At UFC Vegas 19, Tom Aspinall was tasked with taking on a fighter he quite literally watched growing up: former UFC champion Andrei Arlovksi.
Aspinall, two wins into his UFC career at 27 years old, wasn’t even a teenager back when Arlovski held gold in the promotion. But while deeply respectful of “The Pitbull” heading into this Saturday’s fight card, Aspinall would have to put all that aside in the bout itself.
With the fight underway, kicking off the main card Saturday, Aspinall quickly earned Arlovski’s respect. Or at least got his attention with a right hand. That led to some feeling out, before Aspinall unloaded the tank as Arlovski covered up along the fence. Lefts, rights, uppercuts, body shots, plenty landed. Arlovski looked to be on the brink of having the fight stopped. His nose was cut open, and possibly broken — nothing new there for the former champ. Somehow, he survived, and was able to battle back, Aspinall perhaps having gassed a little looking for the finish. But against the cage, Aspinall was able to control in a clinch.
In a battle of youth versus experience, youth had come out on top in the opening round. But experience kept Andrei Arlovski in the fight, and at the end of the frame, he was able to land a few strikes of his own.
A body shot landed early in the second for Arlovski. Aspinall, in his third UFC fight, had left the first round since joining the promotion. Proving that was no obstacle, however, Aspinall fired in for a takedown. Landing the double-leg, he quickly took Arlovski’s back, locking in the rear-naked choke. Arlovski had no choice but to tap, giving Tom Aspinall his third UFC win in three tries.
Making a name for himself! 🗣
— UFC (@ufc) February 21, 2021
Official Result: Tom Aspinall def. Andrei Arlovski by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 1:09