Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to its APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the UFC Vegas 53 mixed martial arts (MMA) event TONIGHT (Sat., April 30, 2022), streaming LIVE on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+, topped by the 135-pound showdown pitting No. 5-ranked bantamweight contender, Rob Font, opposite long-time division veteran and No. 8-seeded title hopeful, Marlon Vera. Before that five-round war of attrition gets underway, former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, trades leather with hot-and-cold 265-pound bruiser, Jake Collier, in UFC Vegas 53’s co-main event. Familiar faces like Jared Gordon, Darren Elkins and Gerald Meerschaert will also see caged action tonight in “Sin City.”
I really admire Arlovski’s late career resurgence. That’s not to say it’s fun to watch — no, Arlovski fights post-2019 are consistently agonizing viewing — but Arlovski deserves credit for continually decisioning all these would-be up-and-comers. At 43 years of age, Arlovski just keeps on keeping on, out-hustling younger fighters and minimizing the damage absorbed. Collier is looking to pass the Arlovski test and not end up on the wrong end of a dull decision. “The Prototype” is 2-2 since relocating to Heavyweight (read: gaining a bunch of weight), and we’re still figuring out just how high his ceiling stands.
LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 53 On ESPN+
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., April 30, 2022, with a thrilling Bantamweight contenders’ bout that will see No. 5-ranked Rob Font take on No. 8-seeded Marlon Vera. UFC Vegas 53’s co-main event will see former UFC Heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, go for his fourth consecutive win when he locks horns with Jake Collier.
Record: 33-20 (2)
Key Wins: Fabricio Werdum (UFC 70), Travis Browne (UFC 187), Ben Rothwell (UFC on ESPN 4), Frank Mir (UFC 191), Antonio Silva (UFC Fight Night 51)
Key Losses: Stipe Miocic (UFC 195), Alistair Overeem (UFC Fight Night 87), Francis Ngannou (UFC on FOX 23), Marcin Tybura (UFC Fight Night 111), Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UFC 244)
Keys to Victory: No quick list of fights can hope to sum up Arlovski’s 23-year professional career. He’s been doing this forever, but lately, Arlovski has settled into a nice rhythm in his performances. He sticks some jabs, lands counters, flurries occasionally and is active with kicks from the outside. Against opponents who hunt for the knockout and peter out late in fights, this is often more than enough for the victory.
Arlovski now holds the most decisions in UFC Heavyweight history, and ain’t nobody touching that record.
I’ll be honest, Collier seems like the perfect opponent for another Arlovski decision win. I remain skeptical of Collier at Heavyweight, because he’s carrying a lot of unnecessary weight and has yet to beat anyone of note in that division (sorry Chase Sherman). Arlovski has turned away several opponents like him in the last two years, and he’s looking really consistent.
Ultimately, the key here is to avoid getting blitzed early. Collier is surprisingly fast, and he’s a natural finisher. So long as Arlovski can draw this one out and get his range kickboxing flowing, he’s likely to pull ahead on points over time.
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