Brendan Schaub is getting a high profile opportunity this weekend at UFC 174 in Vancouver in welcoming former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski back to the Octagon. Schaub will be looking to continue his winning ways while “The Pit Bull” will be making his UFC return after a six-year absence.
Schaub has been improving on his ground game and put it to good use in his last appearance at UFC 165 against Matt Mitrione. Schaub was able to choke out “Meathead” in the very first round to make it back-to-back victories. He has a 6-3 Octagon record and a third consecutive victory would definitely have Schaub knocking on top-10 territory in what is a relatively thin division. The No. 14 ranked Schaub has eight of his 10 career victories by knockout or submission.
It will be interesting to see what game plan Schaub employs against the hard-hitting Arlovski. While “The Hybrid” has shown a willingness to stand-and-trade, all three of his UFC losses have come via knockout. He was blasted out in the first round by Roy “Big Country” Nelson, Ben Rothwell and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Schaub faces an opponent in Arlovski who possesses standout striking skills and power but has also had his own share of chin issues.
Arlovski has reeled off six victories in his last eight fights and was welcomed back by the UFC after competing in the World Series of Fighting promotion. He captured the UFC title back in 2005 by submitting the mammoth Tim Sylvia at UFC 51 and made a pair of successful defenses before losing to Sylvia by TKO in their rematch at UFC 59. It’s one of Arlovski’s seven career losses by knockout.
His last Octagon appearance was a stoppage win against Jake O’Brien in 2008. With the current state of the heavyweight ranks, the 35-year-old Arlovski will find himself with some major opportunities if he’s able to produce a victory or two. He has a 21-10 career mark with one no-contest and has 18 finishes by knockout or submission. Arlovski is the only man to knock out the granite-chinned Nelson and went 10-4 in his first UFC stint.
It shapes up as a very intriguing matchup. The athletic Schaub will be looking to continue his climb up the ladder, while the former champion Arlovski will be hoping to start one more successful UFC run.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports