Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski received a short-notice call and said yes.
At UFC on ESPN 35, Arlovski (33-20 MMA, 22-14 UFC) will return to the cage as a replacement against Jake Collier (13-6 MMA, 5-5 UFC) after originally slated heavyweight Justin Tafa withdrew from the April 30 event for undisclosed reasons. The card takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and airs on ESPN/ESPN+.
Two people with knowledge of the matchup recently informed MMA Junkie of the booking but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.
Arlovski, 43, is on one of the best stretches of his professional career. On a three-fight winning streak, Arlovski has won five of his most recent six including victories over Jared Vanderaa, Tanner Boser, and Philipe Lins.
Collier, 33, has alternated losses and wins since the start of his UFC tenure. Since he moved to heavyweight in 2020, Collier is 2-2 with wins over Chase Sherman and Gian Villante.
With the addition, the UFC on ESPN 35 lineup includes:
- Rob Font vs. Marlon Vera
- Gina Mazany vs. Shanna Young
- Daniel Silva vs. Francisco Figueiredo
- Cortney Casey vs. Antonina Shevchenko
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake Collier
- Mike Breeden vs. Natan Levy
- Gabe Green vs. Yohan Lainesse
- Carlos Candelario vs. Tatsuro Taira
- Tristan Connelly vs. Darren Elkins
- Krzysztof Jotko vs. Gerald Meerschaert
- Grant Dawson vs. Jared Gordon
- Joanderson Brito vs. Andre Fili