C.B. Dollaway’s stock is on the rise. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
To get where he wants to go in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s shark tank of a middleweight division, C.B. Dollaway must defeat a man few believe he can beat.
Dollaway will put his modest two-fight winning streak on the line when he collides with former 205-pound champion Lyoto Machida in the UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Dollaway” main event on Saturday at the Jose Correa Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The 31-year-old Power MMA Team representative will enter the cage as a significant underdog.
“This is a huge step up in competition for me, but I want to be the best in the world,” Dollaway said in a pre-fight interview with UFC.com. “These are the kinds of guys you’ve got to go through.”
An NCAA All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, Dollaway has steadily improved his ancillary skills through trial, error and triumph. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 finalist has rattled off four wins in his past five appearances, a disputed and widely panned decision loss to Tim Boetsch the lone blemish. Dollaway last competed at UFC Fight Night “Munoz vs. Mousasi” in May, when he took a unanimous verdict from Tristar Gym brute Francis Carmont at the O2 World in Berlin.
Machida, meanwhile, has posted a 2-1 record since downshifting to 185 pounds in 2013, losing only to reigning middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Dollaway believes there is a tried-and-true path to victory against the Brazilian karateka.
“The plan with Lyoto is never let him breathe, never give him an inch, never sit back and give him time to pick his shot, constant pressure, always moving forward,” he said. “Watch the guys that have been able to beat him, and that’s what they do. There’s a formula. I think we’ve improved on it. Now it’s up to me to get out there and prove it.”
One of the UFC’s most accomplished fighters, Machida holds wins over a number of notables, from Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson and Ryan Bader to Randy Couture, Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans.
“He’s one of the top guys in the division,” Dollaway said. “I want to prove I’m ready for a title fight. I want to prove it’s my time. He’s had his time. It’s my time.”
Mike Rhodes sees a potential firefight on the horizon.
The Roufusport representative will confront former Jungle Fight champion Erick Silva in a welterweight showcase, as he attempts to put a stop to a two-fight losing streak. A former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion, Rhodes remains winless inside the Octagon, having dropped consecutive decisions to George Sullivan and Robert Whittaker. He will have his work cut out for him against Silva, a physically gifted and well-rounded martial artist with a nose for quick finishes.
“I think I match up great,” Rhodes told Sherdog.com. “He’s really, really aggressive. I’m a really good counter fighter, but I can also be aggressive and I can also match him. If he wants to fight fire with fire, I’m down. I’m not going to get a decision in Brazil, so I’m not looking to get one. I’m looking to finish.”
THIS & THAT
UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Dollaway” will be the 303rd event the Ultimate Fighting Championship has staged in its history ... Machida has been credited with 12 knockdowns inside the Octagon, tying him with Junior dos Santos for second on the UFC’s all-time list, according to FightMetric data. They trail only Anderson Silva (17) ... Nova Uniao standout Renan Barao went 3,327 days between his two losses ... Mitch Gagnon owns 10 traditional submissions among his 12 professional victories: four by rear-naked choke and six by guillotine choke ... Reign MMA-Kings MMA representative Patrick Cummins was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Penn State University ... Elias Silverio is one of only 17 undefeated fighters with a minimum of 10 decisions on the current UFC roster. Thomas Almeida, Alan Patrick Silva Alves, Chris Beal, Daniel Cormier, Kelvin Gastelum, Myles Jury, Ryan LaFlare, Alberto Mina, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ronda Rousey, Lukasz Sajewski, Aljamain Sterling, Sean Strickland, Elias Theodorou, Francisco Trevino and Chris Weidman are the others ... “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 1 finalist Daniel Sarafian has not recorded consecutive victories since winning four straight from April 24, 2010 to July 5, 2011 ... A protégé of 2006 Pride Fighting Championships open weight grand prix winner Mirko Filipovic, Igor Pokrajac has fought in nine different countries: Brazil, Canada, Australia, United States, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Poland ... The seven men to whom Tom Niinimaki has lost -- Chas Skelly, Niklas Backstrom, Tristan Yunker, Hatsu Hioki, Danny Batten, Mikael Lahdesmaki and Per Eklund -- own a cumulative 92-34-7 record ... In 11 UFC appearances, Darren Elkins has secured 14 takedowns while surrendering only three of them ... Shooto veteran Yuta Sasaki sports 11-, 30-, 38-, 42-, 66- and 96-second finishes on his resume ... Marcio Alexandre Jr. has never gone the distance in 13 professional outings ... Onetime Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Jake Collier is based in Cuba, Mo., a small, 3.20-square-mile town of less than 3,500 people.