Marcin Tybura dug deep in the fight of his life to earn the nod against Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 111 on Saturday in Singapore.
It could be the fight that will kickstart the greatest moments of Tybura’s career, while it may signal the end of the line for one of the heavyweight division’s longtime greats.
The fight appeared to be over almost before it started when Tybura caught an Arlovski kick early in the first round and planted the former UFC heavyweight champion on his back. On the canvas, Tybura eventually passed to mount and unleashed a steady diet of hammerfists, punches, and elbows.
As Arlovski alternated between giving up his back and returning Tybura to full mount, the Polish fighter continued to land hammerfists and elbows that bloodied Arlovski around his left eye, but he couldn’t find the finish.
In the final moments of the round, Arlovski somehow found a way out and returned to his feet, immediately swinging with hard wide punches, a couple of which rocked Tybura before the round came to an end.
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Round two was much better for Arlovski, as he did a good job of pressuring Tybura, who appeared tired from his effort in the first frame. Arlovski kept Tybura on the fence for much of the round, making him carry his weight, and hitting him with knees, shoulder punches, and assorted short shots.
Tybura found new life in the final round. It took him most of the first two minutes of the round, but he eventually planted Arlovski on the canvas and kept him there for the remainder of the fight.
Arlovski constantly twisted and turned, again alternating between giving up his back and returning Tybura to full mount, but he staved off a lot of potential damage. He couldn’t, however, escape Tybura’s clutches.
After the clock wound down and the horn sounded, a dejected Arlovski sat on his knees, face bloodied and bruised, a sour look of disappointment spreading across his face. He didn’t say anything after the fight, but on the heels of his fifth consecutive loss, Arlovski at that moment looked as if he may have resigned himself to retirement.
Tybura, at 31, has a lot of life left. Having worked hard to establish himself in the Octagon, a win over Arlovski, especially in the manner he earned it, may just propel Tybura up the heavyweight division.
“I respect this guy so much. He was one of my biggest idols in the sport,” said Tybura after the fight. “I know he’s got a great heart for fighting.”
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