There are certain fighters that transcend the structured world of Martial Arts, and I consider Andrei Arlovski one of them. Arlovski began his career through Belarusian Sambo courses required for Police training. Arlovski showed a clear aptitude for Sambo and continued on, then adding kickboxing to his arsenal. Most of his career has been as a mixed martial artist, but Arlovski has worked in boxing as well and was set to make his K-1 debut in 2010 as a wild card in the Final 16 before an injury sidelined him at the last moment. He takes on Sergei Kharitonov, a fellow MMA fighter who kickboxes as well, having a mildly successful K-1 run. The two men clashing will be a stand up war and as a kickboxing fan, I can say it is one of the fights to watch in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Arlovski is of course a former UFC Heavyweight Champion with a highlight reel of knockouts. His Affliction run was pounding out chubby guys before one chubby guy, Fedor Emelianenko hit him so hard that the will to live almost left Arlovski. Arlovski has not seen a victory since that day, losing to Brett Rogers and Antonio Silva in Strikeforce. To say there is a certain level of revenge and redemption that Arlovski can look forward to in this tournament is an understatement.
Watch Arlovski talk during the Strikeforce photo shoot about the tournament, his hopes and dreams and smashing. He has come a long way from; "I have very strong arm, can smash." We still love him for that line, though... Video after the break (it auto-plays, bad Strikeforce).
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His second novel, Terminus Cycle, is available now via Kindle and Paperback.