Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Despite Tim Sylvia fight, ProElite 2's Andreas Kraniotakes gunning for Andrei Arlovski

German heavyweight Andreas Kraniotakes (12-4) meets Tim Sylvia (29-7) in the headliner of Saturday's ProElite 2 event, but he's already looking ahead to a possible next opponent.

And he wants that specific fighter for very personal reasons.

One time in a Chicago airport, Kraniotakes said he met former UFC champ and fellow ProElite 2 competitor Andrei Arlovski. That brief meeting left Kraniotakes fuming.

"We have a little history," Kraniotakes recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I'm sure he doesn't remember. We met once in the airport in Chicago. I approached him and told him how much I admire him as a fighter and that I followed his career and stuff like that. ... He was pretty rude to me, and he looked at me like, 'Yeah, so what?'

"After that happened, I just felt a little feeling inside me growing that I wanted to fight him. That would've been a great opportunity too (for ProElite 2). But it's not over after this fight. It can probably happen in the future too."

But first is Sylvia, who fights near home when the two tangle at iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. Kraniotakes fights in the HDNet-televised headliner as a replacement for injured Pedro Rizzo.

Kraniotakes makes his U.S. debut at the event, though it nearly didn't happen. This past week, the Illinois State Professional Athletic Commission nixed his participation because most of his fights were unsanctioned, though that's the case with most overseas fighters. But officials ultimately reversed the decision the following day, and Kraniotakes vs. Sylvia was back on.

"He's obviously not the UFC champion anymore, but he's still a very dangerous guy," Kraniotakes said of Sylvia. "I'm not overlooking him. There's no way I overlook him.

"It's such a great opportunity. A lot of my fans on Twitter always asked me when I would make my U.S. debut, but I wanted to wait for the right moment. I think this is the right moment. Fighting a former UFC champ and on HDNet and headlining the show? It doesn't get better than this."

Kraniotakes, who's been splitting his training between Victory MMA and Alliance Training Center in San Diego, attempts his fourth straight win and sixth victory in his past seven fights. All of his wins have come via stoppage (eight via knockout and four via submission). A win over Sylvia could make a splash with U.S. promoters and lead to lucrative opportunities.

But win or lose, he wants that fight with Arlovski. He said that even if both of them lose on Saturday, when Arlovski (16-9) takes on MMA ironman and 300-fight veteran Travis Fulton (247-48-10), it's still a fight he wants.

And it all stems from that initial brief meeting.

"He probably didn't know I was a fellow fighter," Kraniotakes said. "So I was disappointed as a fan. Stuff like that happens. Like I said, he probably had a bad day. But I didn't like that, and I didn't appreciate that. I try to be very fan friendly.

"Nevertheless, that feeling inside myself just grew and grew, and it's at a point where I just want to fight him."