Alistair Overeem will fight his teammate Andrei Arlovski in a main event match in the Netherlands on May 8 in what will be the first UFC card in the country. Reports emerged on Twitter on Saturday that the former kickboxer would face his teammate Arlovski for the first time thereby sending the MMA Twittersphere abuzz.
Little Saturday breaking news for you. Alistair Overeem’s opponent for UFC Rotterdam main event will be teammate Andrei Arlovski.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) February 20, 2016
It did not take long before Andri Arlovski confirming the news via his Instagram page. The Belarussian mixed martial artist and former boxer posted a photo with side-by-side pictures of him and Alistair Overeem with “UFC is coming to Rotterdam May 8.”
And on Sunday, sources close to the fight confirmed the news to Fox Sports thereby eliminating any doubts about the initial reports posted on Saturday.
Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski share trainers and train side by side every day. The announcement of this fight sets an interesting scenario given the fact that both have been under the tutelage of Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn for years now, which means they know a lot about each other’s technique, weakness and strength.
— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) February 15, 2016
This fight comes shortly after Alistair Overeem signed a new multi-year deal with UFC and thus will be a warm welcome home especially given his current winning sequence of three wins in a row. Overeem dispatched former UFC champion Junior Dos Santos on December 19 last year via TKO (left hook and punches) to follow up the wins over Dutch compatriot Stevan Struve (KO-punches, December 13, 2014) and American, Roy Nelson (Unanimous decision-March 14, 2015).
On the other hand, Andrei Arlovski will seek to return to winning ways after losing his 6-match winning streak in his most recent bout. Arlovski suffered a surprise defeat to American UFC fighter Stipe Miocic TKO (punches) on January 2, this year to end a winning streak that saw him dispatch six MMA fighters during a 2-year period of success.
Andrei Arlovski had defeated Frank Mir (decision), who also lost Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silver, who beat Overeem in February 2013. Other fighters that were on the receiving end of Arlovski’s winning streak include Brendan Schaub, Travis Browne, Mike Kyle, and Andreas Kraniotakes.
Currently, Alistair Overeem has fought in 55 matches, winning 40 and losing 14 with one no contest match while teammate Andrei Arlovski, despite him being the older of the two has fought in 37 matches, winning 25, losing 11 and one ending in a no-contest decision.
Both Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski are each 6 ft 4 inches in height, but Alistair is the heavier of the two weighing 243 pounds compared to Andrei’s weight of 237.5 pounds. Overeem also has the advantage when it comes to the reach in the distance, with a reach of 80 inches or 203 centimeters compared to Arlovski’s 77 inches or 196 centimeters reach.
Fox Sports reports that Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski will continue to train in the same gym, but it is not clear whether they will be training together as they prepare for the May 8 bout in the Netherlands.
Alistair Overeem just had his biggest win which came as a shock to many since joining the UFC while Andrei Arlovski suffered a shock defeat. So these two, are coming into the bout with contrasting recent histories. It is a hard fight to call and the bookies will no doubt be splitting the odds, especially given the fact that the two are teammates.
Alistair Overeem fights out of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, which means he will be fighting in front of his home crowd while Andrei Arlovski, despite being from Belarus, fights out of Chicago Illinois, in the US. The May 8, 2016, main event bout in the Netherlands also comes during a period when UFC fight cards will be taking place for the first time in several countries and regions including the Netherlands and Croatia.
So MMA fans who do you think will pick out the win from this one? Alistair Overeem or Andrei Arlovski?
[Photo via UFC]