Andrei Arlovski’s path to 23 UFC wins

Andrei Arlovski just tied Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller for most wins in UFC history. A career that started professionally in 1999, the Pitbull has been a part of building the sport into what it is today. He has fought for major organizations while taking on the who’s who of talent and in a weight class that is filled with the strongest hitters on planet earth. Andrei has fought in the early days of MMA when rules were almost non-existent as well as a current fighter in the new era of modern rules and regulations as well as belongs to the social media era which has dramatically changed the landscape of social media. While he may be 43 years old Andrei is still going and is looking to add win 24 sometime soon. 

Pro debut: 1st round KO Loss to Viacheslav Datsik in 1999 at M-1 World championship 1999. That’s right folks, the winningest UFC fighter of all time started his HOF worthy career with a KO loss in the first round to one of the most controversial fighters in history. He would rebound with 4 straight stoppages. 

UFC Debut: 55 second Armbar win over Aaron Brink at UFC 28, in 2000: Andrei made his UFC debut with only 4 fights at the time, obviously the UFC talent pool was nowhere near what it is today, but regardless of the Pitbull delivered a submission in under a minute. 

Path to the title: Although victorious in his debut, Andrei would suffer back to back losses when he faced legends Ricco Rodriguez and Pedro Rizzo both by 3rd round stoppages. While this would mean the end for some fighters, it had the opposite effect on Andrei as he would go on to win 3 in a row (Ian Freeman, Vladimir Matyushenko and Wesley Correira) before securing a shot at then champ Tim Sylvia.

Heavyweight Title: VS Tim Sylvia at UFC 51 in 2005: Andrei would face Tim in what would become his biggest rival of all time. Then champ Silvia was a monster of a human that in some ways had the same build as Tyson Fury. Tim was 6 ft 8 and had a record of 17-1 at the time and was considered the worst man on the planet by many. Andrei went in there and hit Tim with a 1-2 that knocked the American to the mat before unleashing a barrage of strikes which led to a quick Achilles lock victory in only 47 seconds of the 1st. This would lead to Andrei winning the interim belt.

2 title defences: Justin Eilers 1st round TKO win and Paul Buentello 1st round KO:15 seconds win: While Andrei defended his title as interim champ, he would later be elevated to full-time champ status due to Frank Mir’s motorcycle crash. In his 2 defences, he was more than successful TKO’ing Justin in the first and KO’ing Buentello with an overhand right which more than cemented his nickname of the Pitbull. 

Losing title/rematches: Tim Sylvia at UFC 59 & 61: In his 3rd defence Andrei faced the man he took the crown from, Silvia similarly repaid Andrei, stopping the Pitbull in the 1st round of their rematch as well as winning a unanimous decision in the following fight. 

Leaving the UFC: Left after UFC 82: Not many fighters leave a promotion like the UFC on a winning streak yet that is exactly what Andrei did in 2008 after he defeated Jake O’Brien via TKO, the other two names included a 1st round TKO of Marcio Cruz and a Unanimous Decision win over Fabricio Werdum. He would fulfil his contract but depart for a new horizon. 

New promotions: Affliction, Elite Xc, Strikeforce, Pro Elite, One Fc, WSOF, Fight nights: His first fight outside the UFC was a 3rd round KO of Ben Rothwell, he followed it up with a controversial KO of Roy Nelson before going on a 4 fight losing streak which saw him lose to Fedor, Brett Rogers, Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov. Many would question his chin and considered him done as a serious contender, Andrei would rebound going 6-1-1 before getting called back to the UFC. He would post a record of 8-5-1 after leaving the UFC in 2008. 

Return to UFC: vs Brendan Schaub at UFC 174, won via Split Decision: In his return to the promotion Andrei took on a 10-3 Schaub who was near the end of his career and came out on top after a 6-year hiatus from the promotion. Andrei would show the world he was just getting started and would go on to have back-to-back fight-of-the-night performances against Big Foot and Travis Browne and beat Frank Mir by UD. This would lead to one of the most frustrating streaks in Andrei’s career as he lost his next 5 but to the best of the best (Stipe, Overeem, Barnett, Francis). He had rebound back to back wins and would go 5-5 in his next 10.  

Current streak: 4 fight win streak: Andrei’s last loss came at the hands of up and comers and potential future challenger Tom Aspinall in 2021, since then he has beaten Chase Sherman, Carlos Felipe, and Jared Vanderaa and most recently Jake Collier which earned him win 23. While not many think the Pitbull has anything left in the tank in terms of contending for the title, he has been written off before and came back to prove everyone wrong. While he was not pleased with his win this past Saturday, Arlovski showed that he can still hang in there with the young bucks and take some massive shots that would put anyone to sleep.

Win 24?: Of the three men currently at #1 only Donald Cerrone is scheduled for about as he is facing Joe Lauzon later this week. Jim Miller fought in February scoring another win which led to him tying the record. There is a good chance these 3 continue to win and keep the record as a three-way race.  


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