Veteran UFC knockout artist and former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will face fellow former title holder Frank Mir at UFC 191, in a fight that could easily decide the next contender to the throne. With Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez set to collide in the rematch at some point in late 2015, there’s everything to play for at this pivtoal point in both ‘The Pitbull’ and Mir’s storied fight careers.
The Belarusian striker was actually already being talked about for the next crack at ‘Vai Cavalo’ and his newly acquired strap, but tells MMAJunkie Radio that he isn’t too worried about Velasquez getting the immediate rematch, as staying active and supporting his family is the main target:
“I wasn’t upset,” Arlovski on Tuesday told MMAjunkie Radio. “For me, it’s more important right now to fight as often as possible. I need to pay bills, I need to support my family. It’s not necessary to have the next fight for the title. Of course, it would be great. But I have to fight another dangerous fighter right now – Frank Mir. I’m very excited about it, and I’m ready to go.”
Originally known for his high level grappling skills, Mir’s last two appearances have been displays of much-improved striking. Taking out Antonio Silva and Todd Duffee with spectacular first round knockouts, the Greg Jackson’s MMA product is resurgent in every sense of the word. ‘The Pitbull’ continued to that effect:
“He’s great on the ground, but his last two victories were very impressive,” Arlovski said. “He loves his boxing right now, and I just have to be ready. Like every big heavyweight, he has heavy hands and the power, definitely. I just need to be ready.”
Arlovski is no slouch by any means in the striking department, recently starching Bigfoot and Travis Browne himself. The fight with ‘Hapa’ wasn’t that long ago, but the 16-year veteran said he was in shape when the UFC called:
“I was kind of surprised,” he said. “I had hoped I might fight somewhere around the end of September or middle of October. Right after my fight against Travis Browne, I took a couple weeks off. Then I came back to the gym and did some cardio stuff and lifted some weights. I started the camp in good shape, so I’m very happy about that.”
Will Andrei Arlovski prevail in this battle of former champs at UFC 191, or does Frank Mir have that extra few weapons in his arsenal to make this a long, or short, night for the Belarusian banger?