The heavyweights are ready to take over UFC programming. With a stacked division fighting over contendership, only a select few can stand out. At UFC Fight Night 185, will the old or new guard come out on top?
Before Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis face off, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski will open up the card against a potential star in Tom Aspinall. It is a generational battle, one that could potentially change the landscape of the division. By the end of the night, this could be the fight everyone is talking about.
The Generational Battle
Arlovski, 42, has been competing professionally since 1999. An M-1 alum, Arlovski had an initial run in the UFC from 2000 until 2008. He held the heavyweight title before losing two in a row to Tim Sylvia. “The Pitbull” would fight for Strikeforce, WSOF, EliteXC, and ONE before returning to the UFC in 2014. It has been a bumpy return for him, as Arlovski has gone 9-9 with one no-contest.
Currently on a two-fight win streak after beating Philipe Lins and Tanner Boser, Arlovski still has a lot to give to the sport. He is currently not ranked in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings. Arlovski has a chance to get a number back to his name with a win. He is hoping for another title shot, but that he doesn’t have to wait long and appear out of place.
“I want to fight as long as possible, and of course, I want to be a champion,” Arlovski stated during media day, via MMA Junkie. “That is why I’m doing what I’m doing right now. In the past, I stuck to the game plan. I trust my coaches 100%.
“I don’t want to be a punching bag for some other fighters who will make some name, records off of me, have two kids. I’m a smart guy. I’m old and I want to see my grandsons and smoke cigars and drink some wine in my backyard.”
A man in the history books, Arlovski is ready for whatever comes his way.
Out with the old and in with the new?
The young guard in Aspinall will look to take over and impress UFC brass. The 27-year-old from England made his pro debut in 2014. Fighting for Cage Warriors, Aspinall competed twice for the UFC in 2020. He beat Jake Collier in his debut and took care of Alan Baudot back in October.
Aspinall is currently on a five-fight win streak and has won all of those fights via some form of KO (four in a row via TKO). Arlovski praised him for being young and hungry. Considered a prospect in the UFC, Aspinall will look to show that he is more than what most give him credit for.
As far as who has an advantage in the octagon, Arlovski’s storied career has resulted in a 44% Significant Strikes Accuracy rate. Aspinall’s stats in the UFC are just a small sample size compared to what he can actually do. With a 65.38% Total Strikes Landed accuracy rate, Aspinall has a chance to showcase his power and take down a formidable beast in Arlovski.
As the opener, this fight will have plenty of intrigue. Will the torch be passed, or will the grizzled veteran be able to hold onto the light for at least one more night?
Prediction: Aspinall via TKO (second round)