silva drops to 18-5-1.
Andrei Arlovski defeats Antônio “Big Foot” Silva by knockout (right hand) at 2:59 of round one.
For full results and play-by-play of the main card, see the PBP at http://www.cagedinsider.com/ufc/ufc-fight-night-bigfoot-vs-arlovski-2-results-play-play/.