Andrei Arlovski file photo: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
The easy joke about Andrei Arlovski’s decision to enter a K-1 kickboxing tournament -- home to some of the most dangerous stand-up strikers in the world -- has to start with the paper-mache chin: Arlovski has been knocked out in two of his last three bouts, cartoon birds and all. Entering a situation where he’s forced to stand and trade might not be the best ego builder. He’s not even a particularly strong kicker.
Fine and fair enough. But: Arlovski’s losses came against two of the heavier-handed fighters in the heavyweight division in Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. And against both, he made huge tactical errors that created an unobstructed path from their hands to his mouth. Watch the Emelianenko fight prior to the sudden finish and he was looking solid. Watch him collapse Roy Nelson -- something Junior dos Santos couldn’t do. Arlovski is a talented puncher who just hasn’t been able to add everything up for himself. He’s hardly a shot athlete.
The advantage to taking the K-1 gig (Oct. 2) might be forward-thinking on his manager’s part: FEG, the company subsidizing both kickboxing and Dream, has encountered widely reported financial troubles. These opportunities might not exist for fighters a year from now: Arlovski is getting it while he can. Smart.
Less smart: fighting Raul Catinas in your opening bout. Catinas is a tough, stocky Romanian who has never been finished in 15 fights and has beaten reputable names in Carter Williams and Stefan Leko. He’s not a creampuff assignment. I don’t know about Arlovski’s chances -- especially when later rounds could involve Alistair Overeem and Badr Hari -- but the fact that he’s taking them at all deserves some respect.