One of the UFC’s newest heavyweights took on an old legend at UFC Norfolk on Saturday.
Andrei Arlovski, the storied former UFC champion, was desperately in need of a win at UFC Fight Night 120 in Norfolk, VA. Heading into his main card bout with Brazilian Junior Albini, ‘The Pitbull’ had lost five straight, and was without a win since UFC 191 in 2015.
Albini, for his part, got the better of Tim Johnson is his UFC debut. He was looking to make it two in a row — against much tougher competition.
Albini came out swinging early, looking to put Arlovski to the test. Arlovski connected on a counter; Junior Albini went to the body with a kick. ‘The Putbull’ went to the body, and was able to evade the combinations of Albini early. Albini would avoid Arlovski’s overhand; the pair would the clinch along the fence. Back in the center, Arlovski would show the more varied arsenal, attempting a spinning back fist. Albini would slow things down, initiating another clinch. He’d break out the dirty boxing, but Arlovski would escape.
Surprisingly, the heavyweights went to a second. Arlovski connected early, mixing in body shots. Albini would initiate the clinch again here, but not do enough, and the ref restarted the action in the center of the cage. Arlovski would press the action, Albini would clinch again. This would repeat, with Arlovski throwing the more dangerous strikes. Arlovski would add a spinning back kick and continue working the body, he’d open up a little, landing several shots on Albini prior to the end of the second.
Round three saw Albini just miss with a right hand, while Arlovski worked in some kicks, to the leg then upstairs. Arlovski ripped a switch kick that was blocked, but Albini was showing some damage on the face. An eye poke by Albini paused the action for a moment; back underway he went right back at it. Albini then connected with a jab followed by an elbow. A low blow by Arlovski saw another pause before the final minute, then Albini came out swinging, no doubt knowing he was down in the fight. That led to a clinch, however, which would run down the clock.
Andrei Arlovski def. Junior Albini by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)