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wandshogun09

UFC 191: Johnson vs Dodson 2

Who wins and how?  

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He'll be far too slow for 145, Ross Pearson was as well, cutting weight might make you stronger but your opponents are usually much faster. he's one of those guys like Matt Serra and Nate Diaz that would have benefited from a weight class in between 155 & 170.

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For anyone who didn't see it at the time, the UFC have put the full first Johnson vs Dodson fight on YouTube;

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=dcBAlxLP-BU

 

Fucking great fight it was as well. It doesn't get mentioned much, I'm guessing because a lot of people aren't that interested in Mighty Mouse, but it really was a brilliant fight, I thought.

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This is a longish read but a good one.

 

UFC.com: The Decade-Long Road To Arlovski-Mir;

 

I talked to Frank Mir at length about Andrei Arlovski. In 2005.

 

At the time, Mir didn’t have a fight scheduled, and frankly, he was M.I.A. from the MMA world as he recovered from the motorcycle accident that threatened his life and took his UFC heavyweight title.

 

The man now holding the belt Mir never lost in the Octagon was Belarus native Arlovski, who shook off a 1-2 start to his UFC career to become perhaps the most complete heavyweight fighter in the sport. He was a fearsome and dangerous force whose six-fight winning streak included three wins in UFC title fights that lasted a combined five minutes and 12 seconds, and the only one expected to have a chance against “The Pit Bull” was Mir.

 

It was a SuperFight in a sport just starting to gain traction as a major player on the United States scene, only months removed from the epic Ultimate Fighter season one finale bout between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar. And everyone loves heavyweights, so what better way to showcase MMA to the masses than with a fight between an Eastern European Terror against the Cerebral Assassin from the United States.

 

And all marketing aside, from a mere stylistic point of view, this was THE fight to be made in 2006. Mir looked at submissions like a prime Mike Tyson looked at knockouts, and Arlovski had shown the ability to knock out or tap out opponents with frightening ease, depending on what mood he was in. Both also showed just the right bit of vulnerability, meaning that this fight wasn’t going to go five rounds, but it was going to be oh so good as long as it lasted.

 

Today, Arlovski admits that the prospect of fighting Mir back then was a scary one, but when you’re feeling as invincible as he did during his title reign, he would have faced half of the top ten in one night if asked. As for Mir, despite his injury, when I tracked him down in November of 2005 (with a little help from UFC President Dana White), he was ready for Arlovski, whether it was next, or a little bit further down the line.

 

“It depends on talking to the UFC and seeing what’s best for everybody. If it’s better for the fans to have a build-up, it works for me. If it’s better just to jump right in there, in one aspect I’m like, ‘jeez, I’m not gonna waste three months of my time training and a payday on that guy. I want to fight Andrei Arlovski.’ That would get me out of bed. He’s an exciting fighter – I want to fight him.”

 

Of course, as one of the most analytical fighters in the sport – then and now – Mir had an interesting breakdown of his prospective foe and his peers, and it had nothing to do with the technique of “The Pit Bull.” In fact, Mir was very complimentary of Arlovski’s skill set. But what he saw then was someone who might have been getting enticed by the glory and cheers that come along with knockout after knockout.

 

“I see a really good athlete,” Mir said of Arlovski. “The only advantage I have over Andrei Arlovski that I see distinctively is a mental edge that I don’t care how I win the fight. I don’t necessarily know if he feels the same way. I think sometimes a lot of young fighters get stuck in that thing where they say ‘I want to be considered a stand-up guy, so I’ll knock you out,” or ‘I want to be considered a submission artist so I have to get the armbar or the choke,’ or ‘I have to get the ground and pound and show that I’m a superior takedown artist.’ I don’t care. I’ve heard fighters go, ‘well, I got knocked out, but I stood here and I took it.’ I would look over at my wife, look at the ring and I’m like ‘did that guy just say that he lost, but he lost like a man?’ What the hell does that mean? I don’t understand that because it’s all warfare, and I just want to win. I’m not gonna go outside the rules; I’m still gonna be an honorable human being and say ‘these are the ground rules we settled upon.’ Anything within those ground rules, I’m gonna use. I’m not gonna go ahead and prove a point in the face of defeat, because all people remember a week later is, ‘man, did you get knocked out heroically.’ I remember when I knocked out Wes Sims, everybody was like ‘well, you couldn’t submit him.’ I really didn’t care. I was more like, ‘damn, I can’t submit this guy.’ I went after him with whatever I thought was best, I was in the middle of the ring, I looked up at the clock and said, ‘I’d better adapt. I can’t beat this guy this way.’

 

“So sometimes I look at Andrei Arlovski right now, and just because of his ability to submit people, the fact that he’s trying to go out there and knock everybody out, it’s a good thing and a bad thing,” he continued. “He’s getting knockouts, so it’s a crowd-pleasing thing – everybody wants to see the knockouts. So if he’s going in the ring trying to win by a certain angle and I’m fighting him and I’m just trying to win at all costs, that’s a disadvantage to him.”

 

Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski were both 26 years old and the two best heavyweights in the UFC. But the SuperFight didn’t happen.

 

Arlovski, still playing the role of gunslinger, lost his rematch to Tim Sylvia in April of 2006. When they met again three months later, the Belarusian lost a lackluster five round decision. After three more bouts, he was out of the UFC.

 

Mir had an even rougher time. His comeback fight against Marcio Cruz at UFC 57 in February of 2006 was a disaster, the Las Vegan getting bloodied and stopped in the first round. He got back in the win column in July of that year with a pedestrian win over Dan Christison, but a knockout loss to Brandon Vera four months later appeared to end any hopes of Mir getting back into championship form.

 

It’s the essence of the fight game, more brutal than any left hook or armbar. All it takes is a loss or two, and you’re written off, forced to either leave or start over.

 

Arlovski’s separation with the UFC wasn’t a devastating blow to his career at the time. He was still marketable after leaving the promotion with three wins, and the only blemishes on his record in the previous four years were to Sylvia. So he got big fights and won them, knocking out Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson in 2008. But then the roof caved in when he lost four straight to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Sergei Kharitonov.

 

By 2011, he was a cautionary tale. In that same year, Mir won two fights over Nelson and Minotauro Nogueira which kept him in the heat of a title picture he had remarkably returned to. It was a long road for Mir, but he regained his UFC title (at least the interim version of it), engaged in a heated two-fight series with Brock Lesnar, and re-established himself as an elite heavyweight.

 

There would be no more talk of Arlovski vs. Mir, at least not for a while.

 

As the fight world turned, a spin that takes place even faster in a heavyweight division where one punch from a gloved fist owned by a 250-pound man, Arlovski soon found his mojo again while working with Greg Jackson’s MMA squad in Albuquerque, and Mir hit the wall in 2014 after four consecutive losses.

 

And that’s when the Heavyweight SuperFight of 2006 started to become a reality again. With the dawn of 2015, Arlovski was back in the UFC and unbeaten in two fights over Brendan Scaub and Silva. Mir returned from a self-imposed sabbatical in February with a first-round knockout of Bigfoot. Whispers turned to shouts when Arlovski dispatched Travis Browne in May, and Mir did the same to Todd Duffee in July. And though some campaigned for an Arlovski vs. Werdum rematch for the title, when it was announced that the new champion would face Cain Velasquez a second time, the door was finally open.

 

On September 5, 2015, we get the fight we always wanted in the co-main event of UFC 191. Yes, it’s ten years later, but if you talk to Arlovski and Mir, they believe that while they’re older, they’re also wiser. And better.

 

“When I prove them wrong, I love it,” Arlovski told me in a recent interview for UFC magazine. “It’s the best feeling. I took a lesson from those losses and from my lifestyle ten years ago, and everything happens for a reason. I feel like I have that fire in my eyes. I have great trainers, great teammates, and great people in my camp.”

 

Mir, also in conversation for UFC magazine, believes that if not for the accident that stalled his career, we wouldn’t still be talking about him in 2015.

 

““I'm so glad that hardship happened because I don't think I was mentally that tough at that time,” he said of the motorcycle accident and its aftermath. “I was nowhere near as tough as I am now. I thought ‘These things are bad, but I have to move forward. I have to find a way. This sucks and this is awful, but I can't stop moving.’ That's what that era really bestowed upon me.”

 

Now, one generation later, they meet. It’s not for a title – either an official one of UFC heavyweight champion or an unofficial crown of baddest man on the planet – but it’s still important, whether it’s for legacy, a move closer to regaining the title, bragging rights, or just because of something actor Mickey Rourke once told Arlovski.

 

“I remember Mickey Rourke told me two things,” Arlovski said. “He said ‘Everybody likes a comeback story’ and ‘I don’t believe in luck; I believe in hard work.’”

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That article is good, but it overstates how anticipated Arlovski vs Mir was in 2005.  I get the article is using a bit of artistic license to sell the upcoming fight, but deeming their previous potential encounter as a "superfight" is pushing it. At the time, the UFC's Heavyweight division had little credibility, and the focus was on Pride's Heavyweight class. 

 

From what I recall, people admired Arlovski's speed and footwork, but questioned his chin. His talent was obvious, but it was without legitimate confirmation. His opponents were also pretty dire (Eilers, Fat Sylvia and Buentello). Most pondered whether Mir would even fight again in 2005, and when his initial comeback flopped, some were not surprised (I was for the record). By late 2005, there was more speculation and discussion about Arlovski jumping to Pride (Arlovski teased the move in an interview, which in retrospect, was probably grandstanding)

 

I have to give the UFC credit for conceding that Arlovski had value outside the UFC. The landscape in 2008 meant that Arlovski could find decent work in a variety of promotions (it was the "money mark era") I recall Dana admitting that they handled Arlovski's departure all wrong. 

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I recall Dana admitting that they handled Arlovski's departure all wrong.

Yeah, here's an old Dana quote on that;

 

"In nine years, there's only one fighter that I've lost that I didn't want to lose. That was Arlovski, and it still bothers me.

 

I jumped on a plane and flew to Chicago with Lorenzo and kissed his butt to try to make him not leave. He wanted to box on HBO. He had a lot of different things that he wanted to do that I couldn't let him do."

Arlovski vs Mir definitely wasn't a 'superfight'. And I think the article has the timeline a bit off as well actually. By 2006, Mir was already back and looking shit. Nobody, from what I remember, was clamouring for him to fight Arlovski by that point. I think it was a fight people wanted to see in 2004 after Mir beat Sylvia. At that point, Mir vs Arlovski was the obvious fight to make. But then Mir had his crash. It was never a must-see superfight though. I don't remember there being some massive buzz about the possibility of it happening. It was just the best fight in a really shallow division at the time.

 

The 'superfights' in 2004-2006 were pretty much all UFC vs Pride dream matchups. Chuck vs Wanderlei was the big one back then. That was the one everyone was on about and debating on forums and stuff. The Fedor vs Randy talk didn't start until 2007 after Randy beat Sylvia. Chuck vs Wanderlei was THE fight everyone was itching to see back then.

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I sometimes wonder what happened with Arlovski's boxing venture. He teamed up with Freddie Roach, he was popular, there was HBO interest. Why didn't it happen? i can only assume that the training didn't go well.

 

As for Arlovksi's UFC prime, during that period where he was just killing everyone, i genuinely thought he was one of the baddest men on the planet, i can't recall every really dissing Arlovski's level of opposition, i just know it was a lot of fun watching him smash people. For me he had that Mike Tyson thing going on at that time where i was watching just to see him kill people.

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I sometimes wonder what happened with Arlovski's boxing venture. He teamed up with Freddie Roach, he was popular, there was HBO interest. Why didn't it happen? i can only assume that the training didn't go well.

 

He probably got caught on the chin in sparring. If Arlovski gets caught he usually crumbles. Imagine what would happen against a really skilled puncher?

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yeh, that's what i always thought may have happened, i can't recal reading any reports though.

 

Arlovski's chin appears to have improved in recent years though which is just weird, he's defying science that lad.

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The weird thing about Arlovski's chin is it seems to hold up better since Rumble broke his jaw. How does that work? He was getting one shot KO'd for years. It wasn't like his chin got worse with time like Chuck Liddell, he was always seemed more vulnerable to the KO than most heavyweights. Even as a young fighter early in his UFC run he was stopped by Pedro Rizzo and Ricco Rodriguez. He never had the best chin. But some of the bombs he took off Rumble were frightening, and he came back from being knocked down to finish Travis Browne. Either his chin is getting better or he just flat out refuses to be knocked out by woman batterers.

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Arlovski vs Mir definitely wasn't a 'superfight'. And I think the article has the timeline a bit off as well actually. By 2006, Mir was already back and looking shit. Nobody, from what I remember, was clamouring for him to fight Arlovski by that point. I think it was a fight people wanted to see in 2004 after Mir beat Sylvia. At that point, Mir vs Arlovski was the obvious fight to make. But then Mir had his crash. It was never a must-see superfight though. I don't remember there being some massive buzz about the possibility of it happening. It was just the best fight in a really shallow division at the time.

 

Indeed.

 

When Mir announced his comeback at UFC 56 (November 2005), there was a bit of buzz around it.  That lasted for about 3 months, and ended abruptly when Pe De Pano butchered Mir at UFC 57 (February 2006).Sylvia was crowned number 1 contender in January 2006, in the infamous "crap your pants" slugfest.

 

In late 2004, I think Mir vs Arlvoski was meant to happen in Japan. After Mir got injured, Dana went on air at UFC 50 (I think), and said the promotion would not be going to Japan at the tail-end of 2004, as they could not deliver a decent "Heavyweight fight" (I am not making this up, Dana more or less admitted on air in 2004 that his Heavyweight division was sub-par). 

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The weird thing about Arlovski's chin is it seems to hold up better since Rumble broke his jaw. How does that work? He was getting one shot KO'd for years. It wasn't like his chin got worse with time like Chuck Liddell, he was always seemed more vulnerable to the KO than most heavyweights. Even as a young fighter early in his UFC run he was stopped by Pedro Rizzo and Ricco Rodriguez. He never had the best chin. But some of the bombs he took off Rumble were frightening, and he came back from being knocked down to finish Travis Browne. Either his chin is getting better or he just flat out refuses to be knocked out by woman batterers.

 

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing it's to do with how flush he's being hit. In my opinion his head movement and ability to avoid punches is much better now than it's been, which may play a part. 

 

As you say, a guys chin doesn't suddenly become stronger.

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Not even sure if it's down to head movement, Arlovski has slowed down and probably ships more punishment now that he ever did, it's probably just a case of him not getting hit with the right shots. When he was KO'd it was usually from a hellacious kind of punch. He's always been KO'd by notoriously heavy handed punchers too.

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This has turned into quite the little card hasn't it? Maybe I'm the only one who still looks forward to watching Manuwa fight especially in such a position a win (unlikely) here could propel him right up into the mix. He's got the power in his locker to do it to so can't completely count him out.
 

Interesting how this will do buys wise.

 

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