A heavyweight bout featuring former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski taking on seasoned veteran Ben Rothwell kicked off tonight’s UFC San Antonio main card.
Tonight’s fight will serve as a rematch, as Arlovski and Rothwell previously met under the Affliction banner in July of 2008, with ‘The Pitbull’ emerging victorious by way of knockout.
Andrei Arlovski (27-18 MMA) enters tonight’s contest having lost three decisions in a row, four if you count Walt Harris which was later overturned to a no-contest. Prior to the skid, Arlovski had reeled off octagon wins over Junior Albini and Stefan Struve respectively.
Meanwhile, Ben Rothwell returned to action following a near three-year hiatus this past March, where he dropped a decision to Blagoy Ivanov. Prior to the setback, ‘Big Ben’ had gone 4-1 over his past five fights, a streak that saw him defeat the likes of Brandon Vera, Alistair Overeem, Matt Mitrione and Josh Barnett.
Round one begins and Rothwell comes forward. Andrei circles to his right and then leaps in with a combination followed by a body kick. Arlovski with a low kick. Rothwell clips him with a left. Andrei comes forward with a combination and then a kick to the body. Both men swing shots in the pocket. Rothwell with a left. Arlovski lands a low kick and then a right hand. Rothwell charges in but slips. Andrei cracks him with a shot over the top. He follows that up with a spinning back fist that partially lands. Good shots from ‘The Pitbull’. Rothwell circles off the cage. Andrei Arlovski goes for a body kick but Rothwell counters nicely with a right hand. Another good low kick now from the former UFC heavyweight champion. Rothwell eats it and walks forward. Arlovski rips a jab and then a low kick. Rothwell’s face is busted up. Still, he comes forward with punches. Arlovski doing a good job of avoiding and then countering. One minute remains. Andrei Arlovski with a nice jab that stuns Rothwell. The fighters trade low kicks. Arlovski with another spinning back fist. He lands a body kick now. Rothwell comes forward with a right. Andrei catches him with a right hand of his own. The horn sounds to end round one.
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Round two begins and Arlovski starts off the action with a straight right. Ben Rothwell looks to get inside but Arlovski tags him with an uppercut and then a right hand. These are some heavy exchanges. Rothwell’s face is a bloody mess. Arlovski with a jab. He misses with a spinning back kick. Rothwell paws with a right but it is telegraphed. Arlovski with a beautiful combination. Rothwell steps into the pocket and lands a right. He forces Arlovski against the cage. Andrei reverses the position but only momentarily. Two minutes remain as Rothwell lands a knee. Andrei returns fire but remains pressed against the cage. Rothwell with body shots now. Andrei Arlovski breaks free and lands a right hand. He seems very fresh. Good jabs from Arlovski. He lands a knee and then forces Ben Rothwell against the cage. Arlovski with another good combination on the break. He throws a spinning back kick that lands. Rothwell is tough as nails but he is wearing it. Arlovski with another big right followed by a low kick. He unloads a combination. Another right hand lands before the horn sounds to end round two.
Round three begins and Arlovski lands a pair of jabs to start. Rothwell trudges forward and grabs a hold of the clinch. Arlvoski quickly breaks free and lands a right hand. Another good right hand lands for Arlovski. Ben Rothwell just continues to take the punishment but remains in the fight. All he needs is one punch. The fighters clinch against the cage. Arlovski unloads a right. Rothwell shoots in for a takedown. He gets Arlovski to the floor but the former champion gets up immediately. Ben continues to press and forces Arlovski back against the cage. Andrei breaks free and lands a right. He circles to his left and rips another combination. Ben Rothwell with a big shot now. He leaps in with a flurry. Arlovski remains in the pocket. Both men are swinging for the fences. Arlovski with a pair of shots. Rothwell clinches up and looks for a takedown. He can’t get it. The horn sounds to end the fight.
Official UFC San Antonio Result: Andrei Arlovski def. Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Who do you think Andrei Arlovski should fight next following his decision victory over Ben Rothwell at tonight’s UFC San Antonio event? Sound off in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com July 20, 2019