It seems almost crazy to say, but Tim Sylvia-Andrei Arlovski 5 looks to be in the cards
The two former UFC heavyweight champions, arguably each other's biggest rival with no love lost between the two, on Friday fought to a controversial no contest at "ONE FC 5: Pride of a Nation." And now there may be a rematch – what would be their fifth meeting – in the works.
ONE FC 5 took place at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines, with the entire card airing live via online pay-per-view.
Sylvia and Arlovski met on the main card, with Sylvia taking the fourth meeting earlier this month when Arlovski's scheduled opponent, Soa Palelei, dropped out with an injury. And their fight was an entertaining one through two rounds of back and forth striking.
It appeared that the standup battle was fairly even until the third, when Arlovski was able to put together a combination that put Sylvia on his knees. Arlovski immediately moved in looking to finish and landed a pair of soccer kicks, one to Sylvia's head and one coming close.
The strikes themselves were not illegal in ONE FC – provided the referee signals that the fighter is allowed to make an open attack. Because that hadn't happened, the kicks were illegal. Some controversy ensued when it appeared that Sylvia would take five minutes to recover. But when the time was up, the referee brought the two to the middle – where a no contest was ruled.
"I felt I won the first two rounds," Sylvia said after the fight. "He landed a great three-punch combo and dropped me and kicked me a couple times. The referee wanted to stop the fight, I guess. I think we need a rubber match."
Arlovski, clearly upset with the decision, said he was amenable to a fifth meeting, as well.
The two heavyweights first met at UFC 51, where Arlovski won the interim UFC heavyweight title with a 47-second submission. But at UFC 59, Sylvia finished Arlovski with punches just 2:43 into the fight. And at their rematch at UFC 61, Sylvia won a unanimous decision to defend the title.
A fourth meeting had been rumored for a while, with ProElite attempting to put together the fight. But it was ONE FC that was able to match them up on Friday – just with unexpected results. It is not yet known if the promotion will attempt to bring them back together to settle things on a future card.
Arlovski (17-9) had put together a two-fight win streak, both for ProElite, after a four-fight skid, including three straight losses in Strikeforce. Sylvia (31-7), after a flirtation with Strikeforce that didn't pan out, had won seven of eight heading into Friday's bout.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia - no contest (illegal kicks)