clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Strikeforce Heavy Artillery Preview: Can Andrei Arlovski Overcome Mental Miscues to Defeat Antonio Silva?

Arlovski_bigfoot_medium The first of two major heavyweight tilts taking place on Saturday's Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery main card will feature former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (15-7, 0-1 SF) battling the Brazilian "Bigfoot" Antonio Silva (13-2, 0-1 SF) after nearly a year-long layoff. Arlovski returns after being massacred by Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields back in June, a bout that saw Arlovski knocked out cold at the 0:22 second mark of the opening round. Silva is equally on the comeback trail after dropping an unanimous decision to Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers in November.

The main focus in this match-up has solely been on Andrei Arlovski. While Antonio Silva's size and physical attributes are something that Arlovski will need to worry about, Arlovski has become somewhat of a participant in a game of Russian Roulette, both figuratively and literally. His mental issues following the losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers have been talked about widely throughout the MMA community, and they'll become a huge x-factor in his future battles in the sport.

Even more significant than his mental fortitude is the physical demands that are required of his chin. In two straight affairs, he's been knocked out completely unconscious, building a case that Arlovski's chin has seen better days. Interestingly enough, both Fedor and Rogers are considered very strong athletes with a history of dramatic knockouts, so the thought that Arlovski is suddenly glass-jawed might be a tad premature. The thought, however, is still in the back of everyone's mind, and in the heavyweight division -- a solid shot from any opponent could send Arlovski to the floor in a spectacular fashion.

It sounds like Arlovski may be on the right track in his preparation for this fight. Speaking with, Arlovski talked about his trainers' ultimatum following his loss to Rogers, his focus on sticking to the gameplan developed during his training camps, and his need to branch out and train with different camps to absorb knowledge. He's also stated that he's trained heavily on his ground tactics in preparation for Silva.

Can we expect a new Andrei Arlovski at Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery? Most answers to these questions are a resounding "Yes" from fans in the lead-up to a fight. It's the optimism in all of us, but sadly -- we've been met with negative feedback in recent times. Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic is probably the best example. But Arlovski has never lacked in his offensive skills. The culprit has mostly been his defensive miscues that lead to his demise in the ring or cage.

Speed is the huge disparity between these two fighters. Silva is a hulking heavyweight at 6'4", 265 pounds, and his gameplan should revolve around using that size and edge on the ground to take down Arlovski and pummel him. There is a very real chance of this happening as Arlovski has shown a lacking technical base on the floor, but his speedy footwork and quick combinations should be the key to winning this fight.

I think Arlvoski will have a sense of desperation to win in this fight, and while that's mostly a bad thing in mixed martial arts as fighters hang back and try to edge out opponents on points -- it'll be a blessing in disguise for Arlovski. For a fighter who constantly runs into lapses in judgment, sticking to a gameplan of constantly moving and delivering speedy combinations and kicks should keep Silva at bay. Silva isn't a speedy striker by any means, but he does have some explosive weapons in his arsenal. His size and strength will be formidable in the clinch, but Arlovski has displayed enough speed in his footwork to avoid those types of exchanges.

I'll go with the Belarussian here. I think he'll eventually land a solid combination to Silva's over-sized chin and batter him while he's stunned to take home a TKO victory, cementing his name in divisional discussions for the next few months.


Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow