‘Ultimate Fighter’ crown at stake

In training for tonight’s fight to decide the Season 7 winner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s reality show, C.B. Dollaway and Amir Sadollah did not have to look far for video of one another.

They needed only to watch Wednesday’s episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” — when they first fought each other.

Dollaway used superior wrestling skills to control the Muay-Thai specialist for most of their semifinal bout, but Sadollah caught Dollaway in an arm bar and claimed a submission victory.

That should have set up Sadollah for a title bout with Jesse Taylor. But Taylor made series history by getting thrown off the show following its March taping when he wreaked havoc at Palace Station.

So Dollaway got a reprieve and took advantage of it by beating fellow semifinals loser Tim Credeur, setting up a second meeting tonight with Sadollah. The rematch on a card at the Palms will determine the season winner.

“It was pretty much the best news I could ever hear,” Dollaway, speaking on a conference call, said of his second chance against Sadollah.

Though he controlled most of the first fight, Dollaway appeared to tire and did not appear to respect Sadollah’s submission abilities. Dollaway claims to have learned from his mistakes.

“I don’t think I performed to the best of my ability. I think conditioning was a huge factor,” he said.

For his part, Sadollah is not complaining about being forced to defeat the pre-show favorite for a second time.

“He’ll have earned it,” Sadollah said. “I’m not thinking if it’s fair or not. The only thing you can do is do your best.”

Dollaway downplays what he learned from his experience on the show and says he will be a better fighter after having gone through training camp in Arizona for the fight.

Sadollah, on the other hand, took to his new surroundings. He has continued training in Las Vegas and is likely to relocate here to focus on his career.

“I think this is going to be the place for me,” he said.

A home base, however, never has been a concern for one of the co-main event fighters on tonight’s card. Evan Tanner, a 37-year-old former middleweight champion and self-proclaimed nomad, will look to continue his comeback when he takes on Kendall Grove.

Tanner returned after nearly two years away from the sport with a loss to Yushin Okami in March.

Grove, meanwhile, saw his rise up the UFC ranks derailed by two losses. The Season 3 champion of “The Ultimate Fighter” has been knocked out in the first round of his last two fights after winning in his first three octagon appearances.

Diego Sanchez and Josh Burkman — popular alums of the reality show — also will appear on tonight’s card in separate fights. Also, Jeremy Horn will fight Dean Lister.

Credeur, who lost his semifinal fight, then dropped a decision to Dollaway in the second-chance bout, also was added to the card. He will take on cast mate Cale Yarbrough.

The 11-fight card will begin at 3:30 p.m., with the televised portion at 6. It will air tape-delayed in Las Vegas on Spike (Cox 29) at 9.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@ reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

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