On a troubling four-fight losing streak, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will look to get his career back on track when he meets Ray Lopez in the ProElite “Arlovski vs. Lopez” main event on Sunday at the Neil S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.
The event -- which will stream live on Sherdog.com: weigh-ins at 8 p.m. on Friday, the show at 1 a.m. on Sunday -- marks the rebirth of the ProElite brand, which was behind the now-defunct EliteXC promotion.
Arlovski (15-9) last appeared in February, when he succumbed to first-round punches from Russian brute Sergei Kharitonov in the first round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. The 32-year-old Belarusian, once one of the world’s most feared heavyweights, has not won a fight in nearly four years. A sambo practitioner, Arlovski has secured 11 of his 15 career victories by knockout or technical knockout. Wins over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 winner Roy Nelson, two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum, two-time UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia and former International Fight League light heavyweight titleholder Vladimir Matyushenko anchor his resume.
Lopez (5-2) last fought at King of the Cage “Underground 69” in July, when he stopped Rob Morrow on first-round punches at the Dream Makers Theater in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. He has never been knocked out, and only one of his seven professional bouts has reached the judges.
The event will also feature a middleweight rematch pairing “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Kendall Grove with Joe Riggs, a welterweight duel pitting Reagan Penn -- the brother of former two-division UFC champion B.J. Penn -- against Paul Gardner and a women’s welterweight tilt matching 2004 Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann with once-beaten Hawaiian Raquel Pa’aluhi. In addition, UFC veteran Drew McFedries will collide with Garrett Olson, and 2009 NCAA wrestling champion Mark Ellis will make his professional MMA debut against Jake Heun.