This Saturday, the World Series of Fighting will hold their second card featuring a big main event with two UFC veterans fighting in a heavyweight clash. Andrei Arlovski (19-9, 1 NC) will face off against Anthony Johnson (14-4) in the main event in a fight that could have title implications.
The two fighters participated in Tuesday’s conference call to promote the fight and neither man had much in the way of trash talking. Instead, mutual respect and confidence was shared by both men, expecting a tough fight against a game opponent.
For Arlovski, he realizes that the recent four fight winning streak (five if you count No Contest against Tim Sylvia due to a shoddy rule set) could all come crashing down against a dangerous opponent in Johnson. Arlovski kept to a similar strategy as he answered his questions. He talked briefly on his opponent and mostly on the training he has done to prepare for Saturday’s main event.
Arlovski was quick to admit that given his four fight losing streak, that concluded with a KO loss in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, he had almost convinced himself to retire. Coach Greg Jackson told Arlovski just the opposite, however, and worked with him to round out his game and return to form at his new home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Arlovski says that he has taken full advantage of training with the world-class athletes that Jackson’s gym attracts such as Frank Mir, Jon Jones, and Georges St-Pierre, all current or former UFC champions. He states that along with the specific stylistic training he has received from these men, perhaps the biggest benefit is that they push him past his limits as he strives to be a more well-rounded, disciplined fighter as he realizes the challenges ahead:
“It may be the hardest fight of my MMA career, Arlovski stated. I’m just focused on my fight.”
As for his opponent Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, a much more brazen, relaxed fighter emerged. One who was quick with an answer. Johnson first expressed admiration for his opponent as he recognizes Arlovski as a true veteran of the sport. After this initial statement, Johnson was drilled with questions about his current weight, weight gain, and where he was staying after this fight. Johnson stated that his range was at a maximum of 235 pounds. Light-heavyweight would be his permanent home, however, and stated that he took the fight only because of his opponent and the main event status that came with it.
“When you fight a guy like Andrei Arlovski, you have no choice but to be focused”, Johnson said of his next opponent.
As for Johnson’s training camp, he spoke of the high level of talent that he is surrounded by on a daily basis with the likes of Alistair (Overeem), (Matt) Mitrione, (Rashad) Evans, (Michael) Johnson, just to name a few. Johnson let his feelings be known when asked about the recent studies into the Blackzilian camp and its record as of late:
“…we don’t worry about what the media has to say. We just train and whatever happens, happens. Screw the media.”
The calm and collected sounding Johnson expressed no anxiety going into this fight as he claims to feel focused and prepared for the task at hand:
“Soon as I get the phone call I’m already ready to fight. Didn’t really have to prepare”, Johnson said. “I’m ten times Better than the guy who fought Vitor”.
Johnson was repeatedly asked if heavyweight was his new home but barring a string of high-profile heavyweight fights, Johnson plans on returning to 205. He says he’s just ready and eager to step in the cage with Arlovski and to see who the better fighter is Saturday night. Johnson feels confident in his skill set but knows that in this sport anything can happen:
“ This is MMA, I’m gonna be on the lookout for everything. This is MMA, I have to watch out for everything this man does”.
Both men seemed prepared to make a statement Saturday night and continue their winning streaks. Winning streaks that have both started just 7 months ago, accruing each fighter four straight wins (still not counting Arlovski win over Sylvia). Both fighters don’t mind the busy schedules however as more fights equal more money and up to this point, more wins for their record.
Visit BJPENN.com Saturday night for Play-by-Play and results for this Saturday’s World Series of Fighting 2 card from the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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