The TUF 14 Finale takes place Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The event will mark the end of an era for the franchise, as it will be the final time that the finale will air on Spike TV.
The 14th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” featured the bantamweights and featherweights for the first time, and the smaller divisions delivered on all levels. The latest installment of the series was full of brutal finishes and submission stoppages, in what was called the most exciting season yet by UFC president Dana White.
John Dodson and TJ Dillashaw will be representing the bantamweights, while Dennis Bermudez and Diego Brandao will clash in the featherweight final. The TUF 14 coaches will finally settle their beef in the main event, as Jason “Mayhem” Miller will step back into the Octagon for the first time since 2005 against Michael Bisping.
The ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) staff weighs in with their thoughts and predictions on each of the main card bouts that will air on Spike TV Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT. We want to hear your thoughts on the fights and your predictions too!
Jason “Mayhem” Miller (23-7) vs. Michael Bisping (21-3)
KELVIN HUNT: Miller has been out of action for over a year and I think that’ll be a factor in this one as well as it being a bad fight stylistically for Miller. Bisping has fought and defeated fighters with skillsets similar to Miller before and I don’t see this one being any different. This is a five rounder and Bisping is always in shape. I see Bisping keeping this one standing and winning a decision.
JOSH CROSS: It will be good to finally see these two fight after their dislike for one another has built up over the course of this season. While Miller might be anxious to finally get his hands on Bisping, I think that in reality the former host of MTV’s Bully Beat Down is going to be in for a long night. I think Bisping will control this fight wherever it goes. Miller is tough and I don’t think he’ll get finished, but I don’t see him winning this fight. Pick: Bisping via Decision
RICHARD MANN: It’s kind of shocking that Bisping is such a big favorite. Of course, it is likely that he will be able to stay on the outside and potshot “Mayhem” en route to a victory. However, Miller is an underrated kicker on the feet and will have a serious advantage on the ground. I still do not think Miller will be entirely successful in the UFC, but he has enough game to defeat Bisping. If he can’t pick up a victory over a fighter like Bisping than he is certainly more hype than substance. Mayhem by decision.
DENNY HODGE: “Mayhem” hopes to bring Bully Beatdown to the Octagon against Michael Bisping Saturday night as the two coaches from TUF 14 square off. Bisping has the edge in the standup department, but “Mayhem” is a serious threat to him on the ground. Bisping is pretty good defensively from his back, but if he ends up there too many times against Miller, he could be in deep trouble. Miller has very good top control and can deliver a steady stream of ground-and-pound should he be able to get the fight on the mat and keep it there. The fight starts standing however, so look for Bisping to use his very good one-two combo as he dips in and out of range scoring points to take an early lead in the first round. I think Miller will close the distance and do well in the clinch, where he will work Bisping to the ground and win by submission in the second round.
Tony Ferguson (12-2) vs. Yves Edwards (41-17-1)
KELVIN HUNT: I think this is Ferguson’s fight to lose. He’s the larger fighter, better wrestler, and has the power to put Edwards away if he connects. I think he pressures Edwards from the onset and finishes him late via TKO.
JOSH CROSS: Edwards like to stand and trade, and I think that won’t be a good game plan for him in this matchup. Ferguson is a heavy hitter and many have questioned Edwards’ chin as of late. I think we’ll find out just how suspect Edwards’ chin really is, and in the end, I think Ferguson passes this test fairly decisively. Pick: Ferguson via TKO
RICHARD MANN: This fight is an example of good matchmaking. Ferguson will be the better striker and should take this fight. However, Edwards is a tough veteran that should provide a stiff test for anyone looking to take a step up to the next level. It would be nice to see Edwards take the fight to the floor here, but Ferguson’s wrestling game will probably be too tough. Ferguson by decision
DENNY HODGE: Edwards is 3-1 in his latest run with the UFC, and rebounded nicely with a win in his last outing by TKO after being knocked out cold by Sam Stout at UFC 131. Ferguson won Season 13 of TUF, and in addition to being 2-0 in the UFC, has won his last 5 straight by TKO/KO. Edwards is a crafty veteran who has seen it all in the cage, but Ferguson will present problems wherever the fight goes. He will have the advantage on the feet, and has power to end the fight quickly. Ferguson also has the ability to use his wrestling to further dictate the pace and location of the fight if need be. Ferguson will do damage on the feet, and will mix in his wrestling to win this fight on the scorecards.
Dennis Bermudez (7-2) vs. Diego Brandao (13-7)
KELVIN HUNT: I hope Bermudez has improved his wrestling since the show ended. I’ve read a lot of people talking about his wrestling background, but his wrestling was unimpressive on the show in my opinion. Bermudez isn’t comfortable with getting hit with power as he’ll ball up and shoot for takedowns from way too far out when hurt. If he can’t get it to the ground he’ll get put away on the feet. I think Brandao lands a big shot at some point and puts him away via TKO.
JOSH CROSS: In the featherweight finals Dennis Bermudez will be taking on Diego Brandao. Diego has shown just how much knockout power his hands possess. I think that Bermudez needs to get this fight on the ground quick if he wants to have a chance to win this match. I just don’t see that happening though. I think that Bermudez just has too many holes in his game that Brandao will be able to exploit and pick up the win. Pick: Brandao via TKO
RICHARD MANN: Dana White stopped short of calling Diego Brandao “The Next Anderson Silva,” so that can’t be good for his career. Brandao has had his chances against known fighters, but came up short almost every time. Bermudez should be able to win this fight on the feet. Bermudez by TKO.
DENNY HODGE: Nobody was hotter than Brandao on TUF this season. He ran through his opponents in devastating fashion en route to booking a date against Bermudez in the featherweight final. Brandao is an intense and aggressive fighter who is dangerous on his feet, and also possesses a very nice ground-game. Bermudez will have to survive the early onslaught from Brandao and try to put him on the mat to win the fight. I’m all aboard the Brandao hype-train. Brandao by TKO.
John Dodson (11-5) vs. TJ Dillashaw (4-0)
KELVIN HUNT: Great fight here. Dodson has the speed advantage and the key will be if Dillashaw can get him to the ground and keep him there. I have my doubts about it, plus Dodson is way more experienced. I think he will be able to keep the fight standing and pick Dillashaw apart to win a decision.
JOSH CROSS: If Dillashaw wants to win this fight against the more experienced Dodson, I think he is going to need to take this fight to the ground at some point. I think Dodson will do better on his feet in this fight than he will on the mat. Dillashaw could very well win this fight, but I think Dodson’s experience will give him the edge in this fight, and the victory. Pick: Dodson via Decision
RICHARD MANN: I’ve followed Dodson closely since his days in the UWC. He is probably one of the five best flyweights on the planet. The problem is that the weight class is simply not a good career move at this point. He has dynamic skills on the feet and is a solid wrestler. However, in this fight Dillashaw will be a bigger and stronger wrestler. This could be an exciting fight, or Dillashaw could simply hold top position for the better part of three rounds. Dillashaw by decision
DENNY HODGE: Dodson is more of a 125’er, but has a huge opportunity to show the world what he can do at bantamweight. You know what you are going to get with Dillashaw. He will punch to setup his takedowns in this one early, but it won’t be easy against the very quick Dodson. Speed kills, and Dodson possesses a lot of quickness. He showed that he also knows how to use angles and throw strikes from just about everywhere. This fight could be the Fight of the Night, or it could be a snoozefest if Dillashaw manages to get multiple takedowns and remain on top. Dillashaw will get his takedowns, but Dodson will win in the scrambles and do more on the feet on his way to a unanimous decision victory.