The UFC Fight Night 39 event in Brazil saw Dan Henderson come from behind to score a KO victory over Mauricio Rua. The co-main event saw CB Dolloway make fast work of Cezar Ferreira, and Brazilian Fabio Maldonado delivered one of his patented blood and guts performances against Gian Villante. With their impressive performances, both men are in line for a step up in competition for their next outing.
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Maldonado impressed the most. When we first saw him in the UFC, he was getting bludgeoned by Glover Teixeira and he showed little skill, just an ability to take punishment. He was 1-3 in the UFC at that point, and would only fight again because he took the Teixeira fight when no one else would, but he has quietly gone 3-0 since then.
In this last outing, Maldonado showed patience in the first round as he got grounded, but then he succeeded in getting Villante into a fight, plain and simple. And his punching and combinations showed a clear edge in skill over Villante, which is a good sign. He is a guy making good on his opportunity, and he is hard to root against, but the UFC needs to avoid thinking Maldonado is championship material. His streak has been buoyed by facing the lower echelon of the UFC’s ranks. As long as they avoid the Glover Teixeira’s of the division, Maldonado has carved a spot out for himself in the UFC.
As for CB Dolloway, his stock is on the rise after a fast KO over his Brazilian opponent in Brazil. Dolloway has seen a lot of ups and downs in his UFC career, and this victory brings him to 8-5 overall for the company. He needs a quality win, as he has been beating the midling ranks but failed in his bigger fights (Mark Munoz, Tim Boetsch). Look for Dolloway to face off against one of the new wave of fighters in the division that rate above him, such as Tim Kennedy, Costa Phillipou or Tarec Daffiedine. Should he fail to break through against a bigger name, Dolloway may be on the cut list.