Two middleweight veterans of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) battled it out last night (Jan. 19, 2013) as TUF season seven alum C.B. Dollaway took on TUF Brazil standout Daniel Sarafian in the co-main event of UFC on FX 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Dollaway entered the fight on the heels of a very conservative victory over Jason Miller in a bout where he had his back against the wall, choosing to neutralize his foe with his wrestling and drawing the ire of the fans.
With his job (hopefully) secure, "The Doberman" took many more risks in the Octagon last evening, although it was far from a cakewalk.
Sarafian got off to a tremendous start, finding a home for his right hand on multiple occasions in the opening round and hurting Dollaway a few times. He looked explosive on the feet especially considering he was carrying so much extra muscle around.
Despite getting hurt on the feet, Dollaway didn't give up on his boxing, and as the fight wore on, he found more success. By the end of the second round, Dollaway had gone from being on the receiving end of heavy strikes to dishing out some pain.
A huge right hand hurt Sarafian badly and Dollaway swarmed with hard shots as the Brazilian was saved by the bell.
In the third round, Dollaway again hurt Sarafian, but this time he worked his wrestling against his exhausted foe, taking him down and advancing to mount. It didn't seem to be the best idea, however, as Sarafian was able to use a very solid sweep game to reverse the position.
Both men traded some very exciting grappling scrambles with Dollaway doing just enough to walk away with a split decision by the time it was all said and done.
For Daniel Sarafian, he got off to a tremendous start, but he couldn't capitalize on hurting Dollaway in the opening round. His clinch game, top position, regular boxing and even his sweeps from bottom were pretty solid. All the excess muscle began to backfire as he began to fade in the final two rounds, which allowed Dollaway to get back in the game. When he had Dollaway's back in the third round, he didn't take advantage. He could have dropped some really heavy punches or went for it with a submission, but couldn't pull it off and allowed Dollaway to turn the tides at the end of the fight one last time.
What would probably work best for Sarafian would be to lose some of that excess muscle and drop down to welterweight, but if he doesn't want to do that, there are still plenty of potential fights in the middleweight division. Fights against Clifford Starks, Karlos Vemola or Andrew Craig would all make sense.
For C.B. Dollaway, he took the initiative in this fight and kept it standing for the first two rounds. This didn't go exactly as planned at least in the first round as he got outstruck and hurt a couple of times, but whether it was faith in his boxing or just downright stubbornness, he stuck with his striking and it paid off. "The Doberman" landed some really good shots in the second, mixing up his attack with a decent lead left jab and he nearly finished the fight with his boxing and ground and pound. Sarafian had really good grappling, so Dollaway smartly waited until the Brazilian got tired before shooting in and putting him on his back. He didn't screw around on the canvas either, working to pass guard at every opportunity, even at the risk of getting swept (which happened a couple of times).
Conditioning was key here for Dollaway as he still had the gas to push Sarafian to his limit and was going strong even in the third round after pushing a pretty grueling pace. He outworked Sarafian and despite losing the first round, he came back strong.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did Dollaway surprise you by making this fight such an entertaining back-and-forth affair? Did you agree with the judges, or the pro-Sarafian crowd?