After Wednesday night marked the closing of The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 I feel confident in saying that this was by far one of the most entertaining and productive seasons in the show’s history. The talent pool alone was far and beyond one of the most impressive, judging from a fan’s point of view. I feel that this is partly due to the fact that this was a season that showcased the bantamweights and featherweights, two weight classes that are very rarely boring. However, I also feel like there was a passionate fire for fighting that surged through the house this entire season. An undying desire to win was present in every episode of the season. I truly felt as if this season was locked on to the idea of finding the best fighting talents in the division…period.
Now, this is not to say that this season didn’t have the pranks and drama that usually take place each season because it did, and it was all great. But the fire for fighting stood out more this season than it had for me over the past few years. In short, this season was a pure success. And what’s even better is that the best is still yet to come with The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 Finale going down this Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Not only were the fighters this season remarkably talented and entertaining, but the coaches were a great balancing act for the entire show as well. They brought the perfect mix of trash talk, seriousness, and comical relief (air hockey, mariachi band, towed cars, etc.). My point is that this season is coming to a close this weekend and for the first time since Penn vs. Pulver we’re getting to see the coaches do battle on the actual Finale, which for me is a perfect close to a perfect season! So, in light of an amazing season of TUF and the closing pages of the 14th chapter of the saga I feel inclined to dive a little bit deeper into the main event matchup between the two coaches, Jason Miller and Michael Bisping.
Let’s first take a look at the newly acquired Jason “Mayhem” Miller. I must first say that I was extremely happy to find out that “Mayhem” was coming back to the UFC. As a fan I find it’s important for the organization to try to sign talented “characters.” It adds to the value of their viewership pull by making things more interesting throughout the entire fight business. I’m not trying to say that talent isn’t the most important thing for the organization to look for in a potential employee, but I am saying that any time the company can bring in a solid competitor with a little bit of spice to his persona it’s an added bonus for the fans. Just a few examples of characters, so you can get a feel for what I’m talking about: Rampage, Sonnen, Nick Diaz, and now we can add “Mayhem” to that list. These characters are fun to watch not only because they are great fighters but because they are, well…characters. So I’m excited to see Miller step back into the UFC cage.
But aside from his out-of-cage antics we have a true, highly-skilled fighter. A veteran of the sport since 2001, Miller’s skills along with his personality make him a fun draw every time he fights. He has above average jiu-jitsu and grappling skills and is a well rounded striker with a ton of MMA experience (31 career MMA fights). Mayhem is the owner of 6 knock-out victories and 14 submission wins. He holds an MMA record of 24-7, 1 NC and has been crowned an MMA champion on two separate occasions in two different promotions (Icon Sport, Superbrawl). He’s also done battle and gone the distance with big names such as Jake Shields, Georges St. Pierre, and Ronaldo Souza. Miller is a dangerous competitor on any given night, especially when he is making his UFC return against a Michael Bisping that he explains fights with a “punch-and-run, point-style” of fighting. He claims that he is not going to let Bisping run-away in this fight and he is going to close the distance ten times faster than Bisping can create it. If he can do that then the cards might favor him on Saturday night. But that is often times much harder said than done.
On the other side of this bout we have TUF season 3 winner, Michael “The Count” Bisping. Bisping has been a rising star since his emergence into the UFC back in 2006. He holds an impressive MMA record of 21-3 with all three of his losses taking place inside the prestigious UFC octagon and against top-flight competitors (Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva). Bisping is currently on a three fight winning streak dating back to May of 2010 when he defeated Dan Miller by decision.
“The Count” is a very well rounded fighter that prides himself in his crisp boxing skills and his ever improving wrestling/grappling skills. He is the owner of 13 KO victories and 4 submission wins. He’s dangerous with ground-and-pound and is capable of grinding out lop-sided decision victories against highly skilled competition. Bisping is widely considered to be a top ten middleweight in the world and has made it clear that he thinks a win over Miller on Saturday should “put him in line for a shot at the title.” But let’s not count these chickens before they’re hatched.
Both men are about the same size with almost identical reaches (75-76 in). On paper this is a very evenly matched fight. Miller and Bisping both have over 20 wins and less than 10 losses, both have fought world-class competition, neither has lost in over a year, and both are looking for a rise to the title with a win on Saturday. I feel that Bisping may have the advantage if this fight stays standing. However, if the fight goes to the mat I feel that Miller will have the upper hand in the grappling game. The question is; where will the fight end up?
So, with all of that being said I guess it’s time for me to finally make my prediction, even though I’m extremely torn in this fight. But a prediction is nothing more than that: a prediction. So here goes…based on what I’ve seen and how the two fighters conduct themselves (and also taking into account that this is a 5 round main event fight) I’m going to take Jason “Mayhem” Miller over Michael Bisping by split decision.
This is going to be a war from start to finish and will showcase every aspect that makes MMA such a great sport. Both men will display great striking skills that will eventually cancel each other out on the feet, which will lead this into a technically sound grappling chess match. And once it goes to the ground I think Miller will have the edge and will out point Bisping on mat and take home the victory.
So there you have it MMA crazies. I’m taking Miller by split decision. Agree, disagree? Let’s hear some predictions fight fans!
And before I ride off with the wind I want to wish all the fighters the best of luck on Saturday and I hope you all put on a remarkably exciting show to close a remarkably great season of The Ultimate Fighter. We (fight fans) sincerely thank you all for what you do and look forward to seeing you go to war Saturday night, LIVE at The Palms in Las Vegas! A Thousand Cheers!
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