Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Fight Night Natal Prediction: C.B. Dollaway vs. Cezar Ferreira

C.B. Dollaway is a perfect example of how a fighter can be an excellent wrestler but only an average UFC fighter. Dollaway has landed 3.99 takedowns per 15 minutes at 53 percent accuracy. He’s landed 26 takedowns in the UFC compared to just two for his opponents. His takedown defense stands at 86 percent. He’s arguably the second most effective wrestler at 185 pounds after Chris Weidman.

The problem with Dollaway is that he just gets finished too easily. I point this out every time Dollaway fights, but it bears repeating – Dollaway gets visibly hurt by strikes almost every time he fights. Part of the problem is that Dollaway’s conditioning has been very poor at times – being exhausted was his downfall against Jared Hamman in particular. Finally, Dollaway has lost by submission twice in the UFC and was caught in three submission attempts in his last fight against Tim Boetsch.

The thing about Dollaway is that he’s usually good to land more takedowns and strikes than his opponents, and that makes predicting his fights tricky. If Dollaway doesn’t get finished then he’s most likely going to win. He’s 4-1 in the UFC in fights that go the distance, and the one loss – to Boetsch at UFC 166 – was a very questionable decision. In fights that get finished Dollaway is just 3-4 in the UFC.

Against Cezar Ferreira, my expectation is that Dollaway will once again end up landing more takedowns and strikes. Ferreira is a fighter who competes at a relatively slow pace; he’s landed just 1.95 significant strikes per minute in three UFC fights so far. In his last fight Ferreira defeated Daniel Sarafian by unanimous decision despite landing just 15 significant strikes and three takedowns. Of course, Ferreira also landed a bunch of strikes that did not grade out as significant, but it was still far from a barnburner.

What makes me nervous about Dollaway’s chances in this fight is that Ferreira is a very hard hitter. He landed two knockdowns in his victory over Sergio Moraes at UFC 147 and staggered Thiago Santos with an overhand left before quickly finishing the fight by guillotine choke. If Ferreira can land some clean strikes on the shaky chin of Dollaway, he could absolutely get the knockout.

Here’s my question: should Ferreira really be a -225 favorite to win this fight? Unless Ferreira can do what nobody else has been able to so far – control the takedown game against Dollaway – I have to think that line is off. I see this as much closer to a 50-50 match with Dollaway winning if the fight goes the distance and Ferreira winning if it doesn’t.

As for a fight pick, I’m going to take the upset here. It’s not a pick I love because Dollaway is a very flawed fighter, but overall I value his ability to grind out victories a little bit more than Ferreira’s knockout power and ability to finish. It’s the kind of pick that might make me look stupid if Ferreira wins in 40 seconds, but…

Pick: C.B. Dollaway by decision

DEGENERATE GAMBLER’S CORNER

Obviously I picked Dollaway to win, so I should bet on Dollaway as well at +185. I’m going to keep the bet small though – there’s always a chance that there’s some aspect to Ferreira’s game I don’t know about yet. I’ll risk $1.00 to win $1.85 on this one.

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