Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski is now 43 years old and is entering his 54th professional MMA fight. The former heavyweight champion is currently on a three-fight win streak, all three of which have come via decision. Jake “The Prototype” Collier, a former middleweight, has had four heavyweight fights. In those fights, Collier is 2-2 with both wins coming via decision.
Arlovski is currently sitting as the favorite over Collier before UFC on
- Arlovski: -145
- Collier: +115
At this point in his illustrious career, Arlovski is in a unique place in the UFC. He is not on a title track and he may never be ranked again, but, he is far from over the hill and is still given valuable fight slots. This is because Arlovski, now, is the ultimate litmus test for unranked heavyweights. Because of his credentials, experience, and complete skillset, Arlovski is a unique challenge that many fighters need to overcome if they have intentions of facing a ranked opponent. “Pit Bull” is a stylistic enigma for the traditional heavyweight power puncher. Arlovski moves well on the feet, lands leg kicks effectively, and fights behind an intelligent jab. He is difficult to hit cleanly because his range control is sound and his movement fluid. Then, when he strikes, while the former champion no longer holds heavy power, he tends to throw the right strike, at the right time, and land it in the right spot. His fight style, one based on volume, forces fighters who are often used to first-round finishes to fight into deep waters. 8 of his last 10 fights have gone to decision. The way to beat Arlovski is to be the faster, more powerful, or more varied fighter. If an opponent cannot execute in one of those areas, Arlovski often wins a decision.
Collier has had mixed success since moving to heavyweight. Being a natural middleweight, Collier’s frame is often smaller than his opponent’s; yet, he often weighs in around 260 pounds. Unlike many other fighters who tip the scales at that weight, Collier has reliable cardio and output. He tends to strike with volume and increase that volume as the fight progresses. He leans more toward a traditional boxing approach but does mix in a solid leg kick from range. Typically, Collier will plot laterally on the outside, landing a jab and a leg kick, then, he’ll blitz in with a flurry of strikes. Unlike a combination, which is often setup based on feints and reads, Collier’s flurry is more spastic. This often means he swings and misses while blitzing. Once the blitz attack is finished, Collier will look to break back to the outside and continue the same game plan. Because he does not have traditional heavyweight power or a chin that can withstand said power, Collier’s blitz strategy is designed to help him land several shots and exit quickly before he is clipped cleanly. If he is caught in the pocket, Collier will look to clinch up and grapple to avoid a firefight.
Said simply, I don’t think Collier has the experience or skillset to match Arlovski on the feet. His only 2 heavyweight wins, Sherman and Villante, are fighters who, until recently, were removed from the UFC. Outside of experience, Collier’s preferred fight, a volume-heavy kickboxing match is Arlovski’s specialty. I see Collier trying to blitz attack but Arlovski countering cleanly, then, at range, Arlovski landing the more damaging shots.
Prediction: Arlovski by decision
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.