Bet you didn’t see this coming.
Strikeforce announced earlier today that Andrei Arlovski will be taking on Brett Rogers on Strikeforce’s June 6 card.
Undefeated Brett Rogers (9-0) will meet former UFC champion and recent Affliction fighter Andrei Arlovski (15-6) on the night’s main card, which airs live on Showtime.
The bout was officially announced today at a press conference in St. Louis and completes the official lineup for the card.
This comes as quite the surprise considering a) Brett Rogers was heavily rumored to be taking on Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship on this card, and b) Andrei Arlovski was supposed to be making his professional boxing debut on June 27. Evidently, neither of those panned out.
Nevertheless, quite the fun fight to bolster Strikeforce’s second major offering on Showtime. That said, I’m not really sure how compelling the match-up is though. Arlovski doesn’t have the strongest chin in the world, so Rogers certainly has a puncher’s chance, but beyond that, I really don’t see how he wins this one. Rogers may have heavy hands, but if his last fight against Ron Humphrey showed us anything, it showed his striking is rather sloppy. He can get away with that fighting the Thompson’s, Murphy’s and Humphrey’s of the world, but a technically superior striker like Arlovski is going to present him with a ton of problems in the cage.
What’s more intriguing about this, to me at least, is who’s paying Arlovski’s salary and how much is he making? Last October, Affliction loaned Arlovski out to EliteXC, but had to foot the bill for his million dollar paycheck. Are they doing the same again? Atencio has said in the past that the Affliction fighters are exclusive to them in the US, so it seems unlikely that this is a separate deal between Arlovski and Strikeforce. Also, Arlovski only had one fight left on his Affliction deal. Will this fight count as his third making him a free agent, or is this a separate agreement?
And what about Overeem? What happened to him defending his title against Rogers or Werdum? Is this a one fight stint in Strikeforce for Arlovski or could he also be in the title picture?
A lot of questions from one fight booking. Questions we’ll hopefully get answers to soon.
Update: Spoke too soon. The Fight Network already had a few answers to those questions. Apparently, Overeem was indeed going to defend his title against Rogers but suffered a hand injury forcing him out of the fight. Arlovski stepped in, and according to the report, the winner will likely go on to face Overeem for the title later this year.