Two serious sluggers took center stage last night (Sept. 14, 2013) as former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski battled veteran Mike Kyle in the main event of World Series of Fighting 5 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Arlovski had stepped up as an injury replacement for Anthony Johnson, the man who defeated him at WSOF 2 earlier this year while Kyle moved up a weight class after his original opponent came up lame.
With both men's power, there were thoughts this fight couldn't last a minute whether alone 15, and it almost did when Kyle cracked Arlovski on the jaw with a sharp right counter. Fortunately for "Pit Bull," he wasn't able to get a finish as Arlovski grabbed a leg looking for a takedown, absorbing a few hammer fists but nothing significant enough to put him out.
When Arlovski recovered, he was fired up, aggressively pushing forward with punches and kicks in combination, even knocking Kyle off balance and winning back the round.
The second frame was more of the same for Arlovski as Kyle lookedl like he became too patient for his own good, even winding up on the receiving end of a crisp combination and a big punch from Arlovski that nearly put his own lights out.
Of course, now that Arlovski seemingly had complete control of the fight, Kyle had to make it interesting in the third with a flash knockdown early but he wasn't able to capitalize on it as Arlovski quickly recovered. Both men traded big shots in the final round but Kyle just couldn't get the finish to make up for losing the first two as Arlovski would walk away with a unanimous decision victory.
For Mike Kyle, his counter-striking helped him and hurt him. "Mak" managed to drop Arlovski with big shots he didn't see coming, but he got so comfortable counter-striking that he just didn't follow up. If Kyle had really gone for broke after hurting Arlovski in the first round he might have finished it there. The same thing goes for the third round, although the window was much shorter that time. The counter-striking set up the shots that hurt Arlovski bad, but he relied on it so much that he wasn't able to land a significant amount of blows, getting outstruck badly overall by the former champ. Lastly, when he needed a finish or a 10-8 round to make a comeback, he just couldn't find it in himself to do it.
Next up for Kyle could be Angel DeAnda or D.J. Linderman.