Pressure's on Pitbull to win

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

The last time Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski was under the glare of the bright lights, he ended up on the wrong end of a highlight reel.

Now, the former UFC heavyweight champ knows back-to-back losses will mean fighting smaller names and cashing smaller paycheques.

"There's pressure to win because I lost my last fight," says Arlovski, who is coming off a devastating knockout loss to Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.

Arlovski will take on undefeated Brett "The Grim" Rogers June 6 as part of Strikeforce's show in St. Louis.

The former Belarussian policeman has been training with famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach and expects a standup battle against Rogers, who has won eight of his nine fights via knockout.

"He's obviously a very good striker, so I think this is going to be an interesting fight for the fans," says the 15-6 Arlovski. "He likes to strike, I like to box.''

Arlovski, usually the bigger man, will give up both weight and height to the 6-foot-5, 265-lb. Rogers.

The ground is one place Arlovski has the advantage.

"If it goes to the ground, I have a chance to do something with my fists," he says.

Rogers -- originally in training to take on Dutch powerhouse Alistair Overeem -- is intent on keeping the fight standing.

"With Overeem, we might have ended up on the ground and did all that up-and-down stuff," says Rogers.

"With Arlovski, he likes to stand and bang and I like to do that too. This is going to make for a better fight."

The Minneapolis native admits Arlovski is the most decorated fighter he's faced.

"This is definitely going to be a step up in class," says Rogers. "He has plenty of experience. Those are the type of fighters I'm trying to fight from here on out. For me, now, it's about building respect. I feel like I don't have it."

The confident Rogers says he knows exactly what he needs to do June 6.

"I'll knock Arlovski out and hopefully move on to somebody better," he says. "I'm trying to get into that top-10 ranking."

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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