The upstart World Series of Fighting group that ran their first event last November in Las Vegas, Nevada has announced a new partnership to broadcast on NBC Sports, as well as a calendar of events starting on March 23rd. The March event will be in Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Revel Casino and will be headlined by a Heavyweight fight between Andrei Arlovski and Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, two men who won their bouts at WSOF 1 in impressive fashion. Let’s take a closer look at the bout…
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Andrei Arlovski has a five fight unbeaten streak working for him, including a solid TKO victory over Devin Cole at the first event. At 34 years of age, Arlovski is still a long, athletic heavyweight with KO power. What is more important is that he looks defensively improved, which is important because every opponent knows about his weak chin.
Johnson’s history bears remembering – a 170 lb Welterweight in the UFC, he flubbed his move up to Middleweight and could not make 185 lbs for his fight with Vitor Belfort, so the UFC cut him.
Since then, Johnson has fought at Light Heavyweight and looked good against ‘B’ circuit level competition. This will be his first fight at this level at Heavyweight. the positive to this for Johnson is that he does not have to worry about making weight. The bad news in this case is that it is Andrei Arlovski that he is facing.
Much is made of Arlovski’s 4 fight losing streak, but look at the names. Fedor Emilianenko, Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Sergei Kharitonov. Brett Rogers landed the first big punch he threw. In his last UFC run Arlovski defeated Fabricio Werdum. He has wins over Roy Nelson and Ben Rothwell, both of whom are UFC stalwarts.
I look for Arlovski to open a favorite at the sportsbooks when the lines come out. Johnson either has to land one big punch or he has to wrestle. Arlovski’s height and reach advantages, plus his superior technique to Johnson in the standup game overall make Johnson’s chances of landing a big punch very low.
For Johnson, getting Arlovski down will be a tall order, as Arlovski has learned good takedown defense over the years. It is notable about Arlovski’s resume that he has fought big, big men – Silvia, Rothwell, Kharitonov, Nelson to name a few. And Johnson has a big man’s game, but he will finally be in a weight division where people are truly bigger than him. Arlovski also has much more quality experience in fights than Johnson, so he wil lhave his game plan. Arlovski will be favored, and he sohuld win the fight.
The rest of the card is developing however nearly half a dozen bouts are already announced. We will look at the rest of the ard later this week.