With only two slots left to make the finals, and with the finale just days away, there are sure to be fireworks in the last two semifinal bouts to determine this season’s winners at bantamweight and featherweight.
At the training center, it’s all about the first fight of the night between Johnny Bedford and John Dodson.
As the coaches discuss the gameplan on how each fighter will get coached, both guys discuss why they will each be able to implement their will against one another.
After the weigh-ins, Johnny Bedford talks about his dislike for Dodson being the team snitch, and gets in a last-minute workout in the pool.
“At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is winning,” Bedford said. “Getting to hurt him is only a bonus.”
John Dodson tells Louis Gaudinot that he can stop every single takedown attempt that Bedford will attempt, and that will be the difference in the fight.
Bantamweight Semifinal Bout #2 – Team Miller’s Johnny Bedford vs. Team Miller’s John Dodson
Round 1 – Touch of gloves to start. Dodson feints his jab, and Bedford scores with a leg kick. Dodson returns a kick of his own. Nice exchange by both guys. Bedford fires off another kick. Dodson lands a kick and nice left hand to the body. Bedford is feinting the takedown by changing levels but not shooting. Bedford clinches and Dodson goes to work with short shots before stepping away. Nice jab from Dodson. Dodson tags Bedford with a left hand just as he was throwing his own jab. Beford leans in and eats a knee. He tries to clinch and put Dodson on the cage but Dodson circles out and away. Dodson’s speed is giving him a big advantage so far. He’s in and out quickly and using good angles. Bedford locks up a thai clinch and throws a flurry of knees that partially land as Dodson tries to block them up the middle. Dodson makes space and lands a big left hook. Bedford ducks under a strike of Dodson and puts him on his back but only for a moment. Dodson is quickly back up. Bedford misses with a wild spinning backfist. A minute to go now. Big exchange. Dodson is landing the cleaner punches. Bedford initiates an exchange against the cage. Big, big uppercut to the body from Bedford. He leans in and Dodson scores with a knee. Dodson dumps Bedford to the mat, but he’s back up and it’s the end of the round. Very close, but I believe that Dodson took the round.
Round 2 – Bedford scores first with a kick. Dodson counters with a punch. Dodson with the kick. He then lands an inside leg kick and a big knee as Bedford leans in. Bedford scores with a knee and unleashes a nice combination that lands flush to the face of Dodson. Good start for Bedford. Bedford misses with the headkick. Bedford eludes a body shot, then comes forward and eats a HUGE left hook that drops him. He looks to be out. Dodson follows up with six big hammerfists leaving Bedford unconscious on the canvas. What a brutal finish.
OFFICIAL RESULT: John Dodson def. Johnny Bedford by KO (punches) Rd 2
After waking up and being checked out, Bedford was asked where he was. His reply was simple and immediate.
“I’m in Ohio.”
Later at the house, Bryan and Johnny are in the hot tub discussing Diego Brandao. Neither guy believes that Diego can sustain his rabid pace for longer than one round.
Brandao seems unconcerned about anything other than imposing his will against the veteran Caraway.
“My game plan is to go over there and bang,” Diego said. “I have a couple of flying knees for him.”
Bryan tries to explain his pre-fight anxieties to his team and coaches, telling them that he throws up before almost every single fight.
Coach Miller believes that he has the skills to win the whole show if he could focus his thoughts.
“Losing is the worst thing ever in the world to me,” Caraway said. “And sometimes I let it consume me. Sometimes I try not to lose instead of trying to win.”
Coach Miller shows up at the house to loosen up the mood, rocking some red underoos on a bmx bike. He makes a night of it with bike jumps into the pool and beer pong with the guys.
While the guys are partying, Diego is in the house focusing on the fight and believes that it is his time. We will soon see.
Featherweight Semifinal Bout #2 – Team Miller’s Bryan Caraway vs. Team Bisping’s Diego Brandao
Round 1 – Brandao comes across the cage quickly and establishes his kicks early. Caraway lands a nice left hand to set up a takedown attempt but doesn’t get it. Brandao breaks and steps away swinging for the fences. Caraway throws again trying to setup his shot but Brandao sprawls nicely. Caraway comes forward and clinches but Brandao fights his way out of the clinch and gets his back off the cage. Another big kick from Brandao spins Caraway around. Brandao flashes his jab, then counters a left hand from Caraway. Nice exchange as Brandao comes forward. Caraway counters a Brandao kick with a left hand. Brandao throws a looping left hand that scores. Brandao lands yet another brutal leg kick. Caraway shoots for a leg but gets stuffed then eats a big left hand. Brandao throws and lands another vicious leg kick. He comes right back with a crushing, looping right hand. He’s landing brutal shots. Brandao fakes a left, then throws the left hook that lands flush. WOW! He follows up with a flying knee that drops Caraway. He’s on top and delivering big right hands as Caraway desperately tries to control him from his back. It’s not working. Brandao is landing a flurry of shots. Caraway scrambles to his feet but only for a second as Brandao tags him with a head kick. Caraway is a tough kid showing a ton of heart right now. He’s taking a lot of punishment. Caraway is pretty much out on his feet as Brandao continues to pour it on. He’s back on the mat again, and I can’t believe the ref hasn’t stopped this. Brandao throws one more big right hand and it’s all over. They call it a TKO, but it looked like a knockout to me.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Diego Brandao def. Bryan Caraway by TKO (strikes) Rd 1
UFC president Dana White gives Bryan Caraway credit for fighting with tremendous heart, but also has words of praise for Diego Brandao.
“Diego has been phenomenal every time this kid has fought,” Dana White said.
“This kid’s got unbelievable killer instinct, and if he can continue to finish guys like this, he’s going to move right into the UFC and be a force.”
After the fight, Diego has some choice words for Dennis Bermudez who supposedly has been talking trash at the house. They will get the opportunity to put the beef to rest in the finale.
After recapping the season with some video highlights, UFC president Dana White calls the fights from this season the best in the history of the series.
Here are the matchups for this Saturday’s finale:
Bantamweight final – Team Bisping’s TJ Dillashaw vs. Team Miller’s John Dodson
Featherweight final – Team Bisping’s Diego Brandao vs. Team Miller’s Dennis Bermudez