What a crazy turn of events.
Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski were two of the three best heavyweights fighting outside of Japan circa 2003-2007, and they exchanged the UFC Heavyweight title belt twice in their trilogy of fights. And now, One FC has matched them up a fourth time!
The first fight saw Andrei rock and drop “Big Tim” with punches, before showing his Sambo background by surprisingly dropping back and securing a heel hook to capture UFC gold. Big Tim won his championship belt back in a rematch, when Andrei rocked him and had what would later be called “an Andrei moment” – a lapse of concentration. Tim countered, dropped him, and finished via TKO with strikes. The third fight was a largely uneventful affair which Sylvia won via unanimous decision, but this was largely due to an early leg injury sustained by Andrei, and for the fourth scrap, the men will look to put on the show they did twice before for the UFC belt.
It is hard to predict – Andrei followed up a five-fight winning streak after losing the belt, with a miserable four-fight losing streak outside the UFC, his most infamous Andrei moment against Fedor, then losses to Rogers, Bigfoot and Sergei. While his chin and confidence have taken damage, his skillset remains dangerous for anyone out there, and after two confidence boosting victories, hopefully we can see a vintage Andrei performance.
Sylvia too left UFC (while top 4 ranked) on the back of a title fight with Rodrigo Nogueira, to face world #1 heavyweight Fedor. He was finished in 36 seconds, and then lost to boxer Ray Mercer in a freak show fight. Now, he has mounted his own revival of sorts, and is looking to show that he still belongs on the top level of the game in marquee fights.
Stay tuned – this is a fight that will show where two former world heavyweight champions are in the current game, and how they fare against each other as old foes!
Either way, unless there’s an early leg injury, it’s safe to say someone’s jaw is getting tagged.