Elite XC: "Heat" — the third installment of "Saturday Night Fights" on CBS — is set to go off live from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., this Saturday, October 4, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on national television.
To get us prepared for the event, we will showcase a daily feature for each main card fight leading up to the event. These features will include information on the fighters, predictions, as well as training notes from each fighter.
Elite XC surprised everybody by announcing the late addition of Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski (13-5) vs. Roy "Big Country" Nelson (13-2) to the card. It's a fight between two fighters on the Affliction MMA roster that is worthy of main event status and has the potential to steal the show in Sunrise on Saturday night with one fell swoop.
The heavyweight fight will be co-promoted between Elite XC and Affliction.
Here’s the breakdown:
Andrei Arlovski -- "The Pitbull" is a 29-year-old fighter from Minsk, Belarus. He now lives and trains in Chicago with a background in Sambo. Sambo is a self defense combat sport combining mostly judo and wrestling, but he's also known for his kickboxing and striking.
He joined the local law enforcement in Minsk when he was still very young and picked up this discipline during a self defense training program. He discovered he had a knack for the sport and eventually wound up competing and doing well in several high profile tournaments.
From there his martial arts career took off. Arlovski added a strong striking game to the mix and pretty quickly made his way to the UFC. He was only 21 years old when he first stepped foot in the Octagon, defeating Aaron Brink at UFC 28 with a first round rear naked choke.
He went on to lose his next two fights to Ricco Rodriguez and Pedro Rizzo, but rebounded with wins over Ian Freeman and Vladimir Matyushenko, earning him a shot at the vacant UFC heavyweight title against Tim Sylvia.
Arlovski then slapped a first round ankle lock on the big man to capture the UFC heavyweight championship. He would go on to compete seven more times for the organization, including two losses to Sylvia, before bolting for the greener pastures of the MMA free agent market.
This will be his second fight since leaving the UFC. He knocked out Ben Rothwell in the third round at Affliction: "Banned" back in July.
Roy Nelson -- "Big Country" is a 32-year-old fighter out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He was the first man to ever hold the International Fight League (IFL) heavyweight championship after defeating Antoine Jaoude at the IFL World Grand Prix Finals in December.
He successfully defended the title twice against Fabiano Scherner and Brad Imes and he was still the reigning champion when the organization recently went under. He finished his IFL career with a record of (6-1) with the only loss coming last April from a split decision to Rothwell.
Nelson's appearence can be misleading. He sports a huge gut and looks like nothing more than a country boy brawler, but that's where he fools you. He's surprisingly a very well rounded fighter with a nifty ground and submission game to match his powerful striking.
He also has deceptive speed for a man his size and his endurance is probably better than any other fighter with his body type. Basically, you don't want to judge this book by its cover or you'll be in for a rude awakening.
Arlovski needs to be prepared for a different style of fight than what Rothwell came with because Roy Nelson's game is a lot more diverse and he can hurt him in a lot of different ways.
Andrei Arlovski -- "The Pitbull" always comes to fight in top physical condition. His training regimen is second to none. He trains with his own camp, Team Pitbull, in Chicago with his boxing coach Mike Garcia and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Dino Costeas.
Prior to his fight with Rothwell in July, Arlovski enlisted the help of legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach to assist him in his boxing training. Roach raved about the Belarussian, saying he could hold his own against some of the top boxers in the world, including Wladimir Klitschko.
There was even talk about Arlovski possibly taking a couple of pro boxing fights in between MMA matches, but for now his focus is on Nelson.
Roy Nelson – "Big Country" spent the beginning part of his career as a training partner to guys like Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Ricco Rodriguez. He spent years helping other guys train to become world champions before deciding to actually get in the ring himself.
He now trains out of his home in Las Vegas, which he calls the "Big Country Lion’s Den." Here's his thoughts on training at home:
"It’s basically my guys I’ve groomed, from the tournament circuit, from other schools I used to teach at. I just basically have guys that beat me up with my own jits. I used to go to other gyms to try and teach, but I did more teaching than actually working.You need to put your work and your time in."
Nelson's scheduled fight against Paul Buentello at Affliction: "Day of Reckoning" fell through, but the big man is still prepared to fight Arlovski even on short notice:
"I’m one of these guys who’s pretty nine to five about my training most of the time, so I was still in the gym. Maybe it wasn’t pedal-to-the-metal, full throttle training, but it wasn’t like I had taken a lot of time off. I backed off a little when I found out I wouldn’t’ be fighting Buentello, but not too much. So I’m ready to step in there and fight Andrei."
Arlovski looked outstanding against Rothwell. He had great movement, his cardio held up, and like a pitbull, when he had the opportunity to go for the kill, he did.
But Roy Nelson is a different figher than Rothwell.
If Nelson gets into trouble on his feet against Arlovski he can always go to his bread and butter ... his grappling. Rothwell on the other hand isn't very good on the ground so he didn't have that luxury.
This fight will be different in that Arlovski will have to be prepared for the possibility of being put on his back with a very large and well trained man on top of him because Nelson has great takedowns and as stated above, a quality submission game.
But this is still a fight, and like Mike Tyson once said, "everybody has a plan until they get hit." And Arlovski hits as hard as anyone. Nelson more than likely won't like it when he feels the power and speed combination Andrei has.
It's hard to prepare for that kind of attack until you've actually faced it, and so far in his career, Nelson hasn't faced anyone like the man he'll be facing on Saturday.
As long as Andrei can use his footwork and movement to keep the fight standing, where he has his best chance to win, this is his fight to lose.
There are probably a lot of people who will tune in to this fight to see Arlovski knockout the fat guy, and they'll probably get what they came to see. But Roy Nelson shouldn't be overlooked.
In short, this is a very dangerous fight for "The Pitbull."
The good thing for him is that he knows how dangerous it is and he'll be ready to go to war on Saturday. Expect the same Andrei Arlovski we've all come to know and love … and expect a similar outcome to the Ben Rothwell fight regardless of the difference in styles.
Andrei Arlovski via technical knockout in round three
Check back in tomorrow as we take an in-depth look at the Elite XC welterweight title fight between champion Jake Shields and challenger Paul "Semtex" Daley.