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Lyoto Machida: C.B. Dollaway ‘hits hard, but I believe I can stop him’

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Wander Roberto, Inovafoto

Lyoto Machida meets C.B. Dollaway in a five-round main event at UFC Fight Night 58, but the former light heavyweight wasn’t expecting to meet "The Doberman" in his next bout. "The Dragon," who asked to fight Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold or even "Jacare" Souza, was slated to battle with "The Doberman" in his second UFC main event in his native country.

"I was talking to my manager about possible fights, and he said all of those guys had fights scheduled, so there was a chance that I would have to fight Dollaway," Machida told MMAFighting.com. "He was the best option available based on the UFC ranking, so I kind of expected him to be my next opponent."

Dollaway is no stranger to Brazilian UFC cards. After scoring wins over "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" veterans Daniel Sarafian and Cezar Ferreira in Brazil, Dollaway returns for the toughest test of his professional career.

"He’s a complete fighter," Machida said of "The Doberman." "He has some flaws, of course, but he has a good stand up game, good takedowns and a good ground game. He’s a complete fighter, and that makes him dangerous. He hits hard, but I believe I can stop him."

And by "stop him," Machida means finish Dollaway on Dec. 20.

"I don’t think (it will last five rounds). I believe I can finish this fight earlier," Machida said. "I’m not underestimating him, but I’ve learned a lot in my past fights. I have learned a lot in my fight against (Chris) Weidman, so it’s likely that I will finish this fight before the fifth round.

"Whatever it takes. I’m training hard on my grappling skills and my striking, so I want to finish him with a knockout or a submission."

Coming off a loss to reigning middleweight champion Chris Weidman in July, "The Dragon" wants another shot at the UFC gold, but knows that he will need more than a win over Dollaway to guarantee him another title fight.

"I don’t think this fight can put me right into a title fight next, but it’s an important fight for me," Machida said. "I have to fight well, prove that I’m a top 3 fighter, and work on better opportunities for me to work my way back to the title again."