They’d go the distance, but through the opening two rounds, Andrei Arlovski put on a striking clinic against Big Ben Rothwell at UFC San Antonio.
A pair of heavyweights badly in need of a win opened up the UFC San Antonio card on Saturday from the Lone Star State. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski had lost three straight, which would have been four, were it not for a loss to Walt Harris being overturned to a No Contest. While some of those decisions could have gone the other way, the fact remained that ‘The Pitbull’ was badly in need of a win. Yet so too was Ben Rothwell.
Rothwell sat out three years after a USADA sanction (officially for two years) following his loss to Junior Dos Santos. Returning earlier this year at UFC Wichita, he dropped a unanimous decision to Blagoy Ivanov, a fight that was closer than it looked on paper.
The pair had met once before, under the Affliction banner. That bout saw Arlovski come out on top — back in 2008.
As their rematch kicked off, Arlovski looked loose early, landing a kick to the body, and firing off a few quick strikes. Rothwell backed him up momentarily with a combo, but Arlovski answered with one of his own. Both lefts and rights were soon landing for Arlovski, and a spinning back fist. Another combo had Rothwell on his heels. He was bloodied, and Arlovski was patient. “The Pitbull” added an inside kick, while Rothwell managed to get his right hand going. Another spinning back fist landed for Arlovski, and he continued to pick apart Big Ben. The end of the first saw Andrei Arlovksi firmly in control.
Round two saw Rothwell take a big swing, while Arlovski continued to pick him apart. He was going to the body, lighting up the head, and Rothwell was in need of an answer. He finally found one, catching Arlovski on the side of the head, which seemed to get the ex-champ’s attention. Rothwell then entered the clinch, was reversed, but spun around again. He pressed his full weight on Arlovski, who had his back to the fence. Arlovski finally peeled him off with an overhook, and moved back to center, working his jab. A high kick followed, blocked but still making an impact. By the end of the round Rothwell was routinely backed up to the fence, with seemingly no answer for Arlovski’s unrelenting pressure.
— UFC (@ufc) July 21, 2019
Initially, the clinic continued in round three with Arlovski connecting, although Rothwell would land a big left early on. Arlovski, however, was looking tired, and Rothwell took advantage on a takedown attempt. Arlovski however scrambled free, but was backed up against the cage. He broke free, Rothwell tried another sloppy takedown, but instead took several more punches from Arlovski. Rothwell then caught Arlovski, with a couple of shots including a nasty uppercut, and a comeback was briefly in the air. However, Rothwell was exhausted, and Arlovski, tired as well, held on for the win.
Andrei Arlovski def. Ben Rothwell by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)