Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight strikers Andrei Arlovski and Tanner Boser will battle this weekend (Sat., Nov. 7, 2020) at UFC Vegas 13 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Looking back at Arlovski’s record is pretty mind-boggling. He was written off entirely way back in 2011, but since he re-joined UFC three years later, Arlovski has really only lost to ranked opposition or via split-decision. He’s won two of his last three (a single judge away from three of four), and Arlovski seems firmly committed to his role of active gatekeeper. Boser is the latest prospect to take the Arlovski challenge. However, he doesn’t at all fit the mold of a typical slugging Heavyweight up-and-comer, as Boser out-works his opponents with volume rather than pure power.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 29-19 (2)
Key Wins: Ben Rothwell (UFC on ESPN 4), Fabricio Werdum (UFC 70), Travis Browne (UFC 187), Frank Mir (UFC 191), Antonio Silva (UFC Fight Night 51)
Key Losses: Stipe Miocic (UFC 195), Alistair Overeem (UFC Fight Night 87), Francis Ngannou (UFC on FOX 23), Marcin Tybura (UFC Fight Night 111), Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UFC 244)
Keys to Victory: The quick recap of Arlovski’s big wins and losses directly above cannot hope to recap his actual career. Simply put, he’s fought everyone who’s anyone in the Heavyweight division for more than 20 years now.
A big part in Arlovski’s current success comes in a shift from power to versatility. Even at 41 years of age, “The Pitbull” is faster than a considerable portion of his peers, and he can maintain a higher pace than most foes in their 20s.
He still hits hard, too.
Most of the time, Arlovski faces confident young sluggers who bet on their chances of knocking him out early. When that doesn’t pay off, he picks them apart in the latter half of the fight. However, Boser is just as active and well-conditioned as the former champion, so this match up requires a little something different.
More than anything else, low kicks are key here. Boser moves laterally a lot, and Arlovski can slow that down by chopping into the thigh. In addition, Boser has made a habit of ducking under power shots. Arlovski has a pretty deadly overhand/uppercut double threat, which would be perfect in setting up Boser to duck into the uppercut.
Key Wins: Philipe Lines (UFC Vegas 4), Raphael Pessoa (UFC on ESPN 14), Daniel Spitz (UFC on ESPN 6)
Key Losses: Ciryl Gane (UFC Fight Night 165)
Keys to Victory: Boser has made a name for himself in the last couple months. Previously, he showcased solid striking based on deft movement and range kickboxing, but the finishes were not there. He’s knocked out his last two opponents, however, and now the momentum is building.
Boser is unlikely to fall into the Arlovski trap of gassing himself in pursuit of the knockout. For one, he fights well for the full 15 minutes, and more important, Boser doesn’t chase the finish. He lets it happen ... or he’s willing to go to the scorecards.
Unless one man really times the other with a power shot — volume strikers aside, this is still Heavyweight — it seems likely that the judges get involved on this one. As such, staying ahead on the numbers is pivotal for each fighter.
In Boser’s case, I’d like to see him working the outside, convincing Arlovski to come to him. Fire lots of range kicks and take angles with punches rather than aim to kill. If Arlovski is forced to lead, he’s generally predictable with his right hand-heavy combinations. Boser is accustomed to that threat, and he’s quite good at landing his own right over-the-top on charging opponents.
Gatekeeper vs. prospect, Heavyweight edition!
Recent Arlovski fights have rarely been fun to watch, but the man does serve a valuable purpose. There are few big men willing and able to fight so often, as “Pitbull” consistently fights at least three times a year. Prospects need veterans to teach them lessons or elevate their careers, and Arlovski also gets the occasional fun battle of badass old dudes (like his 2019 battle with Ben Rothwell).
Until Arlovski takes another bad knockout streak, his position is secure.
As for Boser, this is a major test. He outclassed three opponents and soundly lost to Gane, who many see as the division’s best prospect. Arlovski is a solid middle ground, a reasonable step up. Victory sees Boser step up against ranked talent next, while a loss halts the 29-year-old’s rise.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 13 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN2 / ESPN+ 10 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Vegas 13, Andrei Arlovski and Tanner Boser will duel in the co-main event. Which man earns the victory?