The World Series of Fighting takes to the airwaves on the NBC Sports channel, tomorrow night and with it, the WSOF presents a four man middleweight tournament for the promotion’s inaugural middleweight belt, as well as a top of the card bout featuring former UFC heavyweight champion Andre Arlovski, taking on Mike Kyle.
This will mark Arlovski’s 30th fight and another step along his path to MMA redemption. Although the 34 year old is coming off of a decision loss to (another) x-UFC alumni Anthony Johnson, he is, other than that, hot; having gone 4 – 0 & 1 (no contest) in his last five fights. For his part, Mike Kyle has a 2 – 2 & 1 (no decision loss) over his last five and coming off of a win.
The sad part about Arlovski is that he has the tools to be great and certainly was at one time, but those days have long since been behind him. For me, the knock on “The Pit Bull” was his chin and more so, the fact that he doesn’t like getting hit. Arlovski seems to be fine in a fight if he’s giving the beating, but the moment he starts getting hit he becomes timid and loses his aggression.
Personally, I’ve always felt for the guy. Not only is he a talented fighter, but he’s also a very genuine and passionate guy. I’m sure if he were to be asked why he still perseveres, he’d probably tell us simply, because he loves fighting and hasn’t given up on the dream of being a champion.
To that point, he has some merit. Arlovski holds wins over two ranked UFC fighters, Werdum and Nelson, as well as a win over Ben Rothwell. Given those facts, it could well be argued that he still has merit and value, in terms of viability in the UFC and that should he be able to string together a few wins, he might actually make it back to the big show. As a fan of both his and old school UFC, it would be great to see this veteran make his way back to the promotion and finish out his career in the UFC. That would be fitting.
Beyond that, the card will feature two members of the Gracie clan, Rolles and Gregor, in what are, import bouts to both.
Rolles is on a five fight winning streak and has only lost one fight, in his nine fight career, with the all eight victories coming by way of submission. Surely, he can only be a couple of fights away from making it into the UFC’s heavyweight division.
On the other hand, Gregor is coming off of a loss and will be looking to prevent a losing streak. Gregor has talent and finishing ability (six of seven, by way of submission) and, like Rolles could easily find himself in the UFC with a few wins.
As to the middleweight tournament, it will be comprised of Jesse Taylor vs. Elvis Mutapcic and David Branch vs. Danillo Villefort, with the winner of each bout (later) facing off for the 185 pound, WSOF belt.
Here are the results from the live weigh-in.
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski (240) vs. Mike Kyle (218.5)
185 lbs.: Dave Branch (185.8) vs. Danillo Villefort (185)
185 lbs.: Elvis Mutapcic (186) vs. Jesse Taylor (185)
265 lbs.: Rolles Gracie (249.2) vs. Derrick Mehmen (246.8)
145 lbs.: Georgi Karakhanyan (145.5) vs. Waylon Lowe (146.4) *Lowe has one hour to lose .4 pounds
Rick Glenn (144.8) vs. Artur Rofi (146)
Sidemar Honorio (136) vs. Jimmie Rivera (136.6) *Rivera has one hour to lose .6 pounds)
Gregor Gracie (170.6) vs. Richard Patishnock (170.6)
Ozzy Dugulubgov (160.2) vs. Andrew Osbourne (160.6)
Darren Costa (186) vs. Neiman Gracie (185)