On Saturday night, C.B. Dollaway went into hostile territory by taking on hometown fighter Daniel Sarafian at UFC on FX 7. After 15 minutes of action, the pair earned $50,000 apiece and Fight of the Night honors, although it was Dollaway who emerged victorious by way of split decision.
Regardless of what the hometown crowd would have you believe with their merciless post-fight booing, there is nothing wrong with "The Doberman" taking home the decision victory in last Saturday's co-main event. After two rounds, the scores appeared to be tied up at 19-19, with the final frame determining who would have their arm raised.
In a back-and-forth frame, Dollaway would score a pair of takedowns, while Sarafian would earn an equal number of sweeps from the bottom. Nearly all offense was neutralized, and the round honestly could have been scored 10-10.
Ultimately, two judges leaned in favor of the American, much to the chagrin of the native Sao Paulo crowd.
With the victory, it is time to look ahead and see what's next for C.B. Dollaway.
Currently holding a two-fight winning streak, as well as a co-main event victory, Dollaway sees his star rise with the UFC. This should allow the Ultimate Fighter finalist an opportunity to square off against a divisional notable.
Dollaway has a sloppy standup attack and is best when he can utilize his wrestling to grind out a decision victory. However, that isn't a style that bodes well for him with a fresh batch of jiu-jitsu masters moving into the division.
There are a few options for Dollaway in his next contest, but I've settled on a pair of grapplers who have ties to the Strikeforce brand: Jake Shields and Roger Gracie.
Were his decision victory over Ed Herman not overturned due to a failed drug test, former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields would also be riding the momentum of consecutive wins. Like Dollaway, his standup leaves much to be desired, although his ground work can give opponents fits.
Although Shields has name recognition, his performances since joining the UFC have been fairly lackluster. Both of his official wins have been fairly controversial, with a UFC 144 victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama being named one of the biggest robberies of 2012.
The other opponent, Roger Gracie, is a grappling wizard who earned submission wins in five of his six career victories. Like the aforementioned middleweights, Gracie needs to continue working on his striking prowess, as he tends to run into trouble against those who can thwart his takedown attempts.
Gracie holds a two-win streak of his own after picking up victories over Keith Jardine and Anthony Smith while fighting for Strikeforce.
The second-degree black belt would be a major challenge for Dollaway, who would be a fool to utilize his wrestling in that matchup. This would serve as a solid organizational debut for Gracie, who enters the UFC after the demise of Strikeforce earlier this month.