Andrei Arlovski made his return to the big leagues last night, and it didn't quite pan out the way people hoped it would be. Regardless of your thoughts on the contested decision, it certainly wasn't an entertaining bout by any stretch of the imagination.
During the fight, fans and analysts kept on saying how Arlovski is clearly no where near the same fighter that ruled the division almost 10 years ago. Fair or not, people were questioning if he belonged in the Octagon after that performance. Dana White didn't even care about the controversial decision either, saying it was the fans who truly lost during that fight.
Dana is correct to an extent, but if they're disappointed, maybe they should've known better when they brought back the former UFC champion. Maybe if they're bringing back legends, they should've chosen the more optimal and deserving choice.
Who would've been a better option? Easy. They should've called back one of the pioneers of the UFC lightweight division and the former Shooto world champion in Caol Uno.
Much like Arlovski, Uno also had a rough patch following his last UFC stint. Both did recover well and went on streaks in the past couple of years, although one fighter was much more impressive in doing so.
Arlovski won 4 of his last 5 prior to joining the UFC, with his only loss coming against surging light heavyweight Anthony Johnson. That seems decent on paper, but if you actually watched all of this fights, you wouldn't have been surprised by his UFC 174 performance. While Arlovski was busy edging journeymen heavyweights or 205'ers in Kraniotakes (2 wins in last 6), Kyle (1 win in last 5) and Hayes (1 win in last 6), Uno was out beating talented guys who had impressive runs of their own. Not only that, he did it in spectacular fashion.
Following a decision loss in 2012 to the King of Pancrase in Shintaro Ishiwatari, Uno has since won 5 straight bouts in the last two years as a featherweight.
Part of that impressive run happened in Vale Tudo Japan where he faced a fast rising star from Team Alpha Male in Anthony Avila. Prior to the contest, the American had won 10 straight fights and was looking to add a UFC pioneer to his resume. Uno choked him out. [gif]
His next fight was against another stud from Team Alpha Male in Daniel Romero. The 23-year-old fighter called 'the Doomsday Prophet' was on a nice streak of his own, and had just knocked out the highly regarded Hiroyuki Takaya the event prior. He wanted to exact revenge for his teammate and solidify his status in the sport at the same time, but Uno had other plans. He choked him out as well, this time with a rarely seen inverted triangle choke. [gif]
Uno has since followed up with two more wins this year, against Bellator vet Jesse Brock, and BE Scouting Report inductee, Taiki Tsuchiya. He has been working hard and delivering for the past couple of years, all for that hope that it is still possible to get another shot at a UFC comeback.
He may have turned 39 last month, but he has clearly shown to have a lot more in the tank, and has actually earned it by beating these top athletes that are more than a decade younger. If the UFC wanted to bring back an MMA legend in the fold, they should've called Uno Shoten instead.
They still can though.
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