Good day Camel Clutchers and welcome to another weekend where the UFC is presenting us with some exciting MMA action for us to feast on. I hope you all enjoyed American Thanksgiving as much as I did, (standing in the freezing cold, waiting for mediocre shopping deals to appease my girlfriend.) But alas, this weekend should be much better as we have The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale, live from the Pearl at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In main event action the coaches from this season of the show, Middleweights Jason “Mayhem” Miller; the master of the ring entrance and Michael “The Count” Bisping; the master of being a dick on national television will do battle. The card will also feature the Bantamweight and Featherweight finales from the show as well as a number of bouts featuring cast-members from this season of the show. In a non-TUF 14 related bout, the winner of last season’s show Tony Ferguson returns to the cage against veteran Yves Edwards.
I’m going to take a moment and be honest here, I didn’t really follow this season of the show. In fact, I rarely do. I do however catch up on the fights through YouTube and other video channels, so I do have a fairly decent idea of what each fighter brings to the table. However, I’m not going to go into any detail about the undercard of this event, because a) I don’t know much about them and b) you probably don’t care enough about them. With that out of the way, let’s get straight into the SPIKE televised main card.
Bantamweight Bout: Johnny Bedford vs. Louis Gaudinot
Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot is the easily remembered green-haired fighter from this season. He is a member of Team Tiger Schulmann fighting out of Yonkers, New York. At only 5’3” Gaudinot may be more well-suited to be a 125-Pound fighter, but for now he must deal with facing bigger and stronger fighters in the UFC’s 135-Pound division. Gaudinot showed some flashy striking on the show, including an extended use of spinning back fists. If he wants to win this bout, he will need to use his speed advantage and move constantly away from Bedford, popping in and out with strikes and retreating before his wrestling based opponent can initiate a clinch or shoot for a takedown. Gaudinot owns a career record of 5-1.
Analysis and Prediction: I like Gaudinot and he has shown some flashes of potential, but he is over-matched physically in this one. Unless he can catch Bedford with some flashy strikes and flurry for a finish it’s unlikely that he can take this fight home. Bedford is too experienced and too strong at this point in their careers. It won’t be pretty, but there will be a lot of takedowns and a lot of grinding and ground and pound from Bedford as he takes a workmanlike Unanimous Decision. Johnny Bedford via Unanimous Decision
Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson vs. Yves Edwards
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson returns to the UFC to continue his climb to the top of the Lightweight mountain. Ferguson was the winner of last season’s version of The Ultimate Fighter where he competed as a Welterweight. The 27-year-old from Michigan is a former NCAA Division 2 Wrestler from Grand Valley State University. Ferguson is a member of the DeathClutch Gym fighting out of Ventura, California. Ferguson is able to use his strong wrestling to take down and grind his opponents with ground and pound, but lately has been showcasing his solid striking skills. In his two previous UFC victories he defeated Ramsey Nijem via KO and soundly broke the jaw of Aaron Riley both inside one round. Ferguson has a career record of 12-2, including 11 wins via stoppage, 8 from strikes.
Yves “The Thugjitsu Master” Edwards is a veteran fighter who will provide a solid measurement of Ferguson’s place in the Lightweight division. The Bahamian born Edwards is a member of the American Top Team who now fights out of Woodlands, Texas. Edwards is a decent boxer with good hand and foot speed. He is also an excellent grappler with top-level Jiu Jitsu skills. With this being his 60th professional bout it is unlikely that Ferguson will bring anything that Edwards hasn’t seen before, but the question will be if Edwards can stand and bang with Ferguson who has shown a proficiency for knocking out his opponents. Edwards owns a career record of 41-17-1.
Analysis and Prediction: Edwards has seen plenty in his time as a pro fighter and like I mentioned earlier it’s unlikely that Ferguson brings anything that he hasn’t seen before. However, Edwards is now 35 and has shown some signs of slowing down in his past few bouts, including a devastating knockout loss to Sam Stout. Ferguson’s strength and wrestling give him the ability to control where the bout takes place. It’s likely that he mixes things up a bit more against a solid opponent like Edwards, shooting for more takedowns than we have seen in his past few bouts. But he is too strong and simply hits too hard for Edwards to hang with, expect some flashes of brilliance from both Ferguson and Edwards, but in the second round, Ferguson will earn a takedown that Edwards won’t get out from underneath. Tony Ferguson via TKO in Round Two
Bantamweight TUF Finale Bout: T.J. Dillashaw vs. John Dodson
T.J. “The Viper” Dillashaw is a 25-year-old fighter from Sonora, California. He entered the Ultimate Fighter house as a highly touted and undefeated prospect, from Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male gym. Dillashaw is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Cal State Fullerton, who has been fighting professionally for just over a year. Both on the show and in his bouts prior to the show, he used his superior wrestling skills to control his opponents. His stand up has been improving, but it’s his athelticism and his wrestling skills which are his bread and butter. With great cardio, Dillashaw relentlessly pressures his opponents constantly working for takedowns and using ground and pound once in top control. Dillashaw owns an undefeated pro record of 4-0.
John “The Magician” Dodson is a 27-year-old fighter who is a member of Team Greg Jackson from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dodson was a decorated High School wrestler in New Mexico, winning the state championship twice, but never really moving on to a collegiate career. Dodson also has experience training in Kickboxing and Gaidojutsu in addition to his wrestling skills. Dodson uses his wrestling experience to keep his fights standing using his solid boxing skills and punching power to do the work for him. In the season finale of the show, Dodson showed how dangerous he can be, when he brutally KO’ed Johnny Bedford. Dodson owns a career record of 11-5, but has never been finished in his MMA career.
Analysis and Prediction: Dillashaw is an extremely talented prospect, but this will likely be his toughest challenge to date. Dodson is a smaller fighter for the 135-Pound division, but he is still extremely strong and his compact frame makes him very difficult to control. He also has extensive wrestling background which is the base for his strong takedown defense. Dillashaw mostly controlled Dustin Pague in his semi-final bout, but he was tagged a couple of times and if that happens against Dodson it might be lights out. As it is, I think with Greg Jackson in his corner Dodson will have an excellent game plan and has the skills to frustrate the youngster. He’ll have to defend takedowns the whole way and might even lose the first round, but I think as the fight drags on, Dodson will take over before finally ending the fight with his hands in the third round. John Dodson via TKO in Round Three
Featherweight TUF Finale Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Diego Brandao
Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez is a 24-year-old fighter from Saugerties, New York. He is a member of the Long Island MMA Gym in Lindenhurst, New York. Bermudez like many of the other successful fighters from this show is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler, having wrestled at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. In the house Bermudez was able to use his wrestling to control his opponents and finish all three of his opponents, two by TKO and one via Submission. Despite this, there were still a few rough spots as Bermudez was rocked in a couple of his fights. Bermudez holds a professional MMA record of 7-2, but started his career 7-0, before hitting a two fight skid before entering the TUF house.
Diego “Ceara” Brandao is a professional fighter from Manaus, Brazil. A Muay Thai fighter with an extremely aggressive style, Brandao has been one of the most-talked about fighters from this season. Like Bantamweight finalist John Dodson; Brandao is a member of Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico. Although he was a bit of a loose cannon in the house, he still proved to be a very fierce competitor who finished all of his opponents in the first round. Being a Muay Thai fighter Brandao loves to use leg kicks to punish his opponents and slow them down making them easier targets for his punches and knee combinations. Brandao owns a professional MMA record of 13-7 with 8 wins by TKO or KO.
Analysis and Prediction: Bermudez should know what to expect. Brandao is going to come out like a Racoon with rabies trying to protect it’s cubs. He’s going to be throwing bombs and swinging for the fences. Bermudez didn’t show the best striking defense on the show, so hopefully he’s improved that or it might be another short bout for Brandao. Brandao hasn’t had to show much of his Jiu Jitsu and Bermudez is going to need to wrestle him to the ground to make him show it off, if he has any chance of winning this bout. As it is, I don’t think this one will last too long. Brandao has too much firepower and unless he gasses himself out, he should be able to earn a stoppage midway through the second round. Diego Brandao via TKO in Round Two
Main Event: Middleweight Bout: Jason Miller vs. Michael Bisping
Jason “Mayhem” Miller is the master of the creative ring-entrance. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai based fighter, who trains at the Reign Training Center in Lake Forest, California, as well as at Kings MMA also in Southern California. Miller is one of the bigger cross-over stars from MMA mostly due to his time spent as the host of an MTV Reality TV Show called Bully Beatdown. Miller is an extremely accomplished and well-travelled MMA fighter, he has fought for a number of promotions including the UFC, DREAM, WFA, Strikeforce and ICON Sport. Miller has fought some very tough opponents in his time and has done fairly well. Miller has decent stand up, although he tends to throw winging, wild punches instead of tight combinations. The mat is where Miller holds a distinct advantage as his grappling and Jiu Jitsu game is top-notch. Miller is a BJJ black belt with a career record of 24-7 with 14 wins via Submission.
Michael “The Count” Bisping is an English fighter who is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in Manchester, England. He has made his UFC career on the strength of his reality TV appearances as he was the winner of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, he then made most of the world hate him with his antics on The Ultimate Fighter: USA vs. UK. Beyond his reality show escapades, Bisping is still a very accomplished fighter who has had a lot of success in the UFC. He is a strong boxer with fairly mediocre but improving wrestling skills and very unproven grappling skills, despite his claims to the contrary. Bisping does not box with a lot of power but instead relies on a “jab and jog” approach. Throwing punches while ducking in and out and relying on his speed and footwork to land a few punches before retreating and avoiding damage. Bisping has found a lot of success with this strategy as he holds a career record of 21-3, with his losses coming against elite fighters like Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Rashad Evans.
Analysis and Prediction: This is a pretty tough fight to call. Miller is a veteran and although it has been a long time since he fought in the UFC, he shouldn’t be feeling any jitters entering the fight. Standing I would give the edge to Bisping, as his style is tighter and more crisp, pretty much built to counter the offense of a wild puncher like Miller. Wrestling I would call pretty much even, slight edge to Miller for technique, but Bisping is likely the physically stronger fighter. Grappling is where Miller holds a significant edge, as he is a very elite level Jiu Jitsu practitioner and Bisping doesn’t spend much time on the mat.
If Bisping wants to win the bout, he’s likely going to want to keep it standing. No matter what Miller says about wanting to stand and trade with him, Bisping knows that he has the edge standing. He has said that he wants to take Miller down and pound him out, but that might not be wise, as Miller is extremely active and dangerous off of his back, and Bisping might be putting himself in harms way. Bisping should look to keep the fight standing and use his usual jab and jog to earn points and work to accumulate damage.
In a close bout, I’ll admit that I hate Bisping and will be rooting against him, so I might as well pick Mayhem. The other thing that I’m going to hope for is that Miller has an awesome fight entrance lined up for us, for his return to the Octagon. I think at some point he can force a scramble and from there he can work submission attempts and overwhelm Bisping until he latches on a Submission and earns a victory. Jason Miller via Submission in Round Three
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