UFC Vegas 53: Andrei Arlovski Battles Through Tough Three Rounds Against Jake Collier

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Jake Collier and Andrei Arlovski, UFC Vegas 53
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 30: (R-L) Andrei Arlovski of Belarus punches Jake Collier in a heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Rumors of the demise of Andrei Arlovski’s chin have been greatly exaggerated.

Admittedly, Jake Collier was an Andrei Arlovski fan growing up. At UFC Vegas 53, however, that was put to the side, as the heavyweight duo collided in the Fight Night card’s co-main event. And collide they did — more on that later.

Collier, a former middleweight, had tipped the scales at hefty 265 pounds for his showdown with the former champ, ten years his senior. The weight would serve him well early, as he tried to pin Arlovski and turn things into a grinding affair. But by the end, with Arlovski showing superior cardio, the extra pounds quite literally just weighed Collier down.

For Arlovski, UFC fight number 38 — second most in the promotion’s history — started with Collier tying things up by the fence. Collier used his size, plus underhooks, to control Arlovski, while firing knees at the veteran. Arlovski, however, would turn out and move back to center, with Collier pursuing, taking a big swing and a miss before taking Arlovski back to the fence.

Again, Arlovski stayed patient, and peeled Collier off of him. But Collier clipped Arlovski shortly after, and followed up with an elbow. That woke Arlovski up; he then landed some right hands. Collier answered with a left. Arlovski fired a right hand, then landed a little back punch, and followed up with a jab. A headbutt then paused the action — something we’d see time and again in the fight. Off the restart, Arlovski landed, but Collier hit home with an elbow that cut Arlovski.

In the final minute, Arlovski landed a low kick, a knee to the midsection, and showed some stance switches. He also got a considerable “Arlovski” chance going behind him, and ended the round with a flurry in answer to a Collier left hand.

Round two saw Arlovski slip and rip, showing impressive hand speed. Arlovski fired a front kick up the middle, which Collier batted away. The pair then hit heads again, though the accidental foul wasn’t called. Collier next backed Arlovski up to the fence, landing a left and tying Arlovski up. Arlovski broke free, and landed a three-punch combo; Collier landed a straight shot, and a left hook a moment later. Arlovski connected with a right, and would do so again as Collier went on the attack. Collier was soon chasing the veteran, and again looked to put the clinch on.

This time, Collier would get the fight down, but Arlovski was up to a knee, then to his feet, almost instantly. Arlovski avoided a big spinning back fist off the break, but ate a shot as they traded back at center. Arlovski turned up the heat at the end of the round, backing Collier up and teeing off for a moment.

Heading into the third, Arlovski’s corner told him he was behind, and needed a finish. Not necessarily true, but not the worst advice either. Arlovski led the attack, but a third headbutt halted the fight yet again. Arlovski seemed to take the brunt of it; the ref warned both fighters, and they continued. Another head clash followed a moment later. No call on that one. Arlovski fired some kicks, then doubled up on his jab. Collier tagged Arlovski, but the veteran was no worse from the wear.

Collier, meanwhile, was showing some damage, and Arlovski continued to back him up. They clinched after Collier threw a couple of heavy shots, but Arlovski looked to be the fresher fighter. Arlovski caught Collier with a left. Collier loaded up on a right. He’d do that again a moment later. Arlovski was showing some damage now. He threw up a front kick that just missed landing flush to the face. Arlovski fired a spinning back fist in the last ten seconds, but Collier timed it and landed a late takedown to close out the round.

Come the scorecards, a rather big split between the judges, with two seeing it 29-28 for Arlovski, and one giving all three rounds to Collier.

Official Result: Andrei Arlovski def. Jake Collier by split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)

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