After a full season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) to build up their middleweight fight, coaches Michael Bisping and Jason Miller finally got an opportunity to settle their feud last night (December 3, 2011) on The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale in Las Vegas.
"Mayhem" Miller could talk the talk, but unfortunately for him, he simply couldn't walk the walk.
Not even close.
This was Miller's big opportunity, he was the first major Strikeforce fighter to cross over to the UFC, but after a strong season of coaching on TUF, his fighting ability left something to be desired, resulting in what UFC President Dana White would later call perhaps "the most one-sided fight he's ever seen in the UFC."
So how did Michael Bisping lay the smackdown, and what went horribly wrong for Miller? Also, where do both fighters go from here?
Miller opened very aggressively, throwing leg kicks, punches and knees while looking to clinch and potentially take Bisping down. Early in the fight, his strikes, while not exactly technical, were finding a home.
Unlike Bisping's straight on attack, most of Miller's blows were slower, more looping and they were thrown with the intent to close the distance and potentially get a takedown.
It may not have been pretty, but "Mayhem's" attack actually seemed to be working.
He could throw kicks because he wasn't afraid of a takedown, as evidenced in the gif to the left and he had the ability to throw with power because he has a terrific chin and could absorb Bisping's counters. Miller stood and traded for nearly the first two minutes of the fight.
This was just long enough for Bisping to lower his defenses slightly as Miller threw a big left hook and then ducked down, grabbing a big double leg to drop "The Count" onto his back. While he didn't do a ton of damage once he put the TUF season three winner down, he was able to advance to quarter mount along the fence for two full minutes to allow him to potentially win the first round on the judges' scorecards.
The tides turned drastically in round two, primarily because Miller was a completely different fighter. Instead of setting a tone, he was more desperate in his takedowns and he was looking to purely counter Bisping. This allowed "The Count" to get comfortable in his striking and he really started laying into "Mayhem" with a plethora of unanswered strikes.
Eventually, it just looked like Miller was moving in slow motion and Bisping began picking him apart piece by piece.
Notice how much different Miller looks in the gif to the right, nearly nine minutes into the fight than he does in the one above which was just one minute into the fight.
Whether it was an adrenaline dump, a bout of lactic acidosis or he just plain gassed, Miller switched from fighter to punching bag in the final two rounds of the fight. His only response to getting punched in the face was to occasionally taunt Bisping, perhaps trying to get "The Count" to punch himself out.
By the end of the round, Bisping wasn't even afraid to go to the ground with Miller, dropping major ground and pound on "Mayhem's" face to close it out.
If fans were hoping "Mayhem" had been playing possum, their fears were not assuaged after an opening blitz in the beginning of round three. Miller again looked very desperate with his takedowns and eventually, he was just turtling up on the ground while Bisping wailed on him with punches and knees to the body. It was not pretty and the referee repeatedly warned Miller that he had to do something or he'd put a stop to it. When he turtled up again and couldn't fight back, the stoppage was more mercy than anything.
For Jason Miller, this was his second appearance in the UFC and it was the second time he'd been completely dominated. Worst of all was the fact that he completely gassed out by the second round in what was potentially going to be a five round fight. How he could let that happen is beyond me, but he'll have a long time to think about it on the plane ride home. Outside of a decent first round, he had absolutely nothing for Bisping. Perhaps there was a huge skill disparity, perhaps gassing was the primary reason, but it got ugly fast and he made Bisping look like a superstar with how little he was able to fight back in rounds two and three.
If Miller is given another shot in the UFC, he's going to have to go way down the totem pole in the division. Possible options include fighters who have recently lost like Tom Lawlor, Nick Ring or perhaps Kyle Noke.
For Michael Bisping, he looked terrific. That may not make the American fans who wanted to see him get his face punched in happy, but he went out there and he did his job last night. It's not his fault that his opponent gassed out and looked lost. He controlled what he could and he didn't let Miller off the hook which is exactly what a professional should do.
Dana White hinted that Bisping could be getting another fight soon, but he's currently very high up the ladder in the division so that would likely limit his options. If they decide to put him on the upcoming UFC on FOX show in Chicago, the only options would be Alan Belcher or perhaps if they pulled either Rousimar Palhares or Vitor Belfort out of their upcoming fights. There really aren't that many great options that would make sense at this point and time. Regardless this was a big win for Bisping and he should enjoy it. He's had difficulties against the elite fighters in the division and he's likely not going to get any more gimme's from here on out.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you impressed by Bisping's domination? Or were you more disappointed that "Mayhem" gassed so quickly in a five round fight?
For complete Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire pay-per-view (PPV) event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.
All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.