The winner of this middleweight scrap will move one step closer to a title shot and establish who the better NCAA Division I wrestler-turned-mixed martial artist is.
On Nov. 20, 2011, Munoz had to face his good friend and fellow NCAA Division I standout Aaron Simpson at UFC 123. "The Philippine Wrecking Machine" tells Pro MMA Radio that the experience of fighting a friend will help him take care of business tonight.
"It's kind of different because I've known Aaron for quite some time and C.B. I just know him through Aaron. We're definitely friends, but not on the level as Aaron and I. He's still a friend and we're gonna go out there. I've done it before and I'm gonna do it again. I'm definitely gonna try to win this fight."
Dollaway has found success in many aspects of mixed martial arts (MMA), but he showed he has slick transitions and a nasty guillotine choke when he defeated Joe Doerksen with the submission maneuver in the first round of their bout at UFC 119. Munoz is well aware of the chokes Dollaway has in his arsenal.
"I've definitely seen his choke game. He likes to get front headlocks and he likes to go for guillotines and transition into a power guillotine and a Peruvian necktie. He definitely has a series going on and transitions. My job is to disrupt those transitions and then get to where I'm stronger than he is. That's when I'm gonna force the fight. He definitely has good standup. He utilizes kicks, his straight right, leads with some good jabs. I'm definitely gonna go out there and mix it up with him."
Simpson is not only Dollaway's training partner, but he also served as "The Doberman's" wrestling coach. While it may look like an advantage for Dollaway, Munoz says he always brings something different on fight night.
"That's the thing about fighting me, you're never gonna see the same fighter every time I step into the Octagon. Before I fought Aaron, I didn't kick at all. When I fought Aaron, I was kicking all the time. That's what I do. I want to evolve. I don't ever want to stay stagnant. I have an awesome training camp, I have awesome sparring partners, awesome trainers. You're definitely gonna see the evolution of Mark Munoz inside the cage."
Some MMA competitors don't look at film too much as they'd rather focus on their own strengths. Munoz uses film to study his opponent's tendencies and where he can capitalize on mistakes his opponent could make during the contest.
"When I breakdown films, I watch their tendencies. I don't look at what they're doing specifically. I watch the patterns in which they hit it, the timing in which they do it, that kind of stuff. I do look at tendencies and I do look at the little intricacies because it's about the little details."
While winning is the first thing on the agenda of "The Philippine Wrecking Machine," he always looks to finish fights and give the fans the excitement they want to see. Even if that means pulling out a secret weapon of his own.
"For me I always look to end fights and not a lot of people have seen my submissions. I'd like to get a submission in this one, but at the same time I'm always happy with getting a knockout or a TKO."
Munoz knows his match-up with "The Doberman" won't be a walk in the park, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I see this fight more or less going like Aaron Simpson. A lot of scramble situations, a lot of cage work, a lot of ground transitions, back to the feet, striking, wrestling ... that's how it's gonna be. It's gonna be an action packed fight with a lot of fireworks inside the Octagon."
A victory over The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 7 finalist would help Munoz climb higher up the middleweight ladder. Munoz says he just wants to get better with each fight, but sees himself high up the 185-pound rankings if he pulls off a win tonight.
"For me it's about improving every time and in the pecking order I definitely feel like I'll be in the top five. I've definitely proven myself with my past fights. There was one hiccup with (Yushin) Okami, but Okami's the next contender. I'm right there. Going with Okami, I know I can go with everybody in the division."
The problem with Munoz on the verge of a title shot would be the man who's holding the championship at 185-pounds. Munoz trains with Anderson Silva, and like many other MMA fighters who are close to their training partners, he's on the fence about fighting his good friend.
"I have the utmost respect for Anderson, we're very close. I train with Anderson here (Arizona). When he goes back to LA, we're gonna train again. It's hard to say, I know the UFC is not gonna give me that twice. I truly respect Anderson a lot. I consider him part of the family. I can't even fathom fighting my training partners."
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