It’s been a long time between short notice fights for Andrei Arlovski.
The former UFC heavyweight champ, one of the last remaining legends of his era in the promotion, has long been known as a fighter who will not turn down opponents. When he faces Chase Sherman on just a week’s notice at UFC Vegas 24, however, it will be the first time he’s fought anyone on short notice since the Tim Sylvia days. Specifically, when he fought Wesley “Cabbage” Correira at UFC 47 in 2004.
Arlovski (30-20, 2NC) recalled this week that he had originally been booked against Sylvia for the then-vacant heavyweight title. However, Sylvia was pulled from the card a day before the event due to recurring positive drug test samples.
That was more of a late-notice opponent, however. This time out, Arlovski is stepping in on short notice, at his own request.
“Actually yeah, I asked to fight, and I got an opportunity to face another young guy on April 17,” he said during the UFC Vegas 24 media day. His motivation, to get past a frustrating loss to Tom Aspinall back in February.
The danger Chase Sherman, who made his return to the UFC last year after a stint in bare-knuckle boxing, poses is clear. “Every heavyweight has hands, you know. He’s a good hitter, just have to be ready. It might be 90% a striking match, but just in case, I have to be ready for wrestling, for some takedowns, because he saw the sh*t that happened last time.”
The motivation for the move, again, is clear. “I never say no to anyone. I was super upset about my previous fight on February 20. I wanted to get back right away,” Arlovski stated. So forget about that February loss. “2021 starts for me from April 17.”
That’s not to say Arlovski isn’t gunning for a rematch. “Yes, I want to fight Aspinall again. I want to fight [Jair] Rozenstruik again. But obviously I have to be like other heavyweights, be in the line, and one step at a time. I have another tough young striker [first].”
Andrei Arlovski returns against Chase Sherman at UFC Vegas 24 on Saturday, April 17. The event airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).