No Ultimate Fighter last week due to the holiday, I imagine, but that just added to the hype build up for this show. Two fights that decide who gets into the finals and fights on Saturday at the Ultimate Fighter Finale. Hope it doesn’t let me down…
The show opens up with John Dodson and Johnny Bedford training and talking about their upcoming fight. Dodson believes he’s going to run through Bedford, and Bedford can’t wait to fight him because Dodson is a snitch. Bedford believes his size, strength, and reach advantage will be too much for “the mole” John Dodson, and he’ll get takedowns whenever he wants and that Dodson doesn’t have enough power to knock him out. Dodson answers those statements by saying that he’s only been taken down once and Bedford isn’t going to do it. Dana White chimes in saying that Dodson is very talented, but he’s fighting a much larger fighter this time, and a lot of the times when that happens, the smaller fighter has trouble. Guess we’ll see.
Tale of the tape shows that Johnny Bedford has a 7″ height advantage and a 6″ reach advantage. This could be interesting.
Johnny Bedford vs. John Dodson (Bantamweight Bout)
The first round opens up with both fighters looking for their range. They exchange leg kicks, but Bedford’s plan is apparent. He’s going to keep coming forward, putting pressure on the smaller fighter. He throws and lands some more leg and body kicks, with Dodson trying to fire back with punches. When he felt the time was right, Bedford shot in for a takedown, but it was stuffed. Dodson landed a punch on the exit and they circled again. They would trade some knees, trade some real nice punches, and Dodson would stuff another takedown. But towards the end of the round, Bedford finally got that takedown, but Dodson got back to his feet right away. In the closing minute, Dodson caught a Bedford kick and got a trip takedown on him. It was a close round, but I give it to Bedford, 10-9.
The second round seemed to be much of the same. Dodson got off his kicks first, but Bedford came forward, landing knees and some nice combos. But that would be all of his offense, because Dodson would fire off a short left uppercut that tagged Bedford right on “the button.” Bedford drops and Dodson is on him with the quickness, landing hammerfist after hammerfist until the ref pulled him off. Nice win for John Dodson.
They asked Bedford if he knew where he was. He replied, “Ohio.” Wow. Too bad they are in Las Vegas. So much for that “Dodson doesn’t have enough power to put me out” statement. Bisping said it’s sad to see someone knocked out like that. He would know. BaZING! It was sad though. Bedford was heartbroken afterward. I could tell he really, really wanted this.
Back at the house, Bryan Caraway is talking with Johnny Bedford in the hot tub about Diego Brandao’s power. To me, it sure sounds like he’s already lost. He’s talking like Brandao is unbeatable. If I’m not mistaken, he’s lost 7 times in his MMA career already. But maybe I’m reading too much into his nervousness. That may be it, because after training, he’s talking with his team and Jason Miller about how he has thrown up in 30/33 fights. Maybe he’s just a nervous guy. But every time he brings up Diego, there is a look of awe on his face.
Diego, on the other hand, seems calm and collective. He believes he’s already won this fight. Like it’s his destiny to be in the UFC. He wants to win this for his family, to help a lot of people back in Brazil. He’s a loose cannon, but it’s getting hard not to like this guy.
At the weigh-ins Michael Bisping bets Jason Miller $100 that Diego will defeat Bryan. Miller accepts the bet.
Bryan Caraway vs. Diego Brandao (Featherweight Bout)
This started out not at all like I thought. I though Brandao would come out swinging and kicking and kneeing. But he was tentative. Maybe he really respected Caraway’s grappling skills and wanted to keep this fight on the outside. Whatever the reason, Caraway was in there holding his own. Brandao landed some real nice leg kicks, some even spinning Caraway all the way around. But Caraway, crazy as it was, was actually winning the punching battle…until the BOOM came.
Brandao landed a left uppercut that staggered Caraway. Brandao moved in for the kill, getting off a flying knee, which pretty much dropped Caraway. Brandao landed some ground and pound shots, but Caraway was defending enough not to get stopped. Somehow he made it to his feet, but he wasn’t all the way recovered. Brandao landed a head kick and some more punches that dropped Caraway again. Brandao dropped one last bomb straight to Caraways’ face that put him out. Very impressive ending, but Brandao’s gas tank might be a tad suspect.
So that’s the end of Season 14. Dana White claims this was the best season of TUF ever with the best fights in the history of the show. Very hard to argue especially when you take in all the fights and realize most of them were finished and high-paced. But we do have two fantastic match-ups to decide Season 14 winners (Diego Brandao vs. Dennis Bermudez for the Featherweight Crown and TJ Dillashaw vs. John Dodson for the Bantamweight Crown), plus the coaches Jason Miller and Michael Bisping to look forward to this Saturday.