Andrei Arlovski’s resurgence a decade after standing as the Ultimate Fighting Champion’s heavyweight champion will continue Jan. 2 with a co-main-event date against Stipe Miocic at UFC 195 in Las Vegas.
Arlovski, 36, defeated former champion Frank Mir by unanimous decision on Sept. 5 to claim his fourth consecutive victory following first-round knockouts of Travis Browne and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and a decision over Brendan Schaub.
The UFC has its 2005 champion Arlovski (25-10) ranked No. 4 in the heavyweight division, behind third-ranked Miocic (13-2), who defeated Mark Hunt by fifth-round stoppage on May 9.
Miocic, 33, also boasts victories over former title contender Gabriel Gonzaga and Roy Nelson.
The main event of UFC 195 is the welterweight title fight between champion Robbie Lawler and contender Carlos Condit, who’s getting his second title shot.
Arlovski-Miocic will have “major implications” for the winner’s pursuit of a heavyweight title.
Champion Fabricio Werdum is scheduled to defend his belt in a March rematch against the former champion he defeated June 13, Cain Velasquez.
Velasquez could emerge as the betting favorite in the bout after gassing out in the high altitude of Mexico City in the first meeting with Werdum.
Since Velasquez has already fought second-ranked heavyweight Junior Dos Santos three times, the Arlovski-Miocic winner would likely stand as the more favorable selection for the title shot.