In a surprising move, Andrei Arlovski is back in the UFC after a six-year absence. The former UFC heavyweight champion has inked a new deal with the promotion and will likely make his Octagon return this summer. “The Pit Bull” most recently fought in the World Series of Fighting organization and was released despite having one fight left on his deal so that he could pursue a UFC return. After stopping Andreas Kraniotakes in his native Belarus last November, Arlovski has finally returned to the organization where he first rose to fame.
The 35-year-old is a veteran of 32 professional bouts and has recorded 21 career victories. He won the interim UFC heavyweight title by defeating Tim Sylvia back in 2005 at UFC 51. He made successful defenses against Justin Eilers and Paul Buentello before dropping the title to “The Maine-iac” in their rematch at UFC 59. His last Octagon appearance was back in 2008 when he stopped Jake O’Brien in the second round of their bout at UFC 82. Arlovski has fought in a number of promotions since that time producing a record of 8-5-1.
Arlovski has 18 victories by knockout or submission and possesses superior striking skills. He holds a career victory over current No. 1 contender Fabricio Werdum and is the only man to ever knock out the granite-chinned Roy Nelson.
Unfortunately, Arlovski’s own chin has been called into question in the past having been knocked out seven times in his ten career losses. One of his more high-profile bouts in recent years was a first round knockout loss against the legendary Fedor Emelianenko back in 2009 when he was fighting in Affliction.
To his credit, the veteran has been on a roll of late having gone 6-1-1 in his last eight fights. Arlovski’s lone setback during that time was a unanimous decision loss at the hands of the hard-hitting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at WSOF 2.
The signing of Arlovski brings a definite sense of nostalgia but also speaks to the lack of depth in the UFC’s current heavyweight roster. According to multiple reports, Arlovski is being strongly considered for a matchup at UFC 174 in Vancouver on June 14 against Brendan Schaub.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports