After one of the most active and exciting seasons as far as fights go, we finally get to see 4 young fighters scrap their way to two contracts to fight in the UFC. We will also see several fighters from the cast on the card trying to work their way up the hard route into the back door of the UFC. The icing on this cake will be the main event of the evening, the return of Jason “Mayhem” Miller to the Octagon in a much anticipated bout between him and Michael “the Count” Bisping. Let’s take a look at the three main event fights for the evening for the TUF 14 Finale and give our picks for each.
Michael Bisping (21-3-0) VS. Jason Miller (23-7-0)
We’ve spent the entire season watching these two attempt to show some sort of animosity toward each other, but it seems to be more smoke and mirrors than anything else. The two fighters could pass as fraternal twins if it wasn’t for the accents. While the pranks and jokes built up all season, the real question comes this Saturday; can Miller handle Bisping on the feet?
It’s no secret Michael Bisping is as technical on the feet as they come, but with this common knowledge we tend to overlook his great takedown defense and his incredible ability to control opponents off his back. His grappling skills are extremely underrated, and is Miller plans to keep him on the ground he better be prepared for a long night of work.
Bisping may not be seen as having knock out power, but his footwork and ability to jump in and out with combos allows him to break his opponent and rack up a hefty landed shot count. This evasiveness may be the factor that gives him the win Saturday night.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller has not seen the gate of the Octagon close behind him since his lone appearance and defeat in 2005 to Georges St. Pierre. Racking up decent victories in Strikeforce and Dream has lead him to this pivotal point in his career. He will enter the Octagon once more against a top level middleweight contender with hopes of a different outcome.
Miller has an incredible ground game based in Jiu Jitsu with an understanding and appreciation for the art that is unheard of from most fighters in MMA. When on the ground he brings big trouble from every angle. He’s held his own with ground aces such as Jake Shields and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, as well as forcing Sakuraba to tap for the first time in 14 years at Dream 16.
If Jason Miller can find a way to keep it on the ground and keep out of Bisping’s guard, we may see a bit of an upset from the Bully Beatdown star. But don’t expect Bisping to allow this. His stellar footwork and takedown defense is going to keep it standing as long as possible. A man with only three losses in 24 fights, coming only from the likes of a split decision to former champ Rashad Evans and a surging and heavier Dan Henderson knockout, expect to see him hold his own very easily against “Mayhem” on Saturday night. Get ready for a boxing clinic that will ultimately lead to a decision victory for the Brit.
TUF 14 Featherweight Final
Diego Brandao (13-7-0) VS. Dennis Bermudez (7-2-0)
Diego Brandao quickly became a feared man in the TUF house, punching his way through his opponents with ease. The Jackson MMA surging featherweight has a pressing pace that seems to be unmatched, but at the same time he can show discipline, looking for the right opportunity to attack. Once he smells blood, we see a smaller, Brazilian “Iceman” appear as he attacks and does not stop until the ref pulls him off.
Dennis Bermudez doesn’t keep it a secret of what he wants to do with his opponents: take them down and control them on the ground. The problem he finds more often than not, is he can end up taking a beating in his shots for the takedown. Something no man wants to do when your opponent is as hard hitting as Diego Brandao. Diego is no slouch on the ground either, he just hardly gets the opportunity to show his black belt skills as eight of his career wins are with his hands.
If Bermudez can survive the first round he may have a chance to start controlling the ground fight to attempt to notch out a victory, but this will be no easy task. Expect Diego to press, but keep it on his feet. Brandao may be a fireball, but he is coming from the camp of superior gameplans.
It will be a short night of work for Diego Brandao. Bermudez will attempt the takedown one too many times and end up on the losing end of a KO or TKO laste in the first round.
A classic striker vs. wrestler match is upon us, and it will definitely be an exciting one. Dillashaw, coming from Team Alpha Male with a 4-0 record, will be taking on Jackson MMA’s kickboxing standout, John Dodson. An interesting matchup that will keep us waiting to see if superior wrestling can take superior striking out of the fight.
Dillashaw is an impressive wrestler with quick takedowns and a great ability to hold you down for a long period of time. He has great striking from the guard and allows no room for error. If he can control the pace and get the early takedown, Dillashaw may be able to control the entire fight. His attempts may be many, but the will not be sloppy or slow.
Dodson is an incredibly fast and evasive striker. He can move in and out of the pocket swiftly, easily controlling the pace. John Dodson will wait for the openings and expose any flaw shown from his opponent. Training out of Greg Jackson’s camp, Dodson has an incredible takedown defense, which will make it a tough night for Dillashaw.
Both of these fighters show one flaw in all of their fights in the house that may get them into trouble Saturday night. T.J. Dillashaw’s gas tank doesn’t seem to be on full coming into the fight. He uses a lot of energy focusing on the takedown. But even with his exhaustion he still shows heart and the ability to keep pressing forward. Dodson seems to let his show off attitude get in the way at times. His smiling and laughing at opponents in the Octagon will be a bad mistake for him one day, possibly even Saturday.
Most people see Dodson edging out a unanimous decision victory, but I see it different. Dillashaw is going to find that one successful takedown and hand Dodson his first finish, a TKO in the later minutes of round 2.