Photo by Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images
The two have now gone toe-to-toe in the cage four times, and in their last bout at ONE FC 5: "Pride of a Nation" in Manilla, Phillipines, on Fri., Aug. 31, 2012, it was "The Pitbull" who took care of business. But, the result was not without controversy.
After dropping Sylvia with a flurry of punches, Arlovski chose to throw a couple of soccer kicks (watch the .gif here) that seemed to have ended the match (at the time). Unfortunately for Arlovski, the referee had not given the proper signal that he was allowed to "attack," and that "soccer kicks" (sweeping kicks to the head of a downed opponent) were legalat that point in the fight.
Sylvia was given time to recover, but the damage had been done. The fight was ruled a "No Contest," thus taking away Arlovski's one-sided victory.
But, he's not mad ... not even a little bit:
"About my fight with Tim Sylvia, it was ruled a 'No Contest,' but, to be honest with you, I don't really care. For some reason, when the referee raised his arm up, it's like he gave me a signal to kick him. Even if he didn't raise his arm up, I would have done it anyway, because Tim said, before the fight, that he was gonna kick me if he had the opportunity. It's exactly what I told Travis Browne and Greg Jackson. I told them this, and I don't really care if they disqualify me or not. If I have an opportunity for a soccer kick, I'm going to do it, and I did."
The main thing that Arlovski (who was interviewed by AXS.tv's "Inside MMA") comes away from the fight with is the fact that he had Sylvia beaten before the questionable kicks came into play. They may have been what technically ended the fight, but he believes (as do most fans) it was over anyway:
"I dropped Tim Sylvia with my combo, with my hands. Right, left, right. I'm over all this. It wasn't necessary to kick him with a soccer kick, but I did it, and pretty much everyone knows that I dropped him. We move on. The bad blood between me and Tim Sylvia, it's over, and that's it."
So, is the beef squashed for good? As far as Arlovski is concerned, it's ancient history:
"I think so, because, after the fight, he came over, and we had a little talk. We're definitely not gonna be friends, but at least we're gonna say 'hello' to each other when we see each other. I think it's over. I hope so. If not? We'll see."
On top of the fact that he got to beat up one of his rivals and give the fans a good show, Arlovski is also glad that he got to disprove a certain rumor about his alleged fragile upper anatomy:
"I'm really happy with how the fight went, because Tim Sylvia, he landed a couple of good right hands. I definitely proved to him and to other people that I don't have a weak chin. Before this fight, I worked on my overhand right, over and over. I worked with Mike Winkeljohn, and it worked. I caught him with the right hand. I didn't do everything Greg Jackson told me to do, but I'm happy with how the fight ended. I'm gonna have a couple weeks off, and I'm gonna come back again to Greg Jackson's facility, and I have a lot of work."
Due to the nature of how their fight ended, some have conjectured that a fifth fight may be in order, just to settle things once and for all. Arlovski is open to the idea, if it has to happen, but he'd prefer to move on and "see other people:"
"I don't really think it's necessary to have a fifth fight, but if my fans and his fans and Tim Sylvia all want there to be a fifth fight...yeah, we can have a fifth fight."
So, what does the future hold for the former UFC stalwart? ONE FC is somewhat lacking in heavyweight talent, so it may difficult to keep Arlovski interested. The good news is that the promotion changed the soccer kick rules shortly after the controversial ending, adopting the Pride FC rules to avoid similar situations in the future.
In the meantime, Arlovski would like to get a couple of non-ONE FC fights under his belt before he makes his return to the promotion, but he's really open for whatever is thrown at him by the people who sign his paychecks:
"The question is not for me, it's for my manager. Before my next fight in ONE FC, I'm gonna have a couple more fights: One in Russia, maybe one in the U.S. So, hopefully, but, if not, and they wanna throw me at somebody from the Gracie family or another camp, I'm ready. I just wanna fight."
If you missed ONE FC 5: "Pride of a Nation," make sure to check out our LIVE results thread with full analysis of the preliminary and main card fights right here.