The main event of tomorrow night’s Affliction: Day of Reckoning show is being treated by many as nothing more than a foregone conclusion. Fedor is the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport and Andrei Arlovski is a guy who lost to Tim Sylvia…twice. Obviously it is very easy to look on the surface and see Fedor as the beast that he is while looking at all the flaws of Arlovski.
But there is a wild card here whose importance can not be overlooked…Freddie Roach. Obviously Roach is a boxing trainer and may be seen as somewhat limited in his ability to gameplan for an MMA fight, but you can not overlook Roach’s ability to see the way a fight will unfold and help prepare his fighters with an appropriate plan of attack. When Roach has been publicly calling out Fedor’s striking he is doing so because he can look at tape of Fedor and see the problems. Fedor is fairly flat footed and he does fall into patterns. Of course he does so many things well that it is hard to capitalize but if there is anyone who can come up with a plan to beat someone on the feet it is Roach.
When you look at the work that Roach does with boxers, he builds every fight around his guy’s strengths and develops simple but effective plans that his fighter can follow without too much thought. One look at the Pacquaio vs. De La Hoya fight will show you how good he can be at this.
The gameplan I figure we’re going to see from Andrei will be unappealing at times but I think it will be effective. Watch for him to be on the balls of his feet, abandon all kicking and using his long arms to throw jabs or 1-2 combinations and then getting out before Fedor can throw a looping (but very powerful) return shot. If he can get through the first round doing this Fedor’s nature as an aggressive fighter will take over which is when part two of the Arlovski plan will kick in which will feature a few more jab/hooks and lead uppercuts at which point I expect to see Fedor’s legs buckle and Andrei to pounce and finish the fight.
So to be clear; I’m picking Andrei Arlovski by TKO in the 2nd round on the strength of Freddie Roach’s boxing and “avoid the clinch at all costs” planning.
Of course I could be wrong and we may see Andrei slammed through the mat, pounded out or submitted. I’m feeling pretty confident though that we’re not going to see Andrei beat on the feet. Here’s hoping I’ll be back on Sunday morning with a smile and a “toldja so.”
Updated comment: Disagreeing and thinking that Arlovski’s takedown defense is suspect is all well and good but the revisionist history when it comes to the Roy Nelson fight has to stop. All of the “Roy Nelson took him down at will” talk is just insane. Nelson spent most of the fight with Arlovski against the cage working for a takedown and did not get a single takedown in the fight…NOT ONE. There was one takedown in the fight which was BY Arlovski. Nelson rolled him as they hit the ground and ended up on top. It was not a failure by Arlovski to stop the takedown. His TD defense in the fight was actually solid and got the job done. Obviously Fedor is a more explosive fighter than Nelson, but that doesn’t mean you get to rewrite history just to boost your argument.
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