Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Antonio Silva is getting a homecoming bout against a familiar foe in his Octagon return. Silva will tangle with Andrei Arlovski at Fight Night 51 in Brazil. Their rematch will headline the Sept. 13 card and will be the Brazilian’s first fight since serving a nine-month suspension. News of the matchup was first reported by Combate.com.
Silva’s last appearance was a memorable five-round slugfest against Mark Hunt at Fight Night 33 in December. The thrilling and bloody encounter in Australia was initially declared a majority draw but was changed to a no-contest after Silva tested positive for high testosterone levels. The fight was one of the most exciting matchups of 2013.
“Bigfoot” is currently occupying the No. 4-ranking in the division and had a previous title shot against Cain Velasquez back at UFC 160. Silva was stopped in the first round and suffered his second lopsided loss against the current champion. Silva owns notable Octagon victories over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem and has 16 finishes in 18 career victories. Silva had been actively lobbying to face Josh Barnett next, but matchmakers had other ideas.
Arlovski gets a shot at revenge thanks to this high-profile matchup. “The Pit Bull” dropped a unanimous decision to Silva back in 2010 when they were competing under the Strikeforce banner. The former UFC heavyweight champion failed to impress at UFC 174 in his return to the promotion after a six-year absence. The No. 14-ranked Arlovski turned in a tentative effort against Brendan Schaub but was generously awarded a split-decision win. The 35-year-old veteran has registered victories in five of his last six fights.
Both Silva and Arlovski have been able to produce their fair share of finishes over the years. Arlovski is looking to make amends after a lethargic performance in his Octagon return in Vancouver, and Silva has the type of style that should make for an entertaining battle.
Silva will be looking to remain a major player in the heavyweight landscape if he can secure a victory, while Arlovski will be fighting to keep his second UFC tenure alive. With the two heavy-handed sluggers having produced a combined 28 knockouts in their 40 career wins, it’s very likely that this time around the scorecards won’t be necessary.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports