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M&F chats with Andrei Arlovski while he trains for his superbout with MMA champ Fedor Emilianenko at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
By Eric Velazquez | Photos by Marshall LaPlante
Two days before Christmas, a small crowd of fans and onlookers are gathered ringside at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. This isn’t exactly a rarity here – fans over the years have flocked to the gym to see guys like Manny Pacquiao, James Toney and Mike Tyson train with owner Freddie Roach. What makes today different is that the man stepping through the ropes for a nine-round sparring session is 6’4″, 245-pound mixed martial artist Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. He’s here for three weeks to sharpen his stand-up game for his January 24 bout against MMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko in Affliction’s Day of Reckoning.
The limbs of the former UFC heavyweight champ are long but well-muscled and striated. He is surprisingly lean for a guy 31 days out from his event. But the athletic Arlovski prides himself on staying in good shape between fights, never taking longer than 2-3 weeks off from his normal three-a-day training schedule.
During today’s sparring session against local fighter Andrae Carthron, Arlovki is landing punches almost at will but his attack is unhurried and deliberate. His compact and fluid style combined with his knack for creating angles makes him move more like a seasoned welterweight, but with the power of a heavyweight.
“He could hurt you with 16-ounce gloves,” says Carthron. “So there’s no telling what he could do to you with 5-ounce gloves.”
But Arlovski knows that it’s going to take more than a few feints and a stiff jab to get past Fedor this Saturday. After his sparring session, we chatted briefly about how he lifts weights, how he feels going into the fight and what a victory would mean for him.
Q: Do you still weight train?
A: Yes. Three times a week, but when I fought Ben Rothwell (July 2008), I trained up until two weeks before the fight and I was kind of tired. I had about three weeks off after Roy Nelson fight (October 2008) – about ten days off – and I’m already three weeks in L.A. And I just run and do sprints for conditioning.
Q: What kind of weight training do you do?
A: After a couple of weeks off following a fight, I’m lifting weights for muscles and for power. Two months before a fight, I start circuits. We have different stations with only 10 seconds of rest between sets.
Q: How long is training camp generally?
A: Usually it’s about 8-10 weeks but for this fight it’s a little bit longer because first of all this is the biggest fight of my career. Fedor he’s a dangerous opponent and we decided on this camp being 12-13 weeks.
Q: How is your weight right now?
A: I’m about 245-246 with about 7.27% bodyfat, as of a few days ago.
Q: What weight will you be on fight night?
A: On fight night, about 236 pounds.
Q: How are you feeling physically at this point?
A: Physically I feel great. Last week I did two days in a row, 9-10 rounds, and I was good. Actually, today I wasn’t happy with my sparring. My trainer says that everyday you can’t be your best and today is not my day, I guess. I train three times a day, and I spar about three times a week.
Q: When is your first workout of the day?
A: I’ll start at 5:30 in the morning with some sprints or running. Maybe in Santa Monica or at UCLA. On a sparring day, I just jog at the park. I also work on my jiu-jitsu and other things. During this time, it’s just about eating, training, sparring and rest.
Q: Who do you think is the better pure athlete between you and Fedor?
A: I can’t tell you the answer to that. But he’s tough. He’s a human and I’m trying and I’ll do everything possible to beat him on January 24.
Q: Does it bother you that Fedor is the favorite heading into this fight??
A: No, not at all. Everybody is “Fedor, Fedor.” He’s a champion and he deserves this. No problem. Everything will change on January 24. He’s a champion and I respect him but on January 24 that changes and I’ll respect him again after that.
SNAPSHOT – ANDREI ARLOVSKI
Nickname: The Pitbull
Weight: 245 pounds; 235 pounds (fight weight)
Record: 14-5, 10 KOs, 3 submissions
Birthdate: February 4, 1979
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birthplace: Minsk, Belarus
>> For more information on Andrei and his training for Affliction’s Day of Reckoning, visit his official website at www.arlovski.com.
>> For ticket info and a look at the complete fight line-up, visit http://www.afflictionclothing.com/dayofreckoning/.