ProElite: "Arlovski vs. Lopez" is all set to go down tomorrow night (August 27, 2011) live from the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of ProElite, beginning with the main card bouts, which are set to be streamed on Sherdog, shortly after the completion of UFC 134 (approximately 1:00 a.m. ET).
Arlovski needs a win badly. Lopez will be trying to make a name for himself at Arlovski's expense.
"The Pitbull" won't be the only one on this card battling down the road to redemption. Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Kendall Grove and Joe Riggs will both be looking to make a stride towards getting back into the Octagon.
Reagan Penn, B.J.'s younger brother and protege, will be making his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut in hopes that he may, one day, follow in his sibling's footsteps.
Mark Ellis will also be making his professional MMA debut as he attempts to prove that he is more than just a wrestler.
Talk is cheap. Predictions are worth, perhaps, even less.
I'll give it a stab anyway!
Let's be honest. It's been a while. Arlovski has not struck fear into the hearts of opponents for quite some time. Sometimes, you have to throw a dog a bone. It's hard not to feel like that is exactly what ProElite did in this scenario. It's hard to blame them. Arlovski is probably the biggest name on their still-small roster. It's not a pretty situation if he goes out there on Saturday night and takes another nose dive.
That's not to take anything away from Lopez. In his own right, he has a lot of potential. He's 5-2 so far as a professional MMA fighter. He has a decent ground game and hits like a mule. Unfortunately, that may be his undoing.
Stay with me. I know it's a tough argument to make that a fighter may not fare as well because he has better than average punching power. The problem is that Lopez has been fighting nobodies up until this point. He's been able to get away with mediocre cardio and stand-up maneuvering. He's been able to get away with putting his hands down for a second from time to time.
Arlovski has seen better days, but somewhere buried inside of him is a fighter who once used to knock people out for a living. I think this is just the kind of fight he needs to regain some confidence. If Lopez makes a mistake, it will be "lights out."
Prediction: Arlovski via KO
Both of these guys are 28 years old. Is that as hard for you to believe as it is for me? If you're familiar with both fighters, you probably would assume Riggs is a good ten years older than Grove. Maybe that's because he has taken part in more than twice as many fights in his career than has Grove.
Riggs has a chance in this fight. A puncher's chance. He could clip Grove. He could also potentially finish him with some ground-and-pound if all the stars align.
Those things will probably not happen. Grove should be able to use his reach and leg kicks to keep Riggs at bay. If the fight goes to the canvas, Grove's jiu-jitsu should be too much for Riggs. It's hard to see where Riggs has a decided advantage in this fight.
Prediction: Grove via submission
I'd be being disingenuous if I pretended to know a ton about either of these guys. I know that Penn's lineage is strong and that he trains with some top level studs.
Gardiner is 3-0 in his relatively short career thus far. The scouting report on him is that he has a strong ground game and decent submissions. Penn has the same report, but the hype is crazy. It's unlikely that Gardiner will be able to keep up if this fight goes to the canvas.
I'm buying the hype. I've read stories and seen rumors about Baby J's little brother. I'm excited to watch him fight and see what he can do.
Prediction: Penn via TKO stoppage
Wrestlers seem to be taking over the sport of MMA these days. Mark Ellis would like to be the next example of this being the case when he takes on former University of Hawaii linebacker Jake Heun.
Again, it's hard to give expert analysis on a fight when guy has only one MMA bout under his belt and his opponent has none.
I do know that Ellis trains out of a good camp in American Kickboxing Academy (AKA). He trains every day with some very good heavyweights. He was a top performer as a wrestler. I believe all of that will transition to a strong performance tomorrow night in his debut.
Prediction: Ellis via decision