Rumble vs. Arlovski Could Be Fight Of The Month

By Adam Martin

Tonight the World Series of Fighting holds its second event, and the headlining fight should provide absolute fireworks.

In the red corner will be former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, who is having a sort of career resurgence, as he’s gone undefeated over his last five fights. And in the blue corner is none other than Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, the former UFC welterweight-turned-middleweight-turned-catchweight-turned-light heavyweight, who is riding a four-fight win streak since being released by the UFC, and who will be making his heavyweight debut in the matchup.

UFC president Dana White recently called this fight “illegitimate.” But me? Personally, I think this is one of the best fights of the month, and ever since it was announced I’ve been really looking forward to it.

Should “Rumble” be fighting at heavyweight? No, not really. But then again, so what? He’s the one who chose to fight in the heavyweight division, and he did so because he wants to prove that skill, not weight, is what wins fights in mixed martial arts. So if he has no problem fighting in the 265-pound weight class, then why do others have an issue with it?

Let’s face it, between the UFC and Bellator, 99 percent of the top fighters in the world are already accounted for, and it’s difficult for smaller, emerging promotions like WSOF to make big fights. So that’s why they have to get creative. And that’s what they did here, matching up a guy who used to be the heavyweight champion of the world against a guy who used to fight at 170.

At the weigh-ins yesterday, Johnson weighed in at 230.2 pounds, while Arlovski stepped onto the scale at 245.5. These fighters didn’t cut any weight, so unless they had a huge meal last night, they will be stepping into the cage within 15 pounds of each other tonight in Atlantic City, so the size difference isn’t as big as it may seem, although it’s definitely worth pointing out that Arlovski is a few inches taller.

At the end of the day, though, MMA is essentially, as the great Chael Sonnen once put it, a “fist fight” between two men, each with a pair of shorts on and a mouthpiece in. That’s what it is, and 15 pounds isn’t going to be making much of a difference. It’s going to be talent, skill, and heart which decides the outcome of this fight tonight, not a few pounds and a few inches.

This fight can go either way. “Rumble,” with his heavy leg kicks and heavy hands, could very well knock Arlovski out for the umpteenth time in his career. Or Arlovski, with his devastating power, could knock Johnson out for the first time in his career. Either way, I don’t think this fight is going to make it to the final bell, and it would be surprising to me if it made it out of the first round.

So despite White calling this fight “illegitimate,” fans of the sport should make that choice for themselves. In my view, it’s a free fight between two always-entertaining fighters, and that’s enough of a reason to watch it as any.

World Series of Fighting 2 will take place on March 23, 2013 at Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.

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