Boxing mentality nearly makes Arlovski a non-factor

Steve Cofield
May 17, 2010

The intimidation factor seems to be gone. Andrei Arlovski is probably a more complete fighter now than he was as UFC heavyweight champ in 2005 but his approach to fighting has made him a guy struggling to stay in the top 20 of big boys across the world. Part of it is the competition gaining, but the biggest factor is the work Arlovski did with guys like Freddie Roach and the rest of the boxing world. Working with boxing trainers certainly has its benefits (Miguel Torres pictured with Manny Steward) but it can also present a mental conundrum once the MMA fighter hits the cage.

Arlovski's hands are better and he does double up on the jab, which almost no one does in MMA. That's all great but he still got outboxed by a guy in Antonio Silva, who not too many considered Arlovski's equal when it comes to striking with the hands. Arlovski simply doesn't let his right hand go the way he used to and his kicking game is almost non-existent. He fights for points not for finishes. It was a little shocking watching Silva stand right in front of him like he was facing Paulie Malignaggi (a super lightweight boxer with a five KOs in 31 fights).

But that's where Arlovski is. Most big heavyweights don't fear the Belarussian anymore.

That doesn't mean Arlovski should be kicked to the curb. He's still a fan favorite and most of us hope he returns to his old trained-killer form but that's looking like more of a longshot each time he steps in the cage. During the Strikeforce press conference, Arlovski struggled to find the reasons he's now lost three straight and has dropped to 15-8. He's conflicted mentally in and out of the cage.