After pulling out of UFC Fight Night 76, #3 ranked heavyweight Stipe Miocic has been booked to a fight with Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 on January 2nd, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Miocic was supposed to face Ben Rothwell last weekend in Dublin but withdrew from the event with an undisclosed injury. A week later, he has been booked to fight the UFC’s 4th ranked heavyweight in a bout that has title implications written all over it.
The UFC confirmed the bout on Wednesday after it was previously reported by the L.A. Times. Miocic-Arlovski thus becomes the co-main event of UFC 195, which will be headlined by the welterweight title bout between champion Robbie Lawler and challenger Carlos Condit.
Miocic has won four of his last five UFC bouts and is coming off a one-sided 5th round TKO victory over former title challenger Mark Hunt last May. Miocic’s only loss since 2012 has been a competitive 5-round unanimous decision defeat to former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos in December of 2014.
A Second Shot
On the other hand, the 36-year old Arlovski has found a second lease of life following a six fight winning streak that has vaulted him back to the top of the UFC rankings. Given up for dead after four consecutive losses from 2008-2011, the former UFC heavyweight champion has won 10 of his last 12 bouts with his only loss a controversial one to Anthony Johnson at WSOF 2 in 2013. Arlovski is 4-0 in his second stint with the UFC and has posted victories over Brandon Schaub, Antonio Silva, Travis Browne and recently Frank Mir.
Who Takes This?
Miocic opened as a -265 favorite over Arlovski when the betting lines opened. Arlovski isn’t too much of an underdog though at +185. Miocic’s last defeat came at the hands of a supreme striker/boxer in Junior Dos Santos and Arlovski has the same set of skills on his feet. Arlovski showed that with his KO wins over Travis Browne and Big Foot Silva but he also struggled with a good wrestler like Frank Mir during his last outing. But Miocic has the better overall skills and is more well-rounded at this point of their careers. Miocic is clearly in his peak but with the UFC landscape changing, Arlovski has a shot at winning this, especially with the kind of power he carries along.