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UFC 225 card: Andrei Arlovski vs Tai Tuivasa full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight knockout artists Andrei Arlovski and Tai Tuivasa will brawl this Saturday (June 9, 2018) at UFC 225 inside United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Few men can rebound like Arlovski. From 2009-2011, Arlovski suffered four straight defeats and three knockout losses, causing many to call for his retirement. Instead, “Pitbull” went on a tear, returned to UFC, and rose into the Top 10. Arlovski then got his ass kicked five straight times, but somehow the result is a wiser and more well-rounded Arlovski who enters the cage this weekend on a two-fight win streak. On the other hand, UFC is hoping Tuivasa is the next big thing at Heavyweight ... and it’s not hard to see why. The Aussie is genuinely fun outside of the cage and remarkably violent inside it, seeing as he only wins via knockout.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Andrei Arlovski
Record: 28-15 (1)
Key Wins: Travis Browne (UFC 187), Junior Albini (UFC Fight Night 120), Frank Mir (UFC 191), Antonio Silva (UFC Fight Night 51), Fabricio Werdum (UFC 70)
Key Losses: Stipe Miocic (UFC 195), Alistair Overeem (UFC Fight Night 87), Francis Ngannou (UFC on FOX 23), Marcin Tybura (UFC Fight Night 111)
Keys to Victory: Historically, Arlovski has always been a fighter who limits himself, as there have been literal years where Arlovski has done nothing but try to find a home for the right hand. In his recent win streak, however, Arlovski has been far more willing to kick and wrestle. Plus, he’s always held a conditioning edge over the average Heavyweight, and he’s finally taking advantage of that as well.

Arlovski fans rejoice, he’s making the most of his skill set.

It’s imperative that Arlovski continues to fight smart opposite Tuivasa, who’s going to try to destroy him. If Arlovski tries to answer Tuivasa’s aggression with a right hand, he’ll probably end up in a brawl that he does not want.

Instead, Arlovski needs to drag out this fight. “Bam Bam” has never been outside the first round, and based on his fighting style, he will slow down badly. To last that long, Arlovski should hang around the outside, kick and force Tuivasa to come to him. Whenever Tuivasa charges forward, Arlovski can then latch onto a clinch and attempt to take him down or just contain him.

As the fight wears on, Arlovski should find more success implementing his own offense.


Tai Tuivasa
Record: 7-0
Key Wins: Cyril Asker (UFC 222), Rashad Coulter (UFC Fight Night 121), James McSweeney (Australian Fighting Championship 17)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: A surprisingly fast athlete despite his 260 lbs. frame, Tuivasa has experience in professional kickboxing and boxing. It shows inside the cage, as Tuivasa can methodically break fighters down and find an opening or simply blitz them into unconsciousness.

Historically, the blitz works well opposite Arlovski.

Given his size, youth and power, Tuivasa has little to fear walking down Arlovski. There’s always the chance an overhand gets through his guard and shuts his lights off, but that risk is constantly present at Heavyweight. Plus, Arlovski tends to land his biggest punches will bursting forward rather than on the counter.

More realistically, Tuivasa will make Arlovski uncomfortable and threatened before the veteran has a chance to find his range. Tuivasa just has to remain an offensive wrecking ball no matter what Arlovski does, and he’s likely to find the Belarusian’s chin.

Bottom Line: The winner is in the Heavyweight Top 10 on a win streak, so by default that makes him a contender.

Arlovski’s career is ridiculous. By all rights, it should’ve been over by now multiple times. Instead, Arlovski just has to knockout one up-and-comer — hardly an impossible outcome considering his punching power — and he’ll be within a win or two of a title shot. Meanwhile, if he gets stopped for the twelfth time, there will be public outcry for retirement.

Only at Heavyweight.

As for Tuivasa, there’s still a lot to learn about the 25-year-old Aussie. It’s possible that he’s already ready for the Top 5. It’s also possible that he doesn’t know how to defend a single-leg take down or will fatigue terribly after the opening five minutes. We simply don’t know yet, but giving Tuivasa the toughest foe of his career to date may help us find out.

The consequences are simple: Tuivasa wins and he’ll be rushed into the title mix, ready or not. If not, Tuivasa will have plenty of time to grow and likely be given a couple easier foes.

At UFC 225, Andrei Arlovski and Tai Tuivasa will meet in the Octagon. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?

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