by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Amir Sadollah is set to return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship at UFC 91 in Las Vegas, after a close to a five-month layoff. This fight will be his first since winning The Ultimate Fighter finale over CB Dollaway.
Sadollah came into The Ultimate Fighter an unknown. He was a fairly green fighter after having only a 4-0 amateur record prior to getting on the show. Sadollah quickly impressed Forrest Griffin, his assigned coach, during the show submitting Steve Bynes, TKOing Gerald Harris and submitting highly regarded Matt Brown.
Many thought that his next fight against Dollaway would be a quick and easy win for his competitor, but out of nowhere, Sadollah locked on an armbar. Now, an almost “Rocky” underdog, he was going into the finals against Jesse Taylor. However, Taylor got into some antics after the show wrapped, which forced UFC president Dana White to take him out of the finale. Dollaway came back to fight in the finale against Sadollah and get his redemption. However, Sadollah had other plans as he again submitted Dollaway via armbar.
Not fighting for five months affects some fighters, but Sadollah feels it was good to get some time off.
“Actually, I think the timing worked out pretty well for me,” said Sadollah recently to MMAWeekly Radio. “After the show, I definitely needed a little bit of downtime just from training and fighting. Just getting things in order. It worked out well for me. It was a little bit longer than I wanted, but now that I look back, it definitely gave me enough time for training and adjusting.”
While on the Ultimate Fighter, Sadollah enjoyed training with Forrest Griffin. In fact, he even moved to Las Vegas to train out of Xtreme Couture permanently. Even with the distractions that Sin City provides, Sadollah believes that he can control himself and not get too distracted. “This is my camp out here now. I like it. It’s definitely easy to get sucked into. I feel good about it and I can stay out of trouble, especially when there’s a fight coming up.”
Moving to Xtreme Couture seemed like a logical progression for Sadollah after getting along so well with Griffin and his trainers during the show. Having a vast sundry of training partners didn’t hurt his decision either.
“It was just an indication when I went on the show,” he explained. “I just had no problems with the guys I worked with and I liked them a lot. They have good gameplans and good coaching. The talent level of fighters that are out here like Forrest, Randy (Couture), Wanderlei Silva, Mike Pyle, Jay Hieron, Tyson Griffin, Gray Maynard. The list goes on and on.”
Sadollah’s first fight back in the Octagon will be against Ring of Combat veteran Nick Catone. Catone is a perfect 5-0 in his short tenure in mixed martial arts and is a good opponent for Sadollah to test himself with. The 28-year-old doesn’t know too much about Catone, but he found out a little about his opponent prior to this fight. “I think I have a good idea. From what I can tell, he’s a good wrestler. He has good jiu-jitsu. He’s a strong guy. I don’t get too hung up on watching tape. I just think I can handle the fight wherever it goes. I like to have a general idea of what he’s good at and things to look for. Nobody fights the same guy twice.”
This fight will take place at middleweight, but there has already been a lot of speculation of Sadollah dropping down to welterweight. The Brooklyn born fighter doesn’t deny the fact that he’s thinking about it.
“It’s something I’m definitely considering,” he stated. “I think it’s kind of the next step for me. There’s definitely pros and cons in it for me. I was just a little cautious changing too many things after the show. I’m on the fence about it.”
Before he can make any future plans, he has a large task at hand in Nick Catone at UFC 91. He has an idea of how he wants to fight his opponent, including dictating the pace of the fight. But he also realizes that he might have to play some of it by ear. “It definitely a mixture of imposing my will and figuring out what’s going on in the fight that night.”