Every time the UFC puts on an event, speculation, questions and theories arise about which fighters will perform, or under perform. Will new contenders emerge? Will established ones fall? Where will the winners go? Which losers will still have a job on Monday? Who is healthy? Who is fighting injured? Anytime the UFC athletes are set to enter the octagon, questions follow.
That being said, here are 4 burning questions leading into The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale this Saturday night.
4. How Many “TUF” 14 Cast Members Are UFC Caliber?
As the season progresses and members of the reality show become more and more well known to the Spike TV audience, questions are raised about which fighters are truly UFC caliber, and which were simply brought in to give personality to the house. With every passing season, the percentage of fighters receiving UFC contracts has fallen dramatically. There are still seven members of season one competing for the organization, six from season 5, and only from season 10 and 13. Due to the thin nature of the UFC featherweight and bantamweight roster, it is likely quite a few members of the show will be offered another fight after the finale.
The stats don’t lie. It could simply come down to limited roster spots, but the UFC has certainly been more selective in who they hand out contracts too. There will be 15 of 16 members from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 cast competing on this Saturday’s finale. We know at least two will receive six-figure UFC contracts, as for the rest; their performances will be the deciding factor.
3. Who Will Be The First Bantamweight & Featherweight Ultimate Fighter Winners?
In the 14th season, for the first time, 135 and 145 pound fighters were featured on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. The season was one of the most exciting yet; knockouts, submission and back-and-forth wars were a common theme throughout the 12-week show. After winning three fights each, the first bantamweight and featherweight champions will be decided as T.J Dillashaw will take on _ and Diego Brandao will fight Dennis Bermudez.
Both match ups are expected to be highly competitive. Dillashaw got to the finals of the show by defeating Matt Jaggers to move into the house, Roland Delorme to make it to the semi-finals and Dustin Pague to reach the finals. He has displayed a strong wrestling base that he will surely be looking to use to his advantage against John Dodson. Dodson was one of the favorites coming into the show, he beat Carson Beebe, Josh Ferguson and Johnny Bedford to complete his journey to compete for the crown and is determined to get by Dillashaw and become the shows first bantamweight winner.
In the featherweight finals, Deigo Brandao is coming off one of the most impressive showings of the season as he easily dominated opponents in his path to the finals. Brandao is the favorite coming into the finals, and is one of the fighters on the show with a lot of potential. His opponent, Dennis Bermudez will try to make it a rough beginning to Brandao’s UFC career by implementing his outstanding ground-and-pound skills to keep the fight on the mat and pull off a huge victory.
On Saturday night, UFC history will be made, as two new “TUF” winners will be crowned. Who will they be?
2. Is Jason “Mayhem” Miller A Top-10 Middleweight?
After a long career of fighting in Japan and all-around the world, Jason “Mayhem” Miller will finally make his return to the UFC octagon spending nearly six years competing around the world in just about every organization out there. As explained in this weeks “Fighter of the Week” feature, “Mayhem” has fought the best of the world in the past few years. The American has a world of talent, but has never really applied himself enough to put a championship run together. Miller has been involved in entertaining fights against great competitors, but his unique personality and career outside of the cage overshadow his skills and accomplishments in MMA.
Miller holds career wins over notable names such as Denis Kang, Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler. The fight on Saturday night will be Miller’s toughest test in quite some time, Bisping is no slouch, especially for a fighter who has not fought in 14-months. Miller says for the first time in his career he has had a proper training camp, which can only effect his performance positively. Bisping is unanimously ranked among the top-10 middleweight fighters in the world; Miller attempts to he deserves that spot with a huge victory over the Brit.
1. Can Michael Bisping Get Over The Hump?
After completing his second stint as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, Michael Bisping will attempt to win his four fights in a row for the first time since dropping to the middleweight division in 2008. Bisping’s come close to middleweight title contention before, but unfortunately for him, losses to Dan Henderson and Wanderlei Silva temporarily derailed his championship aspirations.
Bisping has put together a three fight win streak since losing to Silva in February 2010, defeating Dan Miller, Yoshihiro Akiyama and most recently, Jorge Rivera. The three fight streak may signify the most impressive run of Bisping’s UFC career, and it comes at the most important time of his career. At 32 years old, Saturday’s bout against “Mayhem” is pivotal for the British fighter.If he has any hopes of making a real title run, he must win on Saturday night. A loss to Miller would be devastating for Bisping, but a victory, especially one in impressive fashion, would signify arguably the biggest win in the career of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 3 winner and would place him only one or two wins away from that elusive championship opportunity.