In the first of two heavyweight bouts at UFC Moscow, Shamil Abdurakhimov went the distance with former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, in a fight bogged down with fouls and short on action.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski returned to action at UFC Moscow on Saturday. An event ‘The Pitbull’ was eager to be a part of, Arlovski was hoping to shrug off a decision loss to Tai Tuivasa that really could have gone the other way earlier this year. That loss had snapped a two-fight winning streak for Arlovski.
Opposite the ex-champ in the octagon in Russia was Shamil Abdurakhimov. Abdurakhimov was 3-2 in the UFC heading into the fight, and was coming off a knockout win over Chase Sherman.
Arlovski was on the outside early, and while sent to his back off-balance in the opening minute, Abdurakhimov allowed him to stand back up. Abdurakhimov then came over the top again and pushed Arlovski to the ground, this time going into the former champion’s guard. Arlovski would try to tie up his opponent’s arms, while adding the odd punch from the bottom. Abdurakhimov tried to free his hands to score some ground and pound, going body-head on the veteran. Without much in the way of action or working to improve position, however, the ref stood the pair up. Back up, Arlovski fired off a head kick that Abdurakhimov blocked. They’d then clinch in the middle, but stay standing. Moments later Arlovski would land a leg kick that tripped up Abdurakhimov, sending him briefly to the canvas. Arlovski would land a short right to end the round, and this heavyweight affair then headed to a second.
The opening moments of round two saw Abdurakhimov looking to get the fight down, to no avail. In a clinch, Arlovski then connected with a low knee, pausing the action. Back underway, another takedown from Abdurakhimov off an Arlovski kick saw ‘The Pitbull’ on his back again. As in the first frame, Arlovski tied up his opponent’s arms, but instead of waiting for a standup, worked back to the fence and wall-walked up. Only problem, he ate a number of punches doing so. That opened up a cut, but otherwise Arlovski seemed no worse for the wear. The veteran landed a takedown next, but Abdurakhimov was right back up, and a kick on the way up from Arlovski didn’t land clean. After a clinch, Arlovski landed a second takedown via a throw, and landed a single strike before the bell sounded.
Abdurakhimov fired off a spinning back fist early in the third, but Arlovski was just out of position, turning it into a glancing blow. Arlovksi would connect with a short left, but more often than not the pair were clinching rather than exchanging. Abdurakhimov then landed an eye poke, bringing in a doctor. That gave the pair a bit of a breather. Abdurakhimov fanned with a spinning back fist around the ninety second mark, then moved in with a punch which again led to a clinch. However, Abdurakhimov then landed a low blow, leading to the third pause in the fight. Back underway Arlovski quickly protested his opponent having his fingers forward, but it was Abdurakhimov turning up the heat, landing a couple of decent punches in the final minute. Arlovski would charge forward for a final takedown attempt at the end of the fight, but wind up stuffed.
When the resutls were read, there was really no surprise. Abdurakhimov took the win, but there wasn’t much to celebrate in a fight that never really seemed to get going.
Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Andrei Arlovski by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)