With there being two UFC events and 22 fights scheduled to take place this Saturday, I would be a crazy person to write detailed breakdowns on all of them. I’m going to limit my writing to the two main events and the co-main event of the Berlin show.
Francis Carmont enters with an excellent UFC record of 6-1, but C.B. Dollaway is going to present a very difficult stylistic matchup for him. Carmont is at his best when he’s able to bully his opponent in the clinch or land takedowns and control the ground game. It will be difficult for him to do that against Dollaway, who rates as one of the best wrestlers in the middleweight division.
In 13 UFC fights, Dollaway has landed 26 takedowns and been taken down just twice by his opponents. He’s landed 4.0 takedowns per 15 minutes at 53 percent accuracy, numbers that can only be matched in the division by the champion, Chris Weidman. He’s defended 13 out of 15 takedown attempts from his opponents.
Carmont has proven difficult to take down as well. He’s defended 20 out of 25 takedown attempts from his opponents, for a success rate of 80 percent. When Carmont faces Dollaway, I would give Dollaway a slight advantage in takedowns, but I suspect that each fighter’s ability to defend takedowns will cause this to become a striking match.
That’s where this fight could get tricky for Carmont. He has not established himself as a very prolific distance striker. In fact, Carmont has never landed more than 19 significant strikes at distance, preferring instead to slow the fight down, clinch, and look to take it to the ground. It will be difficult for Carmont to win a decision based on striking volume alone, although he’s also very good at slowing down his opponents.
The advantage Carmont has in this fight is that he’s proven much more difficult to finish. While Carmont has yet to be stopped by knockout or submission in a UFC fight, Dollaway has four stoppage losses, two by knockout and two by submission. Dollaway has been knocked down three times and visibly wobbled by strikes a number of times on top of that. To Dollaway’s credit, he’s shown a decent ability to recover after being hurt, but it’s a constant concern for him.
It’s worth noting that both fighters have been vulnerable on the ground. Carmont has had to fight out of nine submission attempts despite being taken down just five times. It’s a credit to Carmont that he hasn’t tapped out to any of those attempts (especially since three of those attempts were made by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza), but it’s much better to avoid having to escape a submission attempt in the first place.
Meanwhile, Dollaway has been placed in 15 submission attempts despite being taken down just twice, and has tapped out to two of those submissions. On paper, Carmont and Dollaway seem somewhat evenly matched on the ground, with the advantage naturally going to the fighter in top position.
When I look at just striking volume and takedowns, I see this as a very competitive match that may even slightly favor Dollaway. However, small but important factors lead me to side with Carmont. Most notable is Dollaway’s history of being hurt by strikes; Carmont is not a knockout artist but he hits reasonably hard and could wobble Dollaway with a punch or knee in the clinch. Another is the conditioning factor; Dollaway has gassed out in the past and if that happens again here, that could swing a close fight in Carmont’s direction.
Finally, Carmont has faced tougher opponents on average than Dollaway. While Dollaway is coming off fights against Cezar Ferreira and Tim Boetsch, Carmont has faced “Jacare” and defeated opponents like Costas Philippou and the underrated Tom Lawlor.
My belief is that this is going to be a tough, ugly fight where Carmont wears Dollaway out in the clinch and takes a competitive decision victory.
Pick: Francis Carmont by decision