Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski could likely face Brandon Vera during a pay-per-view (PPV) event to be held in November, according to two separate UFCmania.com sources.
Grumblings about the showdown surfaced during a meet-and-greet with Arlovski over the weekend in Ontario, Calif. We were unable to confirm or deny this rumor with the manager for "The Pitbull," Keith Gelman, at the time of this writing.
However, if this bout is indeed booked it would feature two of the most popular fighters currently on the UFC roster. It would also help clear up a muddied picture within the suddenly crowded division.
Just yesterday, we passed along a report that mentioned "The Truth" would soon resolve his management issues, which have kept him on the sidelines since November 2006. Prior to the hiatus, he was rising fast in the division and was supposedly offered a contract to fight then-champion Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 back in March.
Even though he only has one fight remaining on his current UFC deal, Vera said he wants to fight twice in 2007. But, if he appears in November, it looks like he's one and done for this year — win or lose.
Something tells me that most fans at this point couldn't care less, especially if he's locked inside the cage with the Belarusian.
Arlovski is a marquee attraction that has been noticeably absent — much to the chagrin of several UFCmania.com readers — since his last appearance at UFC 70: "Nations Collide" in April. He won that fight via unanimous decision over Fabricio Werdum and, prior to the performance, was thought to be next in line to challenge for the title.
It never happened and fans were left bewildered when the UFC booked four fights in the span of four weeks (August 25-September 22) and Arlovski was not among those to be featured.
Without question, a match up between Vera and Arlovski would be fantastic and a solid addition to a card that features (maybe, depending on the steroid charge) UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk vs. BJ Penn.
However, both fighters as far as I can tell only have one fight each remaining on their UFC contracts. In addition, Vera has not yet been before the California State Athletic Commission to formally sever ties with his manager, Mark Dion.
Put simply, there are a lot of balls in the air being juggled right now. Not to mention, we have yet to receive confirmation on way or another from Arlovski's manager.
But it's definitely a showdown worth debating, whether it happens or not.
UFC 78 is expected to take place at the Prudential Arena in Newark, New Jersey, on November 17.