Season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) concludes tomorrow night (Dec. 3, 2011) with its live finale set to air at 8 p.m. ET on Spike TV from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of TUF 14 Finale, beginning with the Spike TV telecast at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 3. In addition, we will deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the under card "Prelims" action that will stream live online via Facebook much earlier on fight night.
Historically, the TUF Finales have been all about the finalists and while that's true in this season as well, the main event will also feature a showdown between opposing coaches, Michael Bisping and Jason Miller.
The winner is likely to be one fight away from a 185-pound title shot.
Joining them will be John Dodson and T.J. Dillashaw, who duke it out for bantamweight bragging rights while Diego Brandao and Dennis Bermudez go to war in the 145-pound division to see who earns the "six-figure contract."
So who wins on Saturday night and who goes home? Here's my best guess.
185 lbs.: Michael Bisping vs. Jason Miller
Bisping takes a lot of crap from fans and fellow fighters for having fluffy fists of non-fury, but that doesn't mean his hands are garbage. And when he's not landing illegal knees or spitting directly in your face, he's actually a talented striker who's difficult to handle. He was formidable at light heavyweight and at 185-pounds, while he sacrifices some power, is still big enough and strong enough to thwart most takedown attempts. That's bad news for "Mayhem," who isn't going to out-box "The Count." Miller has serviceable hands but he loses the stand-up battle here and if he can't get it south, expect a five round snoozer in favor of Great Britain.
Michael Bisping def. Jason Miller via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: John Dodson vs. T.J. Dillashaw
This is a difficult test for both fighters because Dodson has great hands (and great submissions) and Dillashaw has superior wrestling. Doddy might think he's not going south for the winter but I think realistically when you face a great wrestler you have to expect to spend some portion of the fight on your back. It also doesn't help that "The Magician" should be fighting at 125-pounds, but his trip north leaves him powerful -- just ask Johnny Bedford. This is going to be a close, close fight. Dills will get him to the ground but he won't keep him there and I think Doddy does enough damage on the feet (punches in bunches!) to squeak by with a split -- unless he finally decides to showcase that ground game of his.
John Dodson def. T.J. Dillashaw via split decision
145 lbs.: Diego Brandao vs. Dennis Bermudez
I know the world is suddenly in love with Diego Brandao, but I'm not hopping on the hype train just yet. True, his Wompa-like fury in the televised exhibition fights were impressive, but let's also take them at face value and consider his opposition. He's also 15-7, with a couple of knockout losses, so beneath that leathery exterior there is some vulnerability. Empty barrels make the most noise and my pick is Bermudez, because he has the Noggish ability to absorb a tremendous amount of punishment and come back to win convincingly. It wouldn't surprise me to see Diego burn himself out trying to smash his way into TUF infamy, only to get mounted and finished in the second stanza.
Dennis Bermudez def. Diego Brandao via technical knockout
155 lbs.: Anthony Ferguson vs. Yves Edwards
Anthony Ferguson damaged his brand in the final days of TUF 13 when he went on a drunken tirade and attacked Charlie Rader's family. That's part of the reason why he's one of the "forgotten TUF champs" of yesteryear. It's also unfortunate because he's a very talented fighter with technical boxing and deadly accuracy. I'd tell you to ask Aaron Riley, but he won't be able to give you an answer seeing as how his jaw was wired shut courtesy of "The Boogeyman." While I think he wins this fight, it's going to be a dangerous one, as Edwards is slick enough on the ground to make Ferguson pay for a mistake. I don't know if he'll get that chance; however, as my prediction for this bout is a first round stoppgage. Every fight begins on the feet and Edwards will be staring at the lights before he even realized he spent too much time dicking around in the stand-up trying to "feel him out."
Anthony Ferguson def. Yves Edwards via knockout
135 lbs.: Dustin Pague vs. John Albert
Both fighters are pretty evenly matched but I like Albert in this contest. Aside from the fact that he gave John Dodson a very tough fight, he also steamrolled Orville Smith to get into the house. Pague was not only mauled by T.J. Dillashaw, he also struggled against Tateki Matsuda to get a majority decision on episode one. He handled Louis Gaudinot but comparing both bodies of work, I'm leaning towards the "Prince." Another close battle that should take place mostly on the feet, with Albert getting a unanimous decision win.
John Albert def. Dustin Pague via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Louis Gaudinot vs. Johnny Bedford
It's hard to pick a fighter who may not be that well known when your last memory of them is a geographical fail. That being said, I'm still picking Bedford in this fight because I think the knockout loss to Dodson was the exception, not the rule. He finished Carson Beebe in the elimination fight and had his way with Josh Ferguson in episode three. Gaudinot was also dominant in the eliminators but taken apart by Dustin Pague in his next fight. "Brutal" Bedford has double the experience and I like his reach against "Goodnight" Gaudinot. Johnny puts him in a body bag.
Johnny Bedford def. Louis Gaudinot via submission
145 lbs.: Marcus Brimage vs. Stephen Bass
At 3-1, Brimage doesn't have an extensive body of work, so his TUF fights carry a bit more weight than with some of the other contestants. He had a nice hulk-smash win to get into the house, but showed a weakness on the ground in his loss to Bryan Caraway. Bass came in undefeated and looked like an early favorite with his elimination win over Karsten Lenjoint -- until he was absolutely destroyed by Dennis Bermudez on episode four. You can say he had a bad night but watching his inability to work from guard doesn't bode well against the "Brim," who will likely finish this in the first round -- so long as he doesn't gas himself out in the process.
145 lbs.: Josh Clopton vs. Steven Siler
I was glad to see Clopton get a call-back and to be honest, I kind of wish he was rematched against Dustin Neace. If you missed episode one, they battled for a spot in the house and everyone from Dana White to the coaches to the other fighters thought Clopton had it in the bag. Unfortunately the judges disagreed and gave it to Neace. Siler is more experienced and had a great win over Micah Miller to earn a spot on the roster and the drubbing he received by Diego Brandao did little to shake my confidence in picking him. Clopton has zero wins by (T)KO and I think he gets subbed following a reckless exchange.
145 lbs.: Bryan Caraway vs. Dustin Neace
Like I said for the
Eric Clopton fight, by my scorecards Neace shouldn't have even made it into the TUF house and his two-round loss to Akira Corassani did little to change that perception. That being said, how the heck can you have any confidence in Bryan Caraway after his well-documented anxiety issues? He's got the tools, all he needs is the confidence and above all, the killer instinct. I'm not sure that's something you can learn, you kinda either have it or you don't. I'm still picking him in this fight because he's dating Miesha Tate, so there's got to be some kind of mojo in this kid. Let's hope we see it tomorrow night.
Bryan Caraway def. Dustin Neace via split decision
135 lbs.: Roland Delorme vs. Josh Ferguson
Delorme's submission win over B.J. Ferguson to get into the TUF house had more to do with a sloppy and reckless gameplan by Fergie than it did a superior skill set by Roland. He was easily disposed of in his second fight against eventual finalist T.J. Dillashaw but the Canadian does have a pretty solid resume prior to entering the land of reality television. I think he matches up well against the other Ferguson and I like his size advantage, but something about about a brother from Kentucky looking for revenge for his kin has me thinking "intangibles" and I give it to the older Fergie by way of first round stoppage. Don't go messin' with a country boy.
Josh Ferguson def. Roland Delorme via technical knockout
Well folks, there you have it.
Now it's time for you to weigh in with all your picks for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 live finale in the comments section below.
Who ya' got?