The fourteenth season of the UFC’s flagship reality show The Ultimate Fighter has come to an end and Saturday night, it’s time for the finalists and the coaches to go to war. Opening the festivities is a bout between old school UFC lightweight veteran Yves Edwards (41-17-1) and TUF Season 13 alum “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (12-2). Following that match-up are the finals of the most recent TUF season featuring “The Menace” Dennis Bermudez (7-2) and “Ceara” Diego Brandao (13-7) at featherweight and TJ Dillashaw (4-0) and “The Magician” John Dodson (11-5) in the bantamweight division. Capping off the evening and the final season of TUF on Spike, coaches “Mayhem” Jason Miller (23-6) and “The Count” Michael Bisping (21-3) collide in the main event.
Tony Ferguson vs. Yves Edwards: Ferguson has used his solid boxing and powerful punches to put away all but five of his 14 opponents. Against him is a much smaller fighter who is more experienced, more well-rounded, and is a superior kickboxer. Yves Edwards was seen by many as the best lightweight fighter in MMA in the mid-2000s and, though he has had a few missteps, has still been impressive, going 7-2 since 2009. The outcome of this fight will likely be determined by Tony Ferguson’s approach. Should Ferguson decide to stand, he will have to face a faster and more refined opponent than he. If he decides to revert to his wrestling roots and grapple with the MMA veteran, he is larger and stronger than Edwards, but Edwards’ Jiu-Jitsu could pose a serious threat. Ferguson must execute clean takedowns and focus on control to get the decision. Unfortunately for him, Edwards has a lot more ways to end his night and will likely do so. Edwards via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2
Dennis Bermudez vs. Diego Brandao: The first match of the TUF Season 14 finals will feature 145lbs. powerhouses Dennis Bermudez of Team Mayhem and Diego Brandao of Team Bisping. Bermudez brings a solid ground game backed with Div. I All-American wrestling to the table and has shown himself to be a resilient fighter. Brandao, the top overall pick of the season, has dominated every one of his opponents on the show with his brutally aggressive striking. In a perfect world, Bermudez would control the bout and take a lay-and-pray decision over Brandao who has suspect wrestling abilities. However, Dennis took significant punishment in every bout he had on the show prior to taking control and snagging the win. Against Diego, that can’t happen. Look for Brandao to draw Bermudez into the pocket where he will find a home for one of his brutal hooks. After that, the killer instinct will take over and Bermudez will meet the same fate as Diego’s other TUF opponents. Brandao via KO (Punch), Round 1
TJ Dillashaw vs. John Dodson: The bantamweights will feature the more evenly matched pair of TUF 14 finalists as Team Mayhem double agent John Dodson squares off with Team Bisping’s stand-out wrestler TJ Dillashaw. Dodson drew heat on the show for leaking fight picks and training regimes to Team Bisping, but evidently has not suffered for it, as he systematically eliminated each of his opponents with sharp boxing in the pocket. Against Dillashaw he faces a serious issue. Many thought ill of TJ Dillashaw for ducking the “harder fight” against Dodson during the show; it is ironic that not only do they meet in the finals but that Dillashaw’s Div. I wrestling and solid Jiu-Jitsu background coupled with his superior size and strength make him the perfect man to defeat Dodson, who is a fairly one-dimensional striker. Dillashaw via Unanimous Decision
Jason Miller vs. Michael Bisping: After all The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winners have raised their crystal trophies and been awarded their UFC contracts, the coaches will meet in the center of the Octagon to settle a season’s worth of beef. In one corner is Jason Miller, a very respected submission fighter of international renown. In the other is Michael Bisping, one of the most successful products of the TUF house. For “Mayhem” his return to the UFC will teach him several valuable lessons. He is a phenomenal grappler, but his wrestling is weak and his striking is elementary at best. Bisping will present three problems, he is a much better striker, has some of the best takedown defense in the division, and is significantly larger. Bisping has stated he will be cutting 44 pounds to meet the 185lbs. limit whereas Miller is only of average size for a welterweight. Look for “The Count” to have his way with “Mayhem” on the feet for three rounds before stamping his record with yet another one-sided decision win. Bisping via Unanimous Decision