Arlovski, Johnson Don’t Need to Hype WSOF 2 Heavyweight Tilt
By Harold E. Kemp
Andrei Arlovski prefers to do his talking in the cage, and that is just fine
with Anthony Johnson.
The heavyweights will headline World Series of Fighting 2 at the Revel
in Atlantic City on March 23, but they’re keeping their prefight banter
“Andrei has been in every battle you can think of, so he has no reason
to talk,” Johnson said at an announcement for the fight during the MMA
World Expo in Manhattan on Saturday. “He’s one of those guys who
will just go in there and fight and just do what he has to do to win. I’m
looking forward to that.”
The 11-fight card will be the sophomore effort for the Las Vegas-based
organization, and the first of a new three-year deal with NBC Sports
Network. The network is seen in about 80 million U.S. homes.
“It’s going to be a great show,” said WSOF President Ray Sefo, a former
champion kickboxer, boxer and MMA fighter. “We’ve got some of the
best fighters in the world, and we’re here to show that World Series of
Fighting is here to stay.”
Johnson and Arlovski each fought on the inaugural WSOF card on
Johnson, 28, said he didn’t appreciate the verbal barbs from then
opponent D.J. Linderman prior to WSOF 1, and used a thunderous right
hand to exact revenge via a first-round KO in that light heavyweight
bout. It was the fourth straight win and 10th knockout of Johnson’s
career, and improved his record to 14-4.
Known as “Rumble,” Johnson began his career at welterweight but has
often struggled to make weight in different divisions. The fight with
Arlovski will mark his heavyweight debut, which he called a one-time
“I was presented with the opportunity to fight Andrei Arlovski and of
course I’m the type of guy to take any fight,” said Johnson, who trains
with the Blackzilians in Florida. “He’s a warrior, and this organization is
doing so many things for the sport. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Arlovski, known as “Pit Bull,” also won at WSOF 1, stopping Devin Cole
with punches in the first round. Arlovski then decisioned Mike Hayes
at Fight Nights in Moscow in December, winning his fifth-straight and
improving his record to 20-9 with 15 knockouts.
The former UFC heavyweight champion has knocked out four of his
last five opponents. Arlovski, 34, said training with Greg Jackson in
Albuquerque, NM, and signing with WSOF has allowed him to rebuild
“I have a lot of goals I have to reach, and Anthony is a tough opponent
for me,” Arlovski said. “This is a very important step for my MMA career.
I’m in my rightful place, and I’m training with the right people and very
In the co-main event, Tyson Nam (12-4) battles Marlon Moraes (9-4) in
a bantamweight fight. Nam has won four straight fights, including three
by knockout. Moraes earned a split decision win against Miguel Torres
at WSOF 1 and is on a three-fight win streak.
“We’re two really feisty, scrappy fighters and we’re going to clash and
clash hard,” Nam said.
David Branch (11-3) returns for another middleweight fight, this time
against former Pride legend Paulo Filho (23-4).
“He’s a legend in the sport, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Branch
said of Filho. ”I used to watch him back in his Pride days, and I just want
him to be the best Paulo Filho when he gets in there.”
In a welterweight bout, Josh Burkman (24-9) takes on Aaron Simpson
(12-4), while lightweights Gesias Cavalcante (16-6) and Justin Gaethje
(7-0) round out the main card.