First and Worst: Week of October 29 – November 4

By Adam Martin Subscribe to Articles by Adam Martin

First and Worst is a new series for, where every week Adam will make his pick for the best and worst newly-announced fight of the past week (Monday to Sunday). If you’d like to see any additions to this series, hit him up on Twitter @MMAdamMartin. 

The best bout announced this past week is the middleweight
clash at UFC on FX 7 between Bisping and Belfort, a fight in which the winner
will likely receive a title shot at UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva,
or, at the very least, earn a spot in a title eliminator bout against the
winner of the upcoming matchup between Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch at UFC 155.

Both Bisping and Belfort have been in the UFC for what seems
like an eternity, so to have them both fight at this point in time, when both
actually seem to be improving in many ways, is absolutely awesome. Bisping has
looked terrific in his last six bouts, going 5-1, with the only loss coming via
razor-thin decision to Chael Sonnen, and seems to be at the peak of his career.
But he’s lacking that signature win, and beating Belfort would certainly

Belfort, the self-proclaimed “young dinosaur,” has been
fighting in the UFC on-and-off for an astounding 15 years, but he’s looked
better than ever in his last batch of matches since losing via the
front-kick-KO-heard-around-the-world to Silva at UFC 126, knocking out
Yoshihiro Akiyama, submitting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, and nearly snapping thearm of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Both men are in their mid 30s – Bisping is 33, Belfort is 35
– and neither will get another chance to make a run for the title. With so much
at stake, look for both men to be super aggressive in this fight, and in a
fight that can go so many ways, it will be interesting to see who comes out on
top. The fact the fight is on FX and not PPV is a gift to the fans, and with
this card likely to attract lots of attention, expect nothing less than a
memorable encounter.
My problem with the bout between Dollaway and Sarafian is
more about its placement on the UFC on FX 7 card rather than the actual matchup
itself. From a purely competitive standpoint, the fight makes sense because
Sarafian is a newcomer to the UFC, a very popular Brazilian prospect who would
have competed for the title of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” if not for
injury, and Dollaway – a long-time UFC veteran with a 6-4 Octagon record – is
the perfect test for any incoming middleweight.

However, there is absolutely no way this fight should be the
co-main event on any card, even a free TV event, and that’s why I have a
problem with it.

Prior to his last bout, a win over Jason “Mayhem” Miller,
Dollaway’s head was on the proverbial chopping block, as he was coming off
knockout losses to both Mark Munoz and Jared Hamman. Yes, he did get a
unanimous decision over Miller at UFC 146, but it was one of the worst fights
of the year, according to those who watched it, and to reward Dollaway with a
co-main event slot for such a lethargic performance is sending the wrong
In many ways, this bout is likely more of a showcase for
Sarafian than anything else. The young Brazilian had a great showing on TUF
Brazil, but never got the chance to fight at UFC 147. He’s very popular in his
home country, and putting him in a fight with Dollaway, arguably the
lowest-ranked middleweight in the UFC, is a sign the UFC is trying to get him a
win over an Octagon vet so they can fast-track him through the division,
especially with so many eyes on him in the co-main event of a card in his
native Brazil.
The problem with that line of thinking is that Dollaway is a
crafty veteran who knows how to win in the UFC, and if he upsets Sarafian by
lying on top of him for 15 minutes like he did to Miller, that helps nobody.
Putting Sarafian in a pressure situation like this seems like a bad idea to me.
If any Brazilian middleweight warranted the co-main event slot, it should have
been Ronny Markes, who is 2-0 in the UFC, not Sarafian (despite the fact that ,
if you can believe it, he is actually older than Dollaway).
I don’t like the Dollaway vs. Sarafian matchup at all, and I
think the UFC is making a big mistake by promoting this bout as the co-main
event of UFC on FX 7, but thankfully, at least we all have the main event of
Bisping vs. Belfort to look forward to.

What Do You Think of This Fight/Event?