In the end, Spike TV got what perhaps they wanted out of a final UFC card to air: an explosive night of action. And that’s the best way to describe the final “Ultimate Fighter” finale to air on Spike TV after 14 seasons and a plethora of talent to walk through the doors as virtual unknowns and depart as more known entities. And in a fitting way this season’s finale mirrored the first “Ultimate Fighter” in both fight quality and finish rate.
With only Marcus Brimage and Tony Ferguson winning by decision, two fights to go to the judges with the rest ending definitively, tonight’s card mirrored the original in that one was a definitive decision (Brimage) in the same way Sam Hoger’s decision victory over Bobby Southworth was and the other was closely contested (Ferguson) in the same way Griffin-Bonnar 1 was debated back then. But the highlight of the show were the two newest TUF winners, Diego Brandao and Johnny Dodson, who turned in veritable star making performances in their first live fights in the UFC.
Brandao, pegged by some as perhaps the next Jose Aldo, came out and had one of the wildest rounds in TUF history with Dennis Bermudez. Rivaling only Nick Diaz-Paul Daley in terms of intensity and times where either fighter almost finished the either, Brandao pulled off a beautiful armbar when it looked like he was about to be finished himself to win the featherweight title. A product of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brandao’s stated purpose for joining TUF in buying his mother a home in his native Brazil just got a bit easier.
Dodson, his teammate at Jackson’s and fighting up a weight class at Bantamweight from his more natural flyweight (where he’s been ranked as high as #5 in the world), needed two minutes to finish T.J Dillashaw from Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male. Seemingly an early stoppage, until Dillashaw nearly fell down under his own power after the fight ended, Dodson will now perhaps be on the waiting list to become a contender for the UFC’s first flyweight championship (to be introduced next year).
The biggest story, though, is Michael Bisping’s dismantling of Jason Miller in the main event. After Miller took the first round with some impressive displays of grappling acumen, Bisping’s takedown defense and striking overwhelmed the “Bully Beatdown” host and the fight was stopped in the third after Miller seemed to have been broken by Bisping’s relentless offense. Bisping, who was booed seemingly at every phase of fight week, was gracious in defeat when plenty of other fighters wouldn’t have acted that way.
With the UFC moving to Fox for major events, and “The Ultimate Fighter” onto FX next year with some major changes along the way, the season 14 finale marks the end of an era. Spike TV is in the rear view mirror and a strong, finish filled card seems only appropriate considering the UFC’s first card was the same way.
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts, TUF 14