It was a bad day for the Miletich camp. Both "Big" Ben Rothwell and Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia were exposed for what they are. Overrated. Rothwell entered the weekend on a 13 fight win streak, albeit against IFL talent. He would leave bloodied and bruised. Tim Sylvia entered his highly anticipated match with Fedor Emelianenko having lost 2 of his last 3 fights. Some of us questioned whether Sylvia belonged in the ring with Fedor. After Saturday, we would be proven right.
First, let's address the revival of the "Pitbull". And it most certainly was a revival. If anyone needed a good showing on July 19th, it was Andrei Arlovski. His last 2 fights in the UFC were lackluster. Some questioned what happened to the "Pitbull". Said he was passive. Andrei heard his critics, and went out to answer them. And he did just that.
After hiring Freddie Roach, acclaimed boxing instructor, and working with Randy Couture, Andrei swore this fight would be different. He trained hours on end. Sometimes, his trainers would have to drag him from the gym. In an interview with Sherdog.com, Arlovski said this was the hardest he has ever trained for a fight. And that's saying something coming from someone who workouts 6 days a week for 8 hours a day. And how it showed during his fight.
As the bell rang to start, Arlovski was focused. His footwork was great, and he seemed to strike at will. You could easily see that Ben Rothwell was overmatched and outclassed. A few leg kicks here, a few punches there. Rothwell was quickly bloodied. The only time Rothwell even looked like he was in the match was during the 2nd Round when Arlovski, for some unknown reason, decided to stay on his back after a failed submission attempt. But, with about 30 seconds to go, the referree stood them up. Arlovski was quick to take advantage, as Rothwell was completely spent. A punch, a high kick, and few more punches, and a flying knee all hit their mark: Ben's head. Only the bell could save him.
Enter Round 3. The difference between these two fighters was monumental. Rothwell could barely stand, already looking the part of defeated, while Arlovski bided his time for the perfect opening to strike. And then there it was. The overhand right was probably sufficient, but throw in an uppercut for good measure. Call it- 1:13 in Round 3. Miletich Camp 0-1.
And now the main event of the evening. What is there to say? Or rather, what COULD I say given only 36 seconds. All hype, no fight. Tim Sylvia looked like an amateur. As soon as the bell rang, this fight was over. Fedor lands a damaging left hook. Tim goes for the clinch. Again, Fedor lands consecutive punches, one felling the giant. With Tim's back exposed, Fedor quickly applies a rear-naked choke. And just like his last fight to current UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he tapped due to lack of breath. Miletich Camp 0-2. Fedor is crowned the new WAMMA World Heavyweight Champion. And when asked who he wanted to fight next, he replied, "Randy Couture". Yeah, that would be nice, but unless Couture gets his legal matter with the UFC settled, that fight is far off.
Both of these fights are exactly what I expected. Arlovski is in a different league than Rothwell, and I fully expected that KO. And I fully expected Fedor to dominate Tim Sylvia. Maybe not in 36 seconds, but come on, who had that?
At his post-fight interview, Tim Sylvia stated that he's still one of the best. No, you are not Tim. Sorry. You've lost 3 of your last 4, and this last one you didn't even looked like you belonged in the ring. And at Arlovski's post-fight interview, when asked who he would like to fight next, he simply replied, "Fedor, or Barnett, or who ever Afflcition wants me to fight."
Now, barring the miracle that UFC would actually let Couture off, wouldn't an Arlovski/Fedor fight ACUTALLY live up to the hype? Both of these fighters are Sambo World Champions and Sambo Master of Sport. In fact, the only person to beat Arlovski was Fedor. I know I'll be awaiting Affliction's decision.