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Reasons to watch Fight Night Rotterdam Sunday

Andrei Arlovski (25-11-0, 1 NC) and Alistair Overeem (40-14-0, 1NC) both remain in the mix for a title shot in the heavyweight division at 37- and 35-years-old, respectively.

But title dreams weren’t always so reasonable for the two MMA legends.

Arlovski dropped four in a row spanning from 2009 to 2011. Most wrote the former UFC champion off, but “The Pit Bull” had other ideas. Since then he has gone 10-2 and just recently had a six-fight win streak snapped by Stipe Miocic, who will fight for the title on May 14 at UFC 198.

Overeem was knocked out three times in a little over a year back in 2013, bookended by a disappointing first-round KO against Ben Rothwell. Overeem was also cast aside as a former champion past his prime. But “The Reem” responded in a big way with three straight wins, including two knockouts against former champion Junior Dos Santos and Stefan Struve.
 


Back at the top of the sport in arguably its most popular division, Overeem and Arlovksi, now teammates at Jackson/Winklejohn in Albuquerque, New Mexico, do battle in Rotterdam to keep their names in the hat for one of the next few title shots.

Overeem vs. Arlovski is almost a guaranteed slam dunk main event with loads of high octane action. Arlovski has the second-most finishes (11) in heavyweight history behind Frank Mir, while Overeem has the highest striking accuracy in UFC history (74.5 percent) by a wide margin.

The five-round main event between Arlovski and Overeem is the No. 1 reasons to watch Fight Night Rotterdam.

Rest of the main card

Albert Tumenov (17-2) is tied with Robbie Lawler for the second-longest active win streak in the welterweight division. The Russian has finished three of those five wins and has been victorious in 13 of his 14 fights.

After earning a hard-fought decision win against Lorenz Larkin last time out in a great fight, Tumenov asked for a top 15 opponent. He didn’t get one in currently unranked Gunnar Nelson (14-2-1), but the former top 15 welterweight will surely be a tough test.

Fight Night Rotterdam prefight videos to watch: Overeem vs Arlovski Unstoppable preview | Must-see KO: Struve takes down Morecraft | Free fight: Arlovski vs Ian Freeman | Free fight: Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar | Great submission! Nelson chokes out Thatch

Nelson has dropped two of his last three, but the Icelandic submission ace has been on the rise since debuting in the UFC. He’ll look to get back on track against Tumenov and derail his rising star in the process.

Opening up the main card, strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz (8-0) makes her second UFC appearance against The Ultimate Fighter: Season 20 veteran Heather Jo Clark (7-4).

Kowalkiewicz jumped right into the deep end of the pool in her debut, taking out Randa Markos by unanimous decision in a fight she dominated for the most part. The Poland native is good in every area of MMA and she should put on another spectacular performance as she continues to chase the title her compatriot Joanna Jedrzejczyk currently holds.

In the co-main event, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (19-8) takes on Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (30-8) in a very important heavyweight clash for both big men. The winner can make an argument for the Top 10 of the rankings and the loser is likely headed out of the Top 15 altogether.

FS1 prelims

Chris Wade (11-1) has never tasted defeat in the UFC in four appearances. He takes on lightweight veteran Rustam Khabilov (18-3) in his toughest test to date as he looks to continue his trek into the rankings at 155 pounds.

Khabilov is a wrestler and will go strength-for-strength with Wade, who is one of the best wrestlers in his division. Wade has been outspoken about his abilities and feels he’s a tough fight for anyone at 155 pounds.

UFC FIGHT PASS prelims

Former title challenger at 125 pounds, Kyoji Horiguchi (16-2), is back in action in the main event of the FIGHT PASS prelims against Neil Seery (16-11).

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No. 5-ranked Horiguchi is coming off a win against Chico Camus and has refocused after losing to champion Demetrious Johnson. Seery is coming off a win of his own – a submission against Jon Delos Reyes, which earned the Irishman a performance of the night bonus.

Don’t miss Fight Night Rotterdam on FS1 beginning at 12 pm/9 am ETPT on Sunday.

Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC

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