There’s no doubt that fans were hoping to see the old Andrei Arlovski make a triumphant return at UFC 174 in Vancouver. While he did get the win, there was a strong sense of disappointment attached to the performance. A surprisingly tentative Arlovski struggled to a dreary split-decision victory over Brendan Schaub in what was a dreadful fight.
The 35-year old former UFC heavyweight champion was brought back after a six-year absence after enjoying some success in the World Series of Fighting promotion. It was thought that the matchup against Schaub would produce some explosiveness given the fact that both men possessed knockout power and at times questionable chins. Unfortunately, there was very little action in the highly forgettable encounter.
Despite the criticism, the victory has vaulted “The Pit Bull” into the no. 15 spot in the latest UFC heavyweight rankings. Arlovski felt horrible about the performance and is well aware that his next Octagon effort will need to be a much better one. It’ll be intriguing to see the direction that matchmakers take in booking his next fight.
I’d like to see Arlovski face the winner of next month’s UFC 175 clash between Stefan Struve and Matt Mitrione. Both of those fighters aren’t shy about engaging in a stand-up battle. That would play to Arlovski’s strengths. Another possible option could be for the former champion to meet the winner of the upcoming Fight Night 43 clash in New Zealand between Soa Palelei and Jared Rosholt. Both of those heavyweights possess brute strength and power.
If the promotion wanted a nostalgic touch they could entertain the thought of having Arlovski square off against another former UFC champion in Frank Mir. Mir elected to take some time off after suffering a fourth straight loss at UFC 169 against Alistair Overeem. Despite his struggles, Mir still occupies a top-10 spot in the latest rankings. It would be the kind of matchup where the winner would get to fight another day while the loser would likely need to call it a career.
Whatever fight looms next for Arlovski, it can’t possibly be any worse than what we were subjected to in his highly anticipated Octagon return. There’s nowhere to go but up for the veteran slugger after the Schaub fight.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports