Michael Bisping vs Jason Miller
Brent Brookhouse: I am pretty hung up on the fact that Jason Miller hasn't beaten a good fighter who wasn't either well past his prime (Sakuraba) or only a part-time fighter (Kennedy) since he beat Robbie Lawler in 2006. That's a long time to go without a top level win and be in against Bisping. I know it's fun for people to rag on Bisping, but he's very good at a lot of things and is simply a much better fighter than Miller was, even at Miller's peak. Mayhem is now a 30 year old who hasn't fought in over a year and spent the previous year fighting less than capable opposition. So Bisping is better, has been fighting better opposition and doesn't have a year of rust on top of it all. Bisping's takedowns are very underrated, his ability to scramble when he does get taken down is also underrated and he has good takedowns when he isn't doing it out of worry about being clipped. It's not close in my mind. Michael Bisping by decision.
Leland Roling: Five rounds makes this very interesting, especially if Bisping fades late and Miller can work on the ground. The problem, however, lies in Miller's effectiveness in the takedown department. If he can't get to Bisping, Bisping peppers him from range and wins decisively. Rooting interest sways toward Miller, but the smart choice is Bisping. Michael Bisping via decision.
Matt Roth: So here's my take and lemme know what you think. Jason Miller honestly hasn't beaten a top guy since Robbie Lawler. When he faced Tim Kennedy in 2007, Tim was a part-time fighter. I thought he got trounced by Jake Shields. Bisping, for as arrogant as he comes off, is actually a pretty good fighter. He's faced top competition since dropping to 185 and has improved since his time on the Ultimate Fighter. I'm going with Bisping even though I love America a ton and hate him so much. Michael Bisping by decision.
Anton Tabuena: I would easily pick Bisping to win a decision in a three round fight, but since this is 5 rounds, it makes it a bit tougher to predict correctly. He may not have the heaviest hands in the world, but I think he's a better fighter overall. I think he can batter Miller until a late round stoppage or a decision. Michael Bisping by Decision.
T.P. Grant: Micheal Bisping is a good MMA Middleweight that is constantly undervalued because of his abrasive personality. Bisping has well rounded skills, but is not outstanding in any one skill and has faltered in all of his biggest fights. I really don't think Bisping can knock Miller out and over the course of five rounds the fight will hit the mat. There I think Miller has a clear advantage, and finishes the fight. Miller by Submission.
KJ Gould: I think so many people (generally) want Miller to beat Bisping they're letting it cloud their judgment. Bisping's been more active against more relevant competition, Miller's fought twice in the last 2 years, his latest over a year ago against Kazushi Sakuraba. While Bisping doesn't have KO power on the feet, he can sometimes do damage with knees in the clinch but definitely can do damage with Ground'n'Pound. Miller never struck me as that much of a guard player and while he might be able to get Bisping's back a couple of times Bisping should be defensive enough to neutralise and escape. That's assuming Miller can get in close enough and Bisping doesn't use his footwork to keep it a long range battle. This is Bisping's fight to lose, and I can't see him doing it against Miller. Michael Bisping by Decision.
Tim Burke: This one seems pretty simple to me - Miller is going to have a hell of a hard time getting Bisping to the floor and keeping him there for any appreciable length of time. He won't win a kickboxing battle. As long as Bisping isn't stupid enough to take him down, he'll outpoint him from the outside in a dull fight. Michael Bisping by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: There was a lot of pro-Mayhem talk at first, but as we get closer, that has died down, and for good reason. It's been literally years since he has really impressed, and he hasn't struck me as being super committed to the fight game in awhile. He's still game, and could ground Bisping for awhile, but Bisping does have pretty good takedown defense, and much superior striking. Common thought is Bisping by decision, but I think he can capitalize on a tired Mayhem and close the show. Michael Bisping by TKO, Round 3
Dallas Winston: I think I'm going to open myself to serious ridicule and take a chance on Mayhem here, and it's not because I dislike Bisping. Quite the opposite, actually. He made savvy 205-pound wrestlers work their ass off to take him down and shucked off his fair share. His boxing, stance and footwork are excellent (though he's exhibited some odd tendencies with circles and angles) and he's far better on the ground than he gets credit for. However, I think Mayhem is a little under-rated for his TV persona and lack of elite competition recently. He got GSP to the ground twice and three times against Shields. I think his creativity and decent Muay Thai will offer up the opportunity for something unbelievable. Mayhem Miller by submission, Round 4.
Staff Picking Bisping: Brookhouse, Anton, Gould, Tim, Fraser, Roth
Staff Picking Miller: Grant, Dallas
Dennis Bermudez vs Diego Brandao
Brent Brookhouse: Brandao would be terrifying if he wasn't throwing the wildest looping punches imaginable. There's simply too big of an opening for Bermudez to not just take him down and grind out the win, plus Brandao's wildness causes cardio issues. Bermudez by decision.
Leland Roling: Brandao didn't get exposed during the season for what has always been his crutch in the regional scene. Poor technique. His wins are solely based on aggression, something that Bermudez can counter with solid technique. I worry about Bermudez's prowess on the feet, however, as it was horrific in a couple of fights in the house. Brandao, despite being wild, has power and Bermudez has terrible defenses on the feet. Brandao can also hold his own on the ground. Brandao via decision.
Matt Roth: Brandao didn't really make a name on the show the way that Akira did. That's unfortunately since you'd figure in post production they'd probably feature the guy in the finals. Whatever. Hell they didn't really push Bermudez either which doesn't make sense. Anyways, Brandao is good enough at keeping the fight standing that I think his power and explosiveness will be the difference maker. Diego Brandao by decision.
T.P. Grant: Brandao has a crowd pleasing style, but that kind of super intensity from the opening bell puts a real drain on the body. His "coming home with his shield or on it" style will bite him here as Bermudez uses his grappling to weather to the storm and grinds Brandao down. Bermudez by decision.
KJ Gould: The more methodical wrestler almost always trumps a wild brawler. Brandao has shown takedown defense on TUF and will no doubt have been working it specifically for this fight, but out of the TUF cast Bermudez is without doubt the best wrestler he'll have faced. It won't be pretty, but Bermudez should have this. Bermudez by boonanimous decision.
Tim Burke: You're all picking Bermudez? Really? He's a 3-1 dog. I've got Brandao all the way. Brandao by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: It's true, Brandao is too wild at this point, and a focused technician will tear him up. But Bermudez's stand-up is also unrefined, and his defense leaves too many holes. Bermudez has been rocked before, and if Brandao catches him, he'll finish. Diego Brandao by KO, round 1
Dallas Winston: On the show, Brandao got broadsided with a takedown attempt while totally out of position and in the middle of hurling a meathook and still shook it off. I was tempted to pick Bermudez for a late comeback but he was clocked and dropped in two different fights against far inferior strikers than Brandao. If Brandao didn't have those BJJ black belt credentials, I might give Bermudez a shot. I'm still not ruling out a storybook, 3rd round comeback, but I also genuinely want to see Brandao take care of his mother and get his brother away from the druggers. Diego Brandao by TKO, Round 2.
Staff Picking Bermudez: Brookhouse, Grant, Gould
Staff Picking Brandao: Tim, Leland, Roth, Dallas
T.J. Dillashaw vs John Dodson
Brent Brookhouse: If I thought Dillashaw was realy any good I'd pick him to beat the undersized Dodson. But Dodson is quick and capable in pretty much any area the fight could take place. Dodson by decision.
Leland Roling: I picked Dillashaw to win the show, which wasn't a ballsy pick by any means, but I'm going to stick with what I said in the past. Now, with a full camp at Team Alpha Male behind him, I imagine he'll go full beast mode and wrestle Dodson to death to win. Dillashaw via decision.
Matt Roth: I like John Dodson but he's just a super small bantamweight. When the UFC finally makes the leap into the flyweight division, I expect him to be a well known name and a cornerstone. But Dillashaw is just too well rounded and much bigger. Those usually are the difference makers at the lighter weights. T.J. Dillashaw via decision.
T.P. Grant: Speed kills. Dillashaw is a good fighter and I feel like he has the wrestling edge, but I feel like Dodson has the ability to get back to his feet if taken down. Dodson has speed, striking, cardio and experience in his favor. Dodson by decision.
KJ Gould: I think Dodson is another prime candidate for the eventual Flyweight division and down the line a fight between him and Mighty Mouse would be spectacular. I don't think Dillashaw is too big for him and he'll only suffer with bigger Bantamweights as he faces more experienced, technical fighters. Dillashaw has a good wrestling background but Dodson has shown himself to be more than capable in this department offensively and defensively. Dodson also has fight ending power for his weight, something Dillashaw hasn't shown and without being able to hold down Dodson I expect it to be a matter of time before the finish comes in his favour. Dodson by TKO
Tim Burke: It's like bizarro world at BE today. Dodson's close to a 2-1 dog. Dillishaw will wrestle his way to a W. T.J. Dillishaw by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: It's hard to pick against those Alpha Male guys, who consistently know how to wrestle their opponents into oblivion. Dodson will have the speed advantage, and I agree that he should be able to scramble back up to his feet when he is taken down. But is he scrambles up and gets taken down again, even if Dillashaw doesn't do much on the ground, how is that a good thing for Dodson? Judges love takedowns, and I see Dillashaw taking him down all day long. T.J. Dillashaw by decision
Dallas Winston: Dodson's speed, athleticism and footwork are sick and the way he uses angles to set up his strikes is damn poetic. His takedown defense is on point and I think he scrambles quickly back to his feet when he is taken down. Dodson is a top-ten flyweight who trains at Jackson's and has exactly four times the experience of Dillashaw. I think he takes this one handily. John Dodson by decision.
Staff Picking Dillashaw: Tim, Leland, Fraser
Staff Picking Dodson: Grant, Gould, Brookhouse, Dallas
Tony Ferguson vs Yves Edwards
Brent Brookhouse: Yves is one of my all time favorite fighters going back a long way. Unfortunately, the fact that it goes back so far is a sign of how old he is in the game. His chin isn't great these days and if nothing else Ferguson will bring power to the table. I'll be rooting for Yves but can't pick him. Tony Ferguson by TKO, round 2.
Leland Roling: Time isn't on the side of Yves Edwards, and Ferguson continues to blast through his competition. Edwards is an obvious step up the ladder, but nothing that Ferguson can't handle. Tony Ferguson via decsion.
Matthew Roth: I'm gonna be a total homer on this but Yves Edwards is gonna win. I don't know how or why but I'm gonna be picking the dude from the ATX. I mean he probably wins by submission. Yves Edwards by Submission
T.P. Grant: Lightweight is some deep and shark infested waters. Yves is an able gate keeper to separate potential contenders at 155 lbs and I think Ferguson has a bit of development before he is ready for a test like this. Yves by Submission.
KJ Gould: Ferguson is one of the few TUF winners in recent years that exudes killer instinct and fight finishing ability. His grappling is solid and he definitely has knock out power, and while Yves Edwards is a good step up I fear the veteran may be prone to having his lights switched off more easily these days based on the amount of fights he's been through and that vicious KO loss to Sam Stout. It may come down to who lands first as Yves is still a finisher himself, but Ferguson seems to have this cinder block head that looks like could absorb a fair amount of damage. Ferguson by KO
Tim Burke: I actually think Ferguson is quite good, at least from what I've seen so far. Yves has talked about changing his game up a bit since the Stout KO, which is a good thing. He'll give Ferguson the toughest test of his UFC career to date, but I've gotta go with El Cucuy. Tony Ferguson by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: There is a tendency to underrate the TUF winners because, hey, they're just TUF winners, right? And the past few champions have not set the world on fire like those early years. But Ferguson is good, and impressed in his win over Riley. I love the Thugjitsu master, but his time is done. Tony Ferguson by KO, round 2
Dallas Winston: I have to echo the sentiments of deep respect for Yves. I think his stand up is more technical and accurate and his scrambling and sub-game is better. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll be able to escape the scenario where Ferguson is a killer. 76" of head-crunching reach backed by solid wrestling will be a stiff test. Unless Yves can create a scramble or catch Ferguson's side-to-side head movement with a roundhouse kick ... Tony Ferguson by TKO, Round 2.
Staff Picking Ferguson: Gould, Brookhouse, Tim, Leland, Fraser, Dallas
Staff Picking Edwards: Grant
Johnny Bedford vs Louis Gaudinot
Brent Brookhouse: I get the feeling the UFC wants Bedford around. This is a good fight for him to get kept. Bedford by decision.
Leland Roling: Gaudinot belongs at flyweight, period. Bedford via decision.
Matthew Roth: The show definitely was used to prop up the soon to be flyweight division. Gaudinot is one of those guys. He's not winning against Bedford though. Bedford by decision.
T.P. Grant: Gaudinot just didn't make an impression on me during the show, I think he is going to spend the majority of this fight on his back with Bedford working top game. Bedford by Decision.
KJ Gould: Bedford reminded many at BE of a mini-Fitch. When he rocked the bandanna, I was reminded more of a mini-Macho Man Randy Savage, but that's probably just me. I don't even remember who Gaudinot was on the show. I'd guess Bedford can use his rangey striking and outwork Gaudinot to a fairly easy unanimous decision if not a TKO stoppage. The Mini-Madness by Decision (ooh yeah!)
Tim Burke: I haven't watched TUF, so I have no idea who either of these guys are. Sounds like a scientist vs. a mafia enforcer. I'll take the enforcer. Johnny Bedford by TKO.
Fraser Coffeen: Carson Beebe is better than Gaudinot, and Bedford took care of business there. He's just got way too much experience. Johnny Bedford by decision.
Dallas Winston: Gaudinot and Dodson are the shortest guys on the show at 5'3" while Bedford is the tallest at 5'10". Gaudinot is much better than he showed and I was fairly shocked that Pague finished him. Bedford's size, diversity and experience should get him a decision here, though Gaudinot should be a really feisty opponent for him. Johnny Bedford by decision.
Staff Picking Bedford: Grant, Gould, Brookhouse, Tim, Leland, Fraser, Dallas
Staff Picking Gaudinot: