It’s hard to say the hype train was derailed, but it was slowed down with Dollaway taking the victory – amidst a mountain of boos – on the Brazilian’s home turf.
From the opening, Sarafian showed why there was so much expectation behind him, utilizing his movement and power counter-strikes to take control of the fight early, despite giving up five inches in heath and three inches in reach.
He dropped Dollaway midway through the opening round, and rocked him at several points throughout the fight, but couldn’t find the button to put him away.
Just when it appeared he was really taking control of the fight in round two, Dollaway turned the tables, finally getting his jab and wrestling to work.
“His wrestling was really good,” said Dollaway after the fight, noting how Sarafian did such a good job neutralizing much of his wrestling. “He defended my takedowns really easily. My hat is off to him.”
In the final round, it looked like Dollaway had momentum on his side with Sarafian fading. He took the Brazilian to the mat, looking to finish, but Dollaway’s tank started to drain as well, stopping him from putting the finishing touches on Sarafian.
The Brazilian wasn’t done, however, and fought back strong, but neither he or Dollaway could do enough to take the fight away from the judges, who scored a split decision in favor of Dollaway.
It was a razor thin decision, but it gave Dollaway back-to-back victories for the first time in a little more than two years, and showed that he has the conviction to go inside himself and find a way to fight back from adversity to win.
“It was huge,” said Dollaway after the fight. “I had to dig deep. He’s a tough competitor.”