The Ultimate Fighter: Season 14 – Team Bisping vs. Team Mayhem
December 7, 2011 · 0 Comments
Before I start I need to point out that if you are a fight fan then you absolutely MUST track down the back catalogue of fights from this series. If you are patient enough to wait for the DVD great but if not try and find them online, they’ll be around somewhere. I can’t stress enough that you need to see this series for the fights alone. For the first time in UFC’s history the bantamweight and featherweight divisions were prominently displayed on national television. This was a genius move by UFC because the two aforementioned divisions need all the help they can get in order to come across as “important” as the other ones. I’ll tell you right now that I am a die-hard MMA fan. However not being able to have access to online fights as much as I’d like, sometimes makes it difficult to track down the best fights and I don’t always get to see the ppv’s on ESPN. The reason I talk of this is because the bantamweight and featherweight divisions were a part of WEC long before the UFC. For those who don’t know WEC was the UFC’s sister promotion World Extreme Cage fighting, that featured the lighter, more often faster paced fighters of the world. To the best of my knowledge WEC was seldom seen on UK televisions so it’s difficult for us Brits to really appreciate these divisions just yet. I can understand UFC head honcho Dana White putting these guys as main even fighters because it puts them on the same wave-length as the rest of the divisions. However to be brutally honest, they are not on the same par just yet. That’s due to a lack of exposure and until the public are shown the lighter weight classes on a more frequent basis they will continue to draw lack-lustre ppv buys. With that being said, this series of the stale Ultimate Fighter formula, gave the brand a much needed shake up and provided some of the finest TUF entertainment in the series thus far. Let’s take a look at the show that was broadcast on FX in the UK.
The main event was Michael Bisping vs. Jason “Mayhem” Miller in a coach’s battle that hadn’t been seen since the early stages of TUF. Michael Bisping walked into the fight with a three fight win streak and after having win streaks snapped at the worst possible times in the past; Bisping desperately needed a win here. Mayhem Miller arguably was placed on TUF opposite Bisping because of his celebrity status in the US due to being a host of MTV’s “Bully Beatdown” series and because he would get a reaction out of Bisping throughout the series. Well, he certainly achieved that. Bisping promised “to smash his f****** face in” at the weigh ins and looking at Mayhem’s face at the end of the fight, he achieved that. The story of this 3 round battle was Michael Bisping using superior boxing skills to just pick apart Miller. I mean you’ve never seen someone get picked apart by technical boxing so bad before. Bisping kept landing strike after strike for which Mayhem had no answer. From the opening round Mayhem set a frantic pace and managed to land a few shots before trying to take Bisping down. He managed a half mount before Bisping got back to his feet not long before the round ended. It was the second round that really saw Michael Bisping dominate Jason Miller in a huge way. Mayhem had noticeably slowed down and Bisping was just picking him apart on the feet. A controversial moment appeared when Mayhem was down on all fours mocking Bisping who retaliated with a kick to the face that missed. Why that wasn’t mentioned more I don’t know because it was 100% illegal and had Bisping landed he would’ve been disqualified. The third round saw Mayhem’s cardio just disappear completely. His hands down, noticeably breathing heavily, Mayhem was a punching bag for Bisping. The fight was miraculously stopped after Bisping launched an assault of knees to the body and punches. Your winner: Michael Bisping via TKO in round 3 of 5. The post fight interview saw Bisping declare that he didn’t think he had a good performance and Mayhem saying that “he just got tired.” My personal opinion is that Mayhem may not have a future in the UFC after that one. He barely looked competitive in the fight and just covered up for the most part or taunted Bisping. It was sad to see, but hopefully Mayhem can recover and who knows he may be given one more shot. Where Michael Bisping goes is anyone’s guess right now. It’s obvious that he needs a big name after this and winning his last four fights against Dan Miller, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jorge Rivera and now Miller. With Chael Sonnen, Mark Munoz, Vitor Belfort, Anthony Johnson booked up, I believe that either Demian Maia or Brian Stann could be next for the Brit. Things often change in the UFC but they have a marketable fighter on their hands who’d they love to get to number one contender status so he can headline against Anderson Silva at a huge stadium show in the UK (most likely Wembley Arena.)
In the first final fight of the evening, John Dodson took on TJ Dillishaw for the title of the UFC’s first ever Bantamweight Ultimate Fighter winner. To put it simply, John Dodson is going to be a huge force to be reckoned with in the UFC. I don’t care that he’s one of the smallest guys they have, he packs some amazing power in his hands – just ask Johnny Bedford! TJ Dillishaw felt the power that Dodson possesses big time in this fight. The two came out swinging right from the opening buzzer but Dodson was landing more shots consistently before a huge left hand knocks TJ silly followed by another that sends him to the canvas. Dodson came in with some awesome ground and pound before TJ tried for a single leg take-down as Herb Dean jumped in and stopped the fight. A lot of people complained about the stoppage being too early but I have to disagree. The first shot knocked the hell out of TJ and he looked woozy whilst trying for the take down. Dodson has some of the most sickening ground and pound out there – it’s hard hitting and super fast. Think Cheick Kongo on pure adrenaline! Either way you look at it, Dodson won the fight and was the new ultimate fighter.
If you can even believe it the second Ultimate Fighter final of the night also finished in the first round and was even more exciting than the previous one. Heavy favourite, Brazilian Diego Brandao defeated Dennis Bermudez by first round submission due to an arm bar that severely hurt Bermudez. However I believe Bermudez was over looked in this fight and he proved why by giving as good as he got. Like John Dodson and TJ Dillishaw these two set a frantic pace right from the get go and were swinging rights and lefts. The two went back and forth hitting each other with powerful shots before Bermudez was knocked down by the Brazilian. As he tried to recover he got by a flying knee that again put him down before he made his way back to his feet for a second time. Diego Brandao than ran into a precision right hand by Bermudez that dropped him similar to what Rich Franklin did to Chuck Liddel at UFC 115. Bermudez was hitting some hard shots on the ground but tried to maintain his posture due to the Brazilians jiu jitsu prowess. With 13 seconds left to go Brandao managed to trap the left arm that Bermudez carelessly left out there and secured a perfect arm bar for an immediate tap out and to become the featherweight Ultimate Fighter. This was easily the second best Ultimate Fighter finale fight after Forrest Griffin – Stephan Bonnar.
Louis Gaudinot (the one with green hair) took on Johnny Bedford (the guy who got knocked out so bad in his last fight he thought he was in his hometown of Cleveland) in the first fight of the undercard. Round one was Johnny Bedford just beating on Gaudinot senseless. There was a huge size difference between the two which is seldom seen between fighters in the same division. Never the less Bedford used his size to his advantage and pressed the pace of the fight. Bedford took Gaudinot down and pounded on him with hard knees, elbows and punches repeatedly for the first round. Things didn’t improve when he managed to mount Gaudinot either. Round two was pretty much the same thing. Bedford would take Gaudinot down at will, get the mount and just hammer away at him. It was clear Gaudinot couldn’t do anything on the ground due to Johnny Bedford’s size. Bedford hit a beautiful elbow in between Gaudinot’s arms while attempting to cover up. Bedford attempted an arm-bar but couldn’t secure it before time ran out. Round three was the beginning of the end and Johnny Bedford hit Gaudinot with some really hard shots, great knees and referee Steve Mazagatti stepped in to call it off. It looks like Bedford may get a chance with the UFC after this victory and his size will be a huge factor in helping him in future fights. The rest of the undercard featured John Albert defeating Dustin Pague in round one in a manner that’s seldom seen in the UFC. He used Pague’s own arm to wrap around his head while raining down strikes on him. It was incredibly creative and effective and led to the victory via TKO in round one. In the remaining fight Tony Ferguson defeated fellow lightweight Yves Edwards in a three round boxing battle. This fight was a demonstration of Fergusons iron chin and ability to press forward whilst still striking. He was taking everything that Edwards threw at him and continued to just walk through them which was quite remarkable considering Edwards threw some pretty crisp strikes including a hard head kick at one point. Tony took the win via unanimous decision and moves up in the lightweight rankings.
There you have The Ultimate Fighter season 14 in the history books. It was a great show of fights and definitely brought some much needed attention to the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions. The show managed to move Michael Bisping on up to his next challenge after being seen by a huge audience. In America it’s likely he’s seen as the heel but that’s fine because as pro-wrestling and MMA fans know, most fans are going to pay to see the heel get his ass kicked. Verdict for this series: buy it on DVD – it’s a keeper!
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