Eleven years removed from their first outing, Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell are now scheduled to run it back after all.
First reported by ESPN.com, the pair of Heavyweight veterans are expected to clash on July 20th in San Antonio. Arlovski (27-18) won their first bout, scoring a 3rd round knockout and snapping Rothwell's 13 fight win streak in the process. That victory took place in the ill-fated Affliction, occurring in the midst of a solid spell for 'The Pitbull,' exiting the UFC but remaining in the win column nonetheless. Things soon changed for the former Heavyweight Champion though, then suffering a four fight losing streak before rebuilding on route to an octagon return.
As for Rothwell, he arrived in the UFC just a year after his Arlovski loss, initially struggling but then turning the tide. Since their first meeting, both fighters have experienced contrasting spells of form. Just a few years ago, both men even managed four fight win streaks inside the octagon, climbing the ranks and edging toward potential shots at the gold. Neither got there though, with Rothwell suffering a decision defeat opposite Junior dos Santos before a failed drug test further halted his momentum.
After serving his suspension, Rothwell (36-11) returned, ending a 3 year period of inactivity and controversially being outpointed Blagoy Ivanov. On the other hand, Arlovski has been far more active, admittedly hitting a tough spell of form after that aforementioned resurgence. In January 2016, Arlovski had a title shot within his reach but then suffered a five fight losing streak opposite mostly high profile opposition. He finally ended the streak in November 2018, defeating Junior Albini and then Stefan Struve too.
However, his prior struggles have since continued, going winless in his last four including most recently, a decision defeat against Augusto Sakai. Quite clearly, this is a must-win fight for both men and for Rothwell, it's the chance to erase a prior defeat as well.
UFC on ESPN 4 takes place on July 20th in San Antonio. The event airs on ESPN and also currently features the following fights:
Irene Aldana vs. Raquel Pennington
Walt Harris vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Liz Carmouche vs. Roxanne Modafferi
Alex Caceres vs. Steven Peterson
Klidson Abreu vs. Sam Alvey
Mario Bautista vs. Jin Soo Son
Felipe Colares vs. Domingo Pilarte