(photo courtesy Josh Hedges/Zuffa)
CB Dollaway is going to take his game to the next level with this fight.
Those are the words I said hours before Dollaway’s UFC 100 fight against Tom Lawlor. The Ultimate Fighter alum had bounced back from his upset loss to Amir Sadollah with first round stoppages over Jesse Taylor and Mike Massenzio. Equipped with an All-American wrestling background and a solid team at Arizona Combat Sports, it looked like Dollaway was on his way to living up to the hype that had many people picking him to win TUF from the first episode on.
And then, just 0:55 into the fight, Lawlor locked on a guillotine, and Dollaway’s UFC record dropped to an unremarkable 2-2.
But now, after a dominant decision victory over Jay Silva, Dollaway will look to regain the momentum he built before the Lawlor fight when he takes on Goran Reljic at UFC 110.
“If I can take him out, it puts me back on track to where I was going before the Tom Lawler loss,” Dollaway told Heavy.com. “It’s huge because it’s… a step up in competition. I’m taking another step up the ladder.”
What kind of opponent Dollaway will meet at UFC 110 is yet to be seen. Reljic entered the UFC as an undefeated light heavyweight with six finishes (five submissions) in seven career fights. But after a TKO victory over Wilson Gouveia that earned him Fight of the Night honors, Reljic was forced to pull out of his next fight with a back injury.
That injury led to surgery and a 21-month layoff. Couple that with Reljic dropping down to middleweight for the first time in his career, and we might see a very different fighter from the dynamic prospect of 2008.
Dollaway, for one, expects the long layoff to be a factor in their fight.
“Going out there and getting back into the flow of things, you’re not going to be as comfortable as you were prior to when you had a few fights in a row,” Dollaway said. ” I’m sure it will be a pretty big factor. He hasn’t been [active] in several years, especially stepping into the UFC level and going to a sold out arena.”
Just because he expects ring rust to be a factor, that does not mean that Dollaway is taking his opponent lightly.
“You never know where you’ll find yourself when you’re out there,” Dollaway said. “I plan to have a tough fight and go in there and whether it goes one round or three rounds, I’m prepared.”
Dollaway was mum about how exactly he would attack Reljic, instead choosing to say that he plans to follow his game plan and do what he’s been training to do.
If he does that, Dollaway can look forward to more steps up in competition in the near future.