Sometimes when former sparring partners get together for a fight in the Octagon the result is a tentative affair where the two competitors are hesitant to engage. Such was the case in the heavyweight bout between Brendan Schaub and Andrei Arlovski on Saturday night.
The two fighters trained together once upon a time and because it’s the heavyweight division, Schaub and Arlovski knew all too well how one mistake could lead to the end of the fight. So both men rarely took chances over the course of the fight, and what resulted was a lackluster performance ending in a split decision win for Arlovski.
Arlovski looked strong early, muscling Schaub around the cage with his clinch work but whenever the fighters separated, rarely did he open himself up with his strikes to try and land combinations. On the other side, Schaub was content to launch a huge overhand right repeatedly looking for the knockout, but Arlovski was never home when his fist swung through the air.
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The hardest hits from the fight seemed to be when Schaub and Arlovski kept diving in towards each other and their heads clashed, which may have been the cause of the cut opened up on Schaub’s face that started bleeding more during the third round.
Schaub came back in the third with a takedown, but even from there he did very little damage while spending several minutes in top control.
According to FightTrax, for the biggest shots of the fight, Arlovski outlanded Schaub 21 to 19 in significant strikes over the course of three rounds, but for a 15 minute bout it was very low output from both big men.
The final judges’ tallies returned two cards 29-28 for Arlovski and the third coming back 29-28 for Schaub.
Arlovski gets a win in the UFC for the first time in six years, but probably not the performance he was hoping to have in his return bout.