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Andrei Arlovski shares key for staying relevant in the UFC in his 40s

LAS VEGAS – Andrei Arlovski knows his fighting style has changed over the years. He’s no longer the wild “Pit Bull” of his younger days, one who was willing to kill or be killed en route to the UFC heavyweight title.

Nowadays, Arlovski (30-19 MMA, 19-13 UFC) is 41 and he’s more tactical in his fights. He’s also still winning. His unanimous decision victory over Tanner Boser in the UFC on ESPN+ 40 co-main event Saturday at the UFC Apex was his second straight win and his third in his past four, all of which have gone the distance.

Maybe they haven’t been the most thrilling fights, but that means Arlovski’s taken home his win bonus three times at a time most fighters his age are fading. As long as that keeps happening, he’s going to keep sticking with what works.

“Listen, in the heavyweight division, three rounds, you can win with one punch – it’s lights out,” Arlovski said at the post-fight news conference. “I have to be smart. I’m not (a) 20-years-old kid, so I need to use my brains now.”

If anything, that’s the biggest adjustment Arlovski’s made over the years. He’s seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows and some of the latter came when he didn’t stick to what he was supposed to do.

“As a fighter, for my career, my problem was I never stick to my game plan,” Arlovski said. “I was not so nice. Thank God I stick with my game plan (now) and I have a great team and great coaches. I’d say I can do this another three, four, five years.”

That paid off for Arlovski on Saturday against the streaking Boser. Arlovski saw a little bit of his younger self in the up-and-coming Canadian, but he held on for his 19th career UFC win, making him just the eight fighter to reach that mark.

“I looked at him (and) I reminded myself I was the same once – his hair, his highlights, he’s young, hungry, strong, and I knew he was going to step to me and try to knock me out.”

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