Andrei Arlovski is doing his best to stay busy.
A little more than two weeks after knocking out Devin Cole in the first-ever World Series of Fighting headliner, the former UFC heavyweight champion announced on Twitter that he will square off with Mike Hayes on Dec. 16 in Moscow. The bout is expected to headline the Fight Nights “Battle of Moscow 9” card. Fight Nights is a Russia-based MMA promotion that has held 12 events dating back to June 5, 2010.
“I am happy for the first time in many years to fight in Russia,” Arlovski stated in a release on the promotion’s website. “ … I know that mixed martial arts in Russia are on the rise, and I think that in a few years, the sport will be the number one sport (there).”
Arlovski, 33, is unbeaten in his last four outings. The Belarusian competed twice under the ProElite banner in the second half of 2011, scoring third-round finishes of Ray Lopez and Travis Fulton. “The Pit Bull” then appeared to be well on his way to victory in his fourth meeting with Tim Sylvia at One FC 5 “Pride of a Nation” this past August. However, the bout was declared a no contest after Arlovski landed a pair of soccer kicks to a downed Sylvia without receiving clearance from the referee, as was then required per One FC rules. Most recently, the Jackson’s MMA product stopped Cole at the 2:37 mark of the opening frame at WSOF 1 in Las Vegas.
A 32-year-old Washington native, Hayes relinquished his Cage Warriors Fighting Championship heavyweight title to D.J. Linderman via unanimous decision this past June. That setback snapped a six-fight winning streak for “300,” who had captured the organziation’s vacant strap by submitting Andreas Kraniotakes in March. A three-time Bellator Fighting Championships veteran, Hayes has finished 13 of his 18 career wins by way of knockout, technical knockout or submission.
“I’ve watched Andrei fight for a while, and he’s always been one of my favorite fighters to watch,” Hayes told Sherdog.com via text message. “This is a giant opportunity for me, and everyone can rest assured that I will leave everything on the table in Moscow next month.”