By Josh Stein on May 22, 2009
I have a hard time seeing how Brett Rogers is going to get his hand raised at the end of his upcoming bout with Andrei Arlovski.
Andrei is a better striker, it’s that simple. Rogers really doesn’t have that extensive an arsenal of strikes. Rogers is all about throwing hands and working the dirty boxing, and Arlovski is a solid boxer who knows how to control the distance and move his head. Of course, Rogers is bigger than Andrei, but not much, and I don’t think he’s going to have the edge in explosiveness or power.
But let’s not sound defeatist. After all, Arlovski is a definite top five fighter and if Rogers managed to beat Andrei (especially, in fact, if he manages to knock Andrei out) he could find himself in the middle of the top ten. This is MMA, anything can happen.
Still, I think it likely that Rogers is going to lose and, if he does, a good portion of his future will depend on how that first loss comes, how he performs against the first truly elite fighter that has ever stepped in with him.
If Rogers is devastated by Arlovski, if he is knocked out in round one and looks decisively outclassed by the Belarussian Badass, then it’s not going to do much for him. After all, that’s what people expect to happen. He’s an up-and-comer taking an experienced, dangerous veteran with a high personal stock right now.
On the other hand, if Brett takes this fight deep and pushes Arlovski, he could definitely help create some substantial recognition for himself. I don’t think that the fight will go to the judges, but if it does it will be in a hard fought war. If Rogers’ chin holds up under punishment for Arlovski and he’s able to give punishment back, showing the ability to hit Arlovski (no small task), then he could put himself in a very interesting position.
Of course, Ben Rothwell gave Andrei a lot of issues, so people might be inclined to write Rogers off if he falls apart towards the end, but it would certainly legitimize Brett for people to see that he’s more than just a brawler who hits hard enough to put down relatively untechnical competition. It’s an opportunity for Rogers to go deep into a fight with a solid opponent who is a reputable finisher (Arlovski has only won a lone decision, that terrible fight against Fabricio Werdum).
Like any bout where an unknown fighter steps in with one of the top tier warriors, this is a fight where Rogers really has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He’s going to be a massive underdog, that’s the way of the world, but the upside of being the underdog is that if you win, people will talk about it for a long time, largely out of shock (see Serra vs. St. Pierre, Lauzon vs. Pulver, Gonzaga vs. CroCop, etc.) and it seriously boosts the individual rankings.
Matt Serra has a career record of 2-2 in the UFC welterweight division, but is still often ranked a top ten fighter. Why? Because the memory of that win over one of the best 170 pounders in the world (if not the best) is seared into every fan’s memory and ends up in every conversation Serra appears in. Rogers could do the same, only with serious legitimacy, as he has no losses on which his career can be judged (which is more than can be said for Serra). Still, the name value of an upset or even a close loss to a great fighter like Arlovski could do a lot to legitimize Rogers, and it should be a fantastic fight.
Filed Under: MMA
About the Author: Joshua Stein is a writer and editor for MMA Opinion. He has worked as a photographer and journalist and has a number of print journalism credits. He also works as a moderator for MMAForum.com and a grappling columnist (covering judo, collegiate wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling) for profighting-fans.com.