A heavyweight fight between Andrei Arlovski (11-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) and Jake O’Brien (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) will not be aired live as part of the UFC 82's pay-per-view broadcast, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned over the weekend.
UFC 82 takes place March 1 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva meets Dan Henderson in the night’s main event.
Arlovski, the UFC’s former heavyweight champion and arguably its biggest star during his reign as a title-holder, is currently on the last fight of his UFC contract, which expires April 15. Rather than sign an extension, he will finish out his contract and then shop the free agent market. Although they haven’t ruled out a return to the UFC, Arlovski and his management team could likely command big money from other organizations such as EliteXC, M-1 Global and HDNet Fights.
So, is his spot on the preliminary card punishment for Arlovski’s decision not to re-sign with the organization? Only the UFC knows for sure. However, keep in mind that Arlovski hasn’t been in an un-televised fight since UFC 40 — which was five years and nine fights ago.
UFC 82 contains a number of main-card-worthy fighters. In addition to Arlovski, “The Ultimate Fighter 1? stand-out Josh Koscheck will also be stuck on UFC 82's un-televised preliminary card. Koscheck meets Ohio fighter Dustin Hazelett at the event. (With Arlovski and Koscheck relegated to the preliminary card, a fight between Diego Sanchez and David Bielkheden has been placed on the televised main card.)
The full card now includes:
- Champ Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson (for middleweight title)
- Heath Herring vs. Cheick Kongo
- Yushin Okami vs. Evan Tanner
- Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson
- David Bielkheden vs. Diego Sanchez
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien
- Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fioravanti
- Dustin Hazelett vs. Josh Koscheck
- Jorge Gurgel vs. John Halverson
- Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara
For the latest UFC 82 news, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
(Update: UFC.com has confirmed that the Arlovski-O’Brien bout will take place on the un-televised preliminary card.)