by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Hours away from his weigh-in at EliteXC’s “Heat” in Sunrise, Fla., Andrei Arlovski briefly spoke to MMAWeekly.com about his fight with former International Fight League heavyweight champ Roy Nelson.
“I take him very seriously,” Arlovski said. “He is a very good heavyweight. It’s a difficult fight for both of us, especially on the short notice.”
A few short months ago, the former UFC heavyweight champ was hard at work preparing for his fight with Josh Barnett at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning.” He had flown back to Los Angeles for an extended training camp with legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach. With less than a month until the fight, word came that Affliction’s second pay-per-view was postponed.
Last-minute negotiations between EliteXC’s fight team and Affliction representatives netted a spot for Arlovski and Barnett on the main card of “Heat,” but apparently, timing issues put Barnett out of the running. Enter Nelson, who was scheduled to take on Paul Buentello at “Day of Reckoning.”
Though he is happy about staying busy, Arlovski hopes his fight with Barnett is not tossed aside.
“A fight with Josh would be a great fight,” he said. “Fans want to see it. I think it will happen in the future.”
Arlovksi says he also plans to fight on Affliction/Golden Boy’s boxing/MMA hybrid card in January. Being that Barnett turned down a potential fight with Fedor Emelianenko on that card, a rendezvous would appear to fit there. At the press conference for the Saturday’s EliteXC fight, Arlovski said a victory over Nelson would not ensure a fight with “The Last Emperor.”
“They are talking like the winner of my fight will face Fedor, but I have heard that kind of talk before,” he commented. “I have learned not to believe anything until it happens. So I will wait and see and continue to only focus on Roy.”
In Nelson, he faces a self-described “fat guy” with heavy hands and solid ground and pound. Though Nelson has gained the reputation of a slugger for his recent performances, particularly against Brad Imes in May, he is more than capable of taking an opponent to the mat and grinding him out from the top. In the past, Arlovski has struggled with fighters of similar skill sets. He hopes the short notice won’t affect his peak.
“We will see how it is in the fight,” he said. “But you can’t take (Nelson) lightly. He is a very well rounded and dangerous fighter.”
Nevertheless, the chance to shine on perhaps the biggest viewing platform in MMA was not lost on him.
“Fighting on CBS is a very big opportunity for me and very exciting,” he said. “I promise I will show a great fight.”