Saturday night wasn’t Daniel Sarafian’s night. The powerful TUF: Brazil product didn’t exactly live up to the hype surrounding him.
The stout middleweight met the discordant C.B. Dollaway in his official UFC debut Saturday night, and while he proved a game opponent, he failed to do what most expected: destroy C.B. Dollaway.
Dollaway was rattled on more than one occasion in the early portions of the fight, but as the clock wore on, Sarafian slowed.
Dollaway was able to take control midway through the second round, and he did a fair job of keeping the upper hand over his opponent for the remainder of the fight.
Fortunately for Sarafian, the loss means little. Octagon jitters may well have played a factor in the fight, and the Brazilian did keep things competitive until the final bell sounded.
Daniel will be back, the only question is, who welcomes him in his sophomore effort?
Derek Brunson looked like a zombie in his UFC debut last month, but to his credit, he took the fight on extremely short notice, had to battle an extremely experienced Chris Leben and was featured as one of the main-card draws. That’s a nerve-wracking scenario.
Expect Brunson to boast a bigger gas tank in future outings, as well as a new sense of comfort inside the Octagon. He’s gotten the first fight out of the way and should be able to showcase his true talents under the UFC banner in the future.
His powerful wrestling makes for an interesting stylistic match with Daniel, who happens to boast some solid defensive wrestling and two very heavy hands.
It’s wrestler versus striker here, and a chance to see Sarafian pick up a win over a tough, capable competitor.
It should have been Sarafian vs. Cezar Ferreira for the middleweight TUF: Brazil title at UFC 147 anyway.
Give the fans what they’d hoped for six months ago.
There will certainly be no shortage of fireworks!
Lorenz Larkin enjoyed an impressive run while competing for Strikeforce. In fact, he was just about perfect, if you can forget the complete mauling that Muhammed Lawal handed him at Strikeforce—Rockhold vs. Jardine.
Larkin can strike, he can wrestle and he’s awfully agile. That’s a dangerous combination that could work to either frustrate or motivate Sarafian.
One never knows what to expect from Alessio Sakara. On any night, he may appear a pinpoint striker with terminator-like reflexes. On any night, he may look like a lost rookie who accidentally stumbled onto the grandest stage the sport has to offer.
He may even decide to completely tee-off on the back of an opponent’s head, prompting a confusing scenario and subsequent disqualification.
Regardless of which Sakara shows up, he’s a recognizable figure having fought for the promotion 14 times. He’s also picked up a few respectable wins. If Safarian can take out “Legionarius” early in his career, his stock immediately rises.
Clifford Starks is a tough out. He lacks major name recognition but packs enough talent to upset rising prospects. Fighting the man isn’t necessarily a bright prospect.
However, fighting the man and defeating him will produce invaluable experience for a young fighter such as Daniel Sarafian. Given Starks’ willingness to throw bombs, this looks like a promising fight.
Sarafian versus Starks is risky, especially for the highly touted Brazilian, but it could prove to be his most rewarding option.
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