In a rare sight, UFC veteran and former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski stepped up on short notice against Chase Sherman at UFC Vegas 24.
It’s an opportunity Arlovski had asked for. Not Sherman, specifically. Just to get another fight in, after a frustrating loss to Tom Aspinall back in February.
Sherman, meanwhile, entered the fight as a full time fighter for the first time in his combat sports career. A win over Arlovski would go a long way to proving that he had made the right choice.
With the loss of Drakkar Klose vs. Jeremy Stephens from Saturday’s card, the heavyweight pairing served as the UFC Vegas 24 co-main event.
With his bare-knuckle boxing background, it was no surprise to see Sherman get his hands going early. He also threw out a leg kick, something he had become known for through his MMA career. Arlovski returned fire, and targeted Sherman’s body. He’d also mix in a high kick. Arlovski was also first to close the distance, looking to tie Sherman up. Sherman stayed standing, freed himself, then went back to walking Arlovski down. The leg kicks continued to pile up for Sherman, with Arlovski switching stances to avoid them. Arlovski also landed a sharp leg kick of his own.
In the final minute of the round, Sherman opened fire. He backed Arlovski up and tee’d off on the former heavyweight champ. Arlovski covered up along the fence, got his head moving, and weathered the storm. Still, he was hurt, and Sherman took the round.
Round two saw Arlovski land a right hand early. A leg jab also caught Sherman. Chase threw out a combo; Arlovski’s jab hit home again. Sherman’s kicks continued, Arlovski’s own returned fire, but was more of an afterthought. Sherman went to the body with a kick, then attacked upstairs with a combo. Arlovski, bloodied, answered in kind. His jab had found its range in the second round, and near the two minute mark, he fired a combo that saw at least two or three punches land.
Late in the second, Arlovski would tie his opponent up, winning the control battle along the fence. They’d break, and finish the round at distance, with Arlovski landing a nasty low kick that seemed to hurt Sherman.
There was a good chance things were tied heading into the third. Sherman moved forward early, firing a leg kick and backing Arlovski up. Arlovski circled out, and moved in, landing a combo. Despite being the older fighter by over a decade, Arlovski appeared to be the fresher of a two. Then, a break in the action, after Sherman landed a kick to the groin. On the restart, Sherman turned up the heat, but Arlovski fired back. Sherman then dropped his hands and stood his ground, trying to lure Arlovski in. Sherman’s leg was hurt, his movement hampered. An overhand right landed for the former champ, and at the end of the frame, a frustrated Sherman implored Arlovski again to stand and trade.
Ahead in the fight, Arlovski had no need to oblige that demand. Instead, he took home a unanimous decision win on the scorecards, thanks in large part to his gas tank. Not bad for a 42 year old heavyweight. Not bad at all.
Official Result: Andrei Arlovski def. Chase Sherman by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)