by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Rarely does opportunity knock twice, but when C.B. Dollaway steps into The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale on Saturday night, he will have a chance to redeem himself from a loss he suffered during the filming of the show that should have kept him from being the champion of season seven.
Not only that, but his opponent in the fight, Amir Sadollah, is the exact fighter that eliminated him from the show in the first place.
Dollaway’s chance to fight Sadollah a second time came at the expense of former finalist, Jesse Taylor, who was tossed off of the show by UFC president Dana White after a drunken tirade led him to a disturbing occurrence at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas after the show’s filming was finished.
“When I found out I had a second chance it was pretty much the best news I could hear in my life, you know?” Dollaway stated about the news that he was being brought back after the season for another fight. “Second chance at the biggest thing, the biggest opportunity in my life, and it wasn’t really hard to get back in the groove. I just wanted to try to get back in contention for that contract.”
As the season ended, Dollaway walked away from the seventh season of the show dealing with a loss he suffered to Sadollah, but the Arizona based fighter looks back and understands the mistakes he made.
“I don’t think I performed to the best of my abilities,” he commented on the fight. “I think conditioning was a pretty big factor, and I think that may have been one of the biggest factors of the fight.”
After a solid performance in the first two rounds, Dollaway was caught by an armbar in the third round, at the time ending his chances at being in the finals.
“It’s a pretty big shock to me. I had actually underestimated his ground game, thought that there was no way he’d submit me, and then low and behold he submits me,” he commented on the loss. “I thought if I was going to lose that fight it would probably be like catching a knee on the way in or something along those lines. Never in a million years did I think I’d lose the way I did.”
Dollaway came back and had a tough fight with fellow semifinalist Tim Credeur, winning by unanimous decision and now moving on to a rematch with Sadollah.
The experience against his opponent can only play to his favor, and while he sounded appreciative of the experience to be on the show, his training may have actually suffered as result of his time there.
“Not really going to give a lot of credit,” said Dollaway about his team of trainers on the show. “I’d give more credit to my home camp, Arizona Combat Sports. They’re the ones who have trained me all the way through to where I am now. Actually, it possibly felt like being on the show, for me, kind of maybe lost a step. Towards the end it didn’t really have any training partners, most guys were hurt or they just weren’t training at all, so it’s kind of hard to give the credit out.”
Spending the last eight weeks back at home in Arizona with his team and training partners, who include former Arizona State wrestler Ryan Bader, WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, and even former housemate Matt Riddle, Dollaway is focused and plans on using his experience against Sadollah as a learning tool for the rematch.
“Just going in there knowing what kind of fighter Amir is, knowing that he’s not going to give up, and knowing I’m probably going to have to fight him to the bitter end,” he said. “No letting up and you’ve just got to be prepared for a 15 minute war.”