The first quarterfinal fight from the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva, Andrei Arlovski vs. Sergei Kharitonov represents the unheralded but equally important segment of the bracket. Andrei Arlovski enters looking for redemption while Sergei Kharitonov aims to make a mark in the U.S.
How did these guys get here?
It's been a long fall for Andrei Arlovski. Once a UFC heavyweight champion, Arlovski lost twice to Tim Sylvia before rattling off a string of wins and climbing back to #2 in the USA TODAY / SB Nation Consensus Rankings before meeting Fedor Emelianenko. Arlovski handled himself well for the first three minutes of the bout, out-quicking Fedor before an ill advised flying knee was countered with a brutal right hand that left the Belarusian unconscious on the ground. Arlovski's comeback fight from that did not go better as Brett Rogers blitzed him, TKO'ing him in 22 seconds. Andrei lost one his last bout against Antonio Silva by decision and enters Saturday's fight on a three fight losing streak.
Sergei Kharitonov was thought of as a future star when he entered PRIDE with four straight wins, including a KO of Murilo Rua and a TKO of Semmy Schilt. Kharitonov also holds wins over Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum. In recent years he has looked a bit slower and only fought one MMA bout per year over the last three years. Since 2009 he fought in three K-1 kickboxing bouts, going 1-2 in the fights.
The oddsmakers actually favor Kharitonov over Arlovski.