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Ultimate Fighter Finale 14 Breakdown: Jason Miller vs. Michael Bisping

This Saturday’s TUF 14 Finale marks an end of an era for the UFC. In 2005, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar tore the house down on Spike TV, and catapulted the UFC into the MMA juggernaut we all know and love. Following a long and eventful partnership, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will finally part ways with the television channel that was instrumental in its success. Concluding their six-year relationship (UFC 141 prelims notwithstanding) will be a bout between middleweight contenders Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller. The winner is rumored to move on to a title eliminator bout against former top contender Chael Sonnen. Additionally, and before the charismatic duo lock horns, the first ever bantamweight and featherweight “TUF” winners will be crowned.

Preliminary Predictions

* Brian Caraway to defeat Dustin Neace by Submission in Round 2
* Steven Siler to defeat Josh Clopton by Decision
* Roland Delorme to defeat Josh Ferguson by Decision
* Dustin Pague to defeat John Albert by TKO in Round 2
* Stephen Bass to defeat Marcus Brimage by Submission in Round

Main Card Predictions

* Johnny Bedford to defeat Louis Gaudinot by Decision
* Tony Ferguson to defeat Yves Edwards by TKO in Round 2
* T.J Dillashaw to defeat John Dodson by Decision
* Diego Brandao to defeat Dennis Bermudez by TKO in Round 1

Middleweight Fight: Michael Bisping vs. Jason “Mayhem” Miller

Perhaps the most glaring disparity between both fighters is on the feet, as Bisping, despite some flaws in his stand-up game, is the superior striker. Miller’s relative inactivity could have resulted in him benefiting from the time off to work on his striking in the gym, but he is unlikely to have closed the gap enough to where he can afford a pure stand-up battle with Bisping. In particular, Bisping’s footwork and constant movement will trouble “Mayhem.” In fact, while Bisping is often guilty of circling to his opponent’s power hand, or backpedaling straight into the fence when his pressed, Miller lacks the necessary tools in his striking to take advantage.

Miller possesses a decent jab, but he is not comfortable enough to use it to set the tone of the fight or control the distance. He also lacks the counter-punching ability and power to punish Bisping for his iffy head movement and lazy mistakes he tends to commit on the feet. For his part, Bisping will look to get on the bicycle, land some jabs, throw plenty of body kicks, and mix them up with some combinations. Bisping does a good job of setting up the high kick, but he lacks the power to polish his opponent off. His right cross in particular is something Miller needs to be wary of, and to his credit, Bisping rarely throws it as a single punch or with little set-up.

Miller doesn’t have great double leg from the outside, but in close-quarters, he is deceptively savvy. He would be smart to capitalize on one of Bisping’s many body kick to catch it and get a trip takedown, and if that opportunity doesn’t arise, he will need to find a way to close the distance. The good news for Miller is that Bisping isn’t exactly a power puncher, and he is unlikely to end Miller’s night with a single strike should “Mayhem” move in a bit carelessly. This is especially crucial, as Miller doesn’t have the striking to set-up the takedown, and may well need to charge forward at the right moment.

Miller’s wrestling on the inside is underrated, and if he gets double underhooks, “The Count” could well be planted on his back. However, Bisping has long proven to be tough to take down and more importantly, even more difficult to hold down. The latter could be the determining factor in this fight, as in a twenty-five minute period, Miller will likely get his opponent down at some point, but to win the fight, he will need to enjoy a significant amount of time on top. That is something Bisping rarely allows, as he possesses some surprisingly good hips that make him quite scrappy on the ground.

It is important to note however, that Miller’s top game is something that would give most fighters fits. If he is successful in keeping Bisping down, he is an expert at capitalizing on the smallest opportunity and use it to pass guard, or work for submissions. His victory over a broken down Kazushi Sakuraba may have been nothing to write home about, but the way Miller transitioned from controlling Sakuraba’s wrists from the top to landing ground and pound to locking in an arm triangle in the blink of an eye is the sign of a true grappler. However, Miller needs to be a bit more measured should he end up on top, as his game tends to leave openings for scrambles and Bisping will likely jump at any opportunity to get back to his feet. Conversely, scrambles provide Miller with the chance to secure the back, which remains his biggest path to victory. Miller’s back control is truly excellent, and he is quite patient in that regard, as he is more than content to get overhooks, wrist control, and from there simply wait for the smallest mistake.

While Miller will have his moments, it is tough to envision him getting repeated takedowns  in order to be able to use his top game and potentially polish the Brit off with a submission. Instead, Bisping will use his solid defensive grappling to stay out of trouble, and dominate the striking on his way to a decision victory.

Official Prediction: Michael Bisping to defeat Jason Miller by Decision