It wasn’t the fight many hoped for after more than 10 years of anticipation, but Andrei Arlovski kept his comeback going Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, extending his winning streak to six with a three-round unanimous decision victory over Frank Mir in the co-main event of UFC 191.
The clash of former UFC heavyweight champions was expected to occur back when Mir held the title back in 2004, but a motorcycle accident sidelined the Las Vegan and put the matchup on ice for years filled with ups and downs for both men. They finally met at UFC 191, but the bout wasn’t what most expected, including Arlovski.
“I’m disappointed that I underestimated him,” the number four-ranked Arlovski said. “I thought he was only going to go hard the first three minutes of the first round. But it’s a victory, it’s good.”
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for the 36-year-old Arlovski, now 25-10 with 1 NC. The number 10-ranked Mir, also 36, falls to 18-10.
Arlovski struck first with a right hand, Mir responding by locking up with his opponent. The two broke quickly, Mir going on the attack but Arlovski avoiding any trouble. Arlovski stayed the busier of the two at long range, but Mir caught his opponent in plenty of clinches designed to wear the smaller man down.
Mir shot for a takedown as round two began, and he got it, landing in Arlovski’s guard. Mir delivered several hard body shots, but Arlovski held on and was able to force a stand-up by referee John McCarthy with a little over three minutes left. Mir spent much of the rest of the round showboating, with Arlovski tentative about letting his hands go, but also able to get off enough shots to score some much needed points.
The clinches and stalls became more frequent in the final round, both fighters feeling the effects of an emptying gas tank, and McCarthy acting accordingly, restarting the bout three more times. In terms of significant action, Mir did get a takedown and Arlovski landed a couple left hands, one of which opened a cut over his foe’s right eye, but that was it, as both fighters stumbled to the final horn.
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“There was no pressure at all,” Arlovski said. “I thought it was going to be an easy fight, but it wasn’t.”