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UFC 222 results: Andrei Arlovski wrestles his way to decision victory over Stefan Struve

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After steering out of a five-fight losing skid, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, looked to string together back-to-back wins at UFC 222 tonight (Sat., March 3, 2018) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the expense of No. 10-ranked contender, Stefan Struve.

And it was mission accomplished, as Arlovski put on his wrestling boots and grappled Struve to a unanimous decision win.

Struve — who is almost 7’ tall — and Arlovski traded kicks to open the bout, with “Pitbull” getting the better of the exchanges, staggering “Skyscraper” momentarily. Arlovski pumped the jab to try and close the massive distance, but Struve as able to keep him at bay. Arlovski nailed him with another low kick and followed it up with a shot upstairs that clearly rung the Dutchman’s bell. Arlovski followed it up quick with a body lock takedown, but he eventually let Struve get back to his feet. Struve eventually cornered him along the cage and was winging haymakers, but Arlovski was able to circle away and eventually score another thunderous takedown. Once again, though, Arlovski let him get back to his feet, where the two battled for position in the clinch until the round came to a close.

Arlovski opened up the second round with a nice Superman punch and then, shortly thereafter, yet another takedown. This time, though, Struve swept him and angled for a heel hook, wrapping him up like a pretzel. Arlovski freed his leg from danger, but Struve was able to turn and sit on top of him as Arlovski tried to get back to his feet. And eventually he was able to break free and reverse Struve along the fence as the two battled for position. Arlovski was able to land a nice knee in an otherwise boring clinch battle, which referee Herb Dean eventually broke up. On the break, Struve stuck his finger in Arlovski’s eye as he was trying to defend an incoming blitz, forcing a brief stop in the action and a “hard” warning from Dean to Struve to not do it again ... or else.

It was seemingly up for grabs heading into the third and final round, which Struve kicked off with a solid overhand right. He connected with a shovel uppercut about two minutes later as both fighters appeared to be taking their feet off their respective gas pedals. Midway through the round the action was halted once again for an inadvertent eye poke, this time it was Arlovski’s fault. The ringside physician came in and cleared him to continue and he responded with a nice switch kick on the restart. Arlovski responded with a chopping right hand that sent Struve reeling back, but not down. With less than one minute remaining in the bout, Arlovski scored yet another takedown that more or less secured him the unanimous decision victory.

Somehow, someway, Arlovski continues to keep on trucking. He apparently scored more takedowns in this fight tonight than he has in all of his fights throughout his illustrious UFC career. And, in the process, he might have once again wrestled himself into another Top 10 position.

He’s aging like a fine Belarusian wine.

For complete UFC 222: “Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.

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