Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski will return to the sport of mixed martial arts after finalizing a 16-month, multi-fight contract with the San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion. "The Pitbull" confirmed the signing via his official website earlier today.
Arlovski is no stranger to Strikeforce audiences. He accepted a short-notice bout against heavyweight wrecking ball Brett Rogers at the "Lawler vs. Shields" event last June in an appearance sponsored by Affliction.
It didn’t last very long.
Despite entering the cage as a heavy favorite -- Arlovski was dropped just 22 seconds into the fight by an aggressive and hard-hitting Rogers, handing the Belarusian his second straight defeat via first round knockout.
Prior to stepping inside the cage with "The Grim," Arlovski came up short against WAMMA champion Fedor Emelianenko in their world title fight back on Jan. 24, 2009.
Following the loss to Rogers, Affliction opted not to renew Arlovski's contract, allowing the talented striker to seek alternate endeavors both in and out of MMA.
He finally had the chance to pursue his professional boxing career on the undercard of the Victor Ortiz vs. Marcos Maidana fight on HBO at The Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., back on June 27.
Unfortunately the appearance was put on pause when Arlovski was hit with a medical suspension after the loss to Rogers, which meant that he wouldn't be ready in time for fight night.
After a fair amount of time on the sidelines, "The Pitbull" got a taste of the sweet science last Saturday night (Feb. 27), mixing it up with former heavyweight contender Fres Oquendo in Miami for “The Consequences Charity” in a four round exhibition boxing match.
Now he's recommitted himself to the sport that made him famous. And Sherdog.com reports that he could make his return against Antonio "Junior" Silva as early as May 15 in St. Louis; however, nothing is official at this time.
Regardless of who he faces, it's going to bolster a very talented roster of 265-pound fighters. And it may lessen the blow of Fedor Emelianenko jumping ship if the reports of him seeking employment elsewhere turn out to be true.
Does the talented but hot-and-cold Arlovski still have the goods to be a force in the Strikeforce heavyweight division?
Only time will tell.