Photo by Sherdog.com
UFC Heavyweight Championship
Tim Sylvia def. Andrei Arlovski -- TKO (Punches) 2:43 R1
UFC 59 “Reality Check,” April 15, 2006
The Setting: After blowing out Sylvia in February 2005, Arlovski solidified his claim on the UFC heavyweight belt with one-sided stoppages of Justin Eilers and Paul Buentello.
While previous UFC heavyweights had typically been plodding sluggers in stand-up mode, Arlovski punched with a rare blend of tight technique and tail-end power, seemingly able to drop opponents with blows that connected with a Lennox Lewis-like ferocity.
The Swing Moment: In the first bout, Arlovski dropped Sylvia with a perfect right hand prior to pouncing on a fight-ending Achilles lock. It seemed like déjÃ vu, when he dropped Sylvia in the first round of their rematch. Instead, Sylvia managed to work his way back up and drilled an over-aggressive champion with a solid right hand as he moved in for the finish. “The Maine-iac” swarmed on the downed Arlovski, delivering a series of shots before the bout was waved off. Just like that, Arlovski went from seemingly invincible to utterly human.
The Aftermath: Funny moment at the post-fight press conference: Sylvia spoke about his hotel accommodations and warm-up spot in the locker room, which were, shall we say, less than ritzy. “It felt just like the Ricco Rodriguez fight,” Sylvia said, adding that his teammates noticed it, as well, and thought it was a good omen. They were correct. However, Arlovski and Sylvia have since exited the UFC. Their third fight remains one of the more forgettable matches in MMA history.
Check back Saturday for five more title-taking shockers.