Press Release courtesy of Spike TV
After six grueling weeks of training and living in The Ultimate Fighter house, Amir Sadollah and C.B. Dollaway have advanced to the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest, and will square off on Saturday, June 21 at 9:00 PM ET on Spike TV live from The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The fight is a rematch of one of the semifinals, in which Team Forrest’s Sadollah caught Team Rampage’s No. 1 pick Dollaway in an armbar to advance to the finals. Jesse Taylor’s subsequent disqualification gave CB an opening, and after defeating Tim Credeur, he gets a chance to avenge his earlier defeat, as he and Sadollah step into the Octagon for the biggest fight in either’s career.
A Richmond, Virginia resident, the 27-year-old Sadollah entered “The Ultimate Fighter” with no professional fighting experience to his name. The amateur kickboxer impressed UFC president Dana White, along with “The Ultimate Fighter” producers, during the open-workout in Newark, N.J. and he earned an invitation to Las Vegas. Since then, despite his inexperience, he has dispatched all comers while exhibiting stunning resiliency, winning his elimination bout to get into the house, and then defeating Team Rampage’s Gerald Harris via TKO in his preliminary bout, winning a war with teammate Matt Brown in the quarterfinals, and shocking the entire gym with his third round armbar of Dollaway in the semifinals. Sadollah has been training with his coach Forrest Griffin for the finale, and plans on using his ever improving well rounded mixed martial arts attack to take home this season’s title.
Standing in Sadollah’s way is CB Dollaway, a 24-year-old hailing from Mount Gilhead, Ohio who went on to a tremendous collegiate wrestling career at Arizona State University, where he was selected as an All American. His pedigree, and dominant showing in his elimination match to get in the house, led to his being selected number one overall to Team Rampage. To reach the finals, Dollaway defeated Team Forrest’s Nick Klein via guillotine choke in his preliminary bout and handling Cale Yarbrough in his quarterfinal bout to reach his semifinal matchup against Amir Sadollah. Though he dropped that matchup, he was given a shot at redemption when Jesse Taylor was asked to leave the show, and defeated Tim Credeur to earn a showdown this Saturday night with the title of The Ultimate Fighter on the line.
Sharing top billing for The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest Finale, former UFC middleweight champion and one of the sport’s pioneers, Evan Tanner, takes on rising star and The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 victor Kendall Grove.
Before his debut at UFC 18 in January, 1999, Tanner (34-7) lived quite an adventurous and often nomadic existence, doing everything from installing cable TV in South Dakota to building beach houses in North Carolina, to laying concrete in Montana. Tanner found his calling in the Octagon and after three straight victories earned a shot at the UFC crown. However, then light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz knocked out Tanner less than a minute to retain his title. The determined Tanner won seven of his next eight bouts including a first round TKO over David Terrell in February 2005 at UFC 51, to claim the vacant UFC middleweight title. However, his reign was short-lived as he lost to Rich Franklin in June 2005 at UFC 53 via TKO (stoppage due to cuts). Most recently, he lost to heralded Japanese contender Yushin Okami at UFC 82 this past March.
The 6’6″ Grove (10-5) is a Hawaiian native who honed his skills as a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter 3. Two recent defeats at the hands of veterans Patrick Cote (UFC 74 in August of 2007) and Jorge Rivera (UFC 80 in January of 2008) after an auspicious 3-0 start in the UFC makes this battle with Tanner a must-win for the 25-year old Grove.
As the night’s special feature, Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez takes on hard-hitting Luigi Fioravanti.
Sanchez (20-2), fighting out of San Diego, Calif., burst onto the UFC scene with incredible fanfare after winning The Ultimate Fighter 1 crown against Kenny Florian After six consecutive wins over such notable opponents as Karo Parisyan, John Alessio, and Nick Diaz, it seemed Sanchez was clearly destined to wear the UFC welterweight crown. However, Sanchez’s lofty title hopes were derailed by two consecutive losses including a three-round decision to bitter foe and The Ultimate Fighter 1 castmate, Josh Koschek, at UFC 69 last April and a split decision loss to Jon Fitch last September at UFC 76. Now, the Gaidojuijitsu black belt is back on the winning track after submitting Brazilian native David Bielkheden in March at UFC 82.
Fioravanti (12-2), from Orlando, Fla., is coming off an impressive victory in March over Luke Cummo at UFC 82. As tough as his opponent Sanchez will be, the 27-year-old has most certainly been in more perilous situations. Fioravanti is a decorated Marine who was part of the first wave of troops to arrive in the Middle East for the ongoing Iraq War. After seeing dangerous action during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fioravanti returned to the U.S. in 2004 to begin training for a professional MMA career.
Also on the card, Spencer “The King” Fisher looks to bounce back from his loss to Frankie Edgar during November’s UFC 78 as he takes on Jeremy Stephens, a 21-year-old fighter looking to extend his winning streak to three after wins against Diego Saraiva Cole Miller. In other action, a personal feud between Ultimate Fighter 7 housemates Matthew Riddle and Dante Rivera will be settle inside the Octagon in the night’s first televised match.
Main Card Bouts:
-Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove
-Ultimate Fighter 7 Final: Amir Sadollah vs. C.B. Dollaway
-Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fioravanti
-Spencer Fisher vs. Jeremy Stephens
-Dante Rivera vs. Matthew Riddle
-Josh Burkman vs. Dustin Hazelett
-Marvin Eastman vs. Drew McFedries
-Matt Arroyo vs. Matt Brown
-Dean Lister vs. Jeremy Horn
-Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough
-Rob Yundt vs. Rob Kimmons