In the most anticipated fight on the card from WSOF 2, Anthony Johnson met former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski in a heavyweight tilt for the ages. Fight fans were looking to see how Johnson would do at a larger weight, while wondering what this new version of Andrei Arlovski a la Greg Jackson was capable of.
The fight almost came to a close at the end of the first round, as Johnson had knocked Arlovski down and pounded away at him in the corner that I was shooting from. The ten-second warning went off, and it seemed that Johnson was seconds away from winning. Moments later, the ref waved them off and Johnson began celebrating with Arlovski looking dazed and confused. As it turned out, it was actually the end of the round and Arlovski managed to make it out, despite no one hearing the sound of the ring bell to signal the closing of the first.
The second and third rounds were just as exciting as the first, with Arlovski pushing past a broken jaw and Johnson getting used to carrying around his extra weight. While recovering from an accidental shot to the groin, Johnson's corner demanded he get up immediately, since Arlovski was regaining his breath and they wanted to keep him tired. A clever strategy, had Johnson also not been totally winded.
Each time an exhausted "Rumble" shot for Arlovski's legs to stop brawling, Johnson's corner would begin screaming and yelling at him for doing that. It seemed that strategy was not to wrestle with Arlovski since they recognized his superior strength, so the goal was to hit and move and land big shots. While the fight may not have gone the exact way they planned, Johnson was awarded the decision victory in a great three-round war. Despite the loss, I was impressed by the smart way Arlovski fought, overcoming his serious injury to push on and pressure Johnson in a very close fight. Johnson still has some growing pains in this new weight, so we will see if he sticks around or tries his luck at a different size.