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Andrei Arlvoski vs Ben Rothwell Affliction fight official for July 19

arlovski rothwell
Aside from mentioning that Tito Ortiz was the latest UFC castaway to be pursued by Affliction, there was little in the way of actual news stemming from this afternoon's press conference at Trump Tower in New York City.

Mr. Trump was confident that his involvement with mixed martial arts as well as the money to be made from the sport's increasing popularity was enough in and of itself to legalize sanctioning in New York and that he expects it to happen at some point this year.

There was still one piece of the puzzle that was missing and that point "The Donald" patched an incoming phone call into the boardroom which turned out to be from (surprise) Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski (12-5).

The Belarusian had called in to confirm that he has indeed signed on with Affliction and will face "Big" Ben Rothwell (29-5) at the inaugral event at the Honda Center on July 19 in Anaheim, Calif., ending months of speculation and whispers as to where the talented heavyweight would end up next.

With the signing, Arlovski ends an eight-year, 14-fight run with the Zuffa-owned promotion. The former champion was among one of the longest tenured fighters on the roster ... and for good reason. He has notable victories over Tim Sylvia, Paul Buentello, Vladimir Matyushenko, Fabricio Werdum and Wesley "Cabbage" Correira, among others.

He is a fine addition to perhaps the most talented heavyweight division in the world. And there are plenty of great match ups for him until his non-exclusive, three-fight contract expires such as Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Alexander Emelianenko, Sylvia, as well as a possible rematch with a man who knocked him out back in 2002, Pedro Rizzo.

First on the docket, however, is Rothwell.

The heavy-handed Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS)-trained fighter cleared out the International Fight League (IFL) division and is on a 13-fight undefeated tear. He last competed at the IFL 2007 Team Championship Final, defeating former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez via unanimous decision.

It's safe to say that throughout their careers, Arlovski has been up against stiffer competition and on bigger stages. This is a huge opportunity for Rothwell to make a name for himself against one of the best in the business, as well as a chance for Arlovski to prove that he is still among the top heavyweights in the world. Senior Writer Jesse Holland contributed to this report.

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