This weekend in Barueri, Brazil, UFC fans will be treated to an exciting match-up between former light-heavyweight champion, Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida and gritty wrestler, CB 'Doberman' Dolloway. Machida, well-known for his lightning-fast karate based style, will be looking for another impressive win to stay in the mix of a deep middleweight division.
In recent years the middleweight division has been a little sparse when speaking of contenders. Anderson Silva has had it on lock down for some time, but with the emergence of a new champion in Chris Weidman (who beat Machida in their last fight) we've seen several other fighters step up and look capable of holding the 185lb (84kg) title in the future.
Lyoto Machida has been near the top of that group since dropping down a weight class following his title challenge defeat to light-heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. The previously shallow talent pool is now filled with skilled grapplers and viscous strikers. Although Machida is well established as one of the best in the world, his opponent is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence.
His win over well respected Frenchman, Francis Carmont, back in May was a surprise to many. Carmont is a lengthy and confident striker but was nullified by Dolloway's relentless pace and determination to score a takedown. The victory won him a performance of the night bonus and pushed him up the middleweight ladder towards the upper echelons of the division.
Dolloway’s last trip to Brazil ended when he stopped Cezar Ferreira at thirty-nine seconds in the first round. His recent experience of travelling to fight will hopefully have prepared him well for his return to Brazil to face a much higher profile fighter in Machida. A win here would act as a springboard to thrust him into title-shot territory.
However, getting his hands on his opponent will never have been so difficult. 'The Dragon', well known for his awkward counter-striking Karate style, will use his speed and footwork to hit and move. Should Dolloway be successful in dragging Machida to the canvas, he will then have the task of keeping him there and keeping Machida from attacking with submissions.
Although it's no secret that Machida will want to fight on the feet, his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt will force Dolloway to remain defensive during his ground attack. Holding top position and frustrating Machida will undoubtedly be the best approach for 'The Doberman'.
Albeit a far more advanced version, Machida represents an old school point-fighting Karate style, remaining high on his toes and with feet facing forward, he is able to sprint off the mark and hit his foe with a series of direct, stinging punches.
Often when the fight is evenly matched we see guys taking greater risks to attempt to open up their opponent and edge the victory, but The Dragon is very good at controlling his emotions and therefore his patience is also a powerful weapon. When he is calm, waiting for an opportunity to strike, his opponent will often become a little panicked and will take greater risks.
A lot of people are counting Dolloway out before the bout even starts and the odds reflect this. But at 31 years old, he is poised to move into the peak of his career with all of the experience he needs so there is a chance that an upset could happen.
Whatever goes down in the main event, the Brazilian crowd in attendance are sure to be treated to a great night of fights. Be sure to tune in to see if CB Dolloway can put on the performance of his life, or if Lyoto Machida will once again show how dangerous he can be as he continues to edge closer to another title shot.
Catch all the action from UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dolloway on BT Sport 1 from 1am on SundayReuse content