Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight legends Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir came to blows last night (Sept. 5, 2015) at UFC 191 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Arlovski's career turnaround has been incredible to watch, and his three UFC victories have gotten him back into the the title mix. If he managed to finish Mir, he'd likely be next in line for a title shot.
Similarly, Mir was written off by just about everyone following a four fight slide. Since then, he's come back to the cage with renewed vigor and scored a pair of first round knockouts. Last night, the former champion was looking to continue that streak.
Instead, both of them lost a bit of momentum in this slow battle.
Both men made their game plans clear immediately. Arlovski was throwing his right hand at every opportunity, while Mir looked to slip the shot and move into the clinch.
Overall, the first was a very competitive round. Mir may have had a slight edge in volume, but Arloski landed the heavier shots. Additionally, Mir was not able to accomplish much when he did work his way into the clinch.
Thanks to a few crisp right hands, Arlovski likely won the opening five minutes.
Mir switched it up to open the next round, dropping down and landing a single leg takedown. He landed a few nice shots from within Arlovski's guard, but the Sambo specialist managed to stall until the referee stood them up.
With the fight back on the feet, it became clear how much both veterans had slowed down. Neither man threw all that much in the final two minutes, but Arlovski did land the better punches.
In short, it was anyone's round.
Both fighters were incredibly tired heading into the final frame. The fight continually moved into the clinch, where absolutely nothing happened and Big John McCarthy had to separate them a few times.
However, at about the halfway point, Mir landed a big punch and dropped/took down Arlovski. Just as he appeared to be setting up a submission hold, Arlovski exploded and scrambled back to his feet.
Where both men did a whole lot of nothing, largely waiting for the final bell to ring. After 15 minutes of combat, either man could earn the decision.
In the end, all three of the judges scored it for Andrei Arlovski.
This was not Arlovski's best performance. When his opponent planned for the right hand, Arlovski had very few other weapons. He landed with some kicks and elbows, but for the most part Arlovski simply bounced in with his overhand right, the majority of which were deflected.
When Arlovski did switch up his offense, he largely landed. In the third round, Arlovski began ending combinations with a stiff left jab, which snapped Mir's head back a few times. If he had adjusted earlier and stuck with, perhaps he could've finished the American.
Nonetheless, Arlovski earned the victory, and his win streak continues. It's hard to see him earning a title shot off this performance, but it's definitely a possibility. There's also the Fedor Emelianenko rumor going around, which would be fantastic.
Mir also fought an odd fight. His game plan of avoiding the right hand and looking for the clinch was smart, but he completely failed to do anything at all from there. Plus, his weight and supposed strength advance did nothing for him in most exchanges, instead slowing him down for much of the fight.
That said, Mir did have some opportunities on the mat. However, he failed to capitalize on any of them. Mir has relied on his opportunistic ability to snatch submissions throughout his career, and this time he came up short.
Despite this loss, there are a number of interesting fights that he could still end up in. For example, a rematch with the loser of Josh Barnett vs Roy Nelson would make sense.
For complete UFC 191: "Johnson vs Dodson" results and play-by-play click HERE!