(Brandao vs. Casteel @ Evolution 1, 10/30/10. Fight begins at the 1:58 mark and ends 40 seconds later. The ref is kind of a dick afterwards. Props: landsharkian)
As Johnny Bedford observed on Wednesday, TUF 14 featherweight finalist Diego Brandao is not unbeatable; in fact, he entered the reality show with a journeyman’s record of 13-7. But when he’s on his game, he’s as dangerous a fighter as you’ll ever see. Here’s a video from Brandao’s pre-UFC career, in which he starches Michael Casteel with a counter right hook within the first minute of their fight. It’s that kind of power that could give Dennis Bermudez serious headaches when they meet up at the finale show tomorrow night in Las Vegas. Was Michael Bisping right to predict future UFC stardom for the Madman from Manaus?
But before we put this sumbitch to bed, we have two more semi-final fights to get through. John “The Snitchin’ Magician” Dodson is training for his bantamweight face-off with teammate Johnny Bedford, while Bedford blatantly creeps on him the whole time. Coach Mayhem decides he won’t corner either man, leaving that responsibility up to the assistant coaches.
Says Dodson: “I only got taken down once, by Prince [John Albert], and I’m never going to get taken down again.” But taking Lil’ John down is, in fact, Bedford’s gameplan. And he doesn’t think Dodson has the power to hurt him. Dodson giggles and poses in the face-off after weigh-ins. Once again, we marvel at how small this man is, and how he should really be competing at 125, if such a division existed in the UFC. And once again, his size disadvantage probably won’t matter one damn bit.
“I just want everyone to understand how fricken hard I am training. I have never trained this hard or smart for a fight in my life. In ironic twist news- I’m totally getting reimbursed for John Dodson’s insubordination. I’m not even asking about Michael’s training, but for some reason all the friends that I’ve had for years that are working with him seem to be inclined to tell me about his camp and what he’s doing. I don’t want or need this info, I’m going to beat him regardless, just found it interesting. Pretty karmic.”
Hmm. Michael Bisping’s TUF 14 assistant coaches Tiki Ghosn and Rob McCullough train in the same Huntington Beach circles as Miller — could they be moles infiltrating the Brit’s camp in the name of American patriotism? Or is Mayhem just trying to get in the Count’s head? Bisping is convinced that it’s the latter, telling InsideMMA:
With The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale just a couple weeks away, many of us have been wondering how prepared Jason Miller was for his return to the UFC, especially considering that he hasn’t truly faced legitimate competition since his unanimous decision loss to Jake Shields just over 2 years ago. Aaron Tru of TruMMA was able to catch up with the Team Mayhem coach recently, and aside from playing a good old fashioned game of “Sactap,” was able to achieve a rather serious conversation with Miller, at one point even discussing the WEC and Strikeforce veteran’s seriousness (or lack thereof) when it comes to training. And “Mayhem” was quick to set things straight for those doubters out there:
On his training camp: “[Training] is going fantastic. I’m really surprised. This is the first camp that I’ve got a super serious camp in my entire career, and I’m an old damn man by fighter’s standards. It feels awesome. I’ve never been in such good shape and I’ve never had such a good mental focus going into a fight. It’s really refreshing. I was like, ‘Oh, this is what training camp is supposed to be like.’”
On how serious he takes his training: “The reason I do this sport, the reason I got into this career, was because I enjoy going to a padded room where I can act as crazy as I want and it’s not an institution. I think you can train seriously and still have a lot of fun. Even on The Ultimate Fighter, here at Reign Training Center, even going back to high school wrestling, I was always like the funny guy on the team and I feel like it keeps morale up.”
The TUF house has reached a Heathers-level of cliquey-ness. You got the Bible thumpers, the card players, and the dudes with anger issues/crazy hair/dark skin. And hey, you know who Akira Corassani doesn’t like? That bitch-ass Bryan Caraway. “He’s like a little girl,” Akira says. “He wakes up in the morning, he takes like 25 minutes to make his hair.”
So, Akira sneaks into Bryan’s bedroom in the middle of the night and shaves off a piece of his hair. Caraway chases him to an upstairs balcony, where Akira is giggling with his bros. Instead of brawling with the whole gang, Bryan threatens non-specific vengeance sometime in the future. “Y’know, what we do in life echoes in eternity, and this right here I’m going to laugh about my whole life,” Akira says, COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT OF GLADIATOR. Look, spoiler alert, Akira gets choked out at the end of this episode and it’s awesome. Sorry guys, I had to.
Roland Delorme’s foot is still as red and lumpy as Bruce Vilanch’s face. It hurts like a bitch, but at least he can’t transmit it to anybody else, whatever it is. And there’s still a good chance he’ll be cleared to fight, so fingers crossed.
Jason Miller brings in former Chute Boxe coach Rafael Cordeiro — who currently trains Mayhem at Kings MMA in Huntington Beach — to work with the Team Miller guys on striking drills. But Michael Bisping ups the ante, bringing in Tito Ortiz — his coach on TUF 3 — for a ground-and-pound clinic. “It’s not about the money or fame,” Ortiz tells the blue team. “It’s about us being men and seeing who’s the baddest guy alive.” Marcus Brimage is star-struck: “I was like, wow…that’s a big fucking head!”
Brimage and Akira Corassani are still harping on the fact that TJ Dillashaw asked to fight Delorme instead of Dodson, looking for an easy road to the bantamweight semi-finals. So Akira and Diego Brandao hatch a plan to get even with TJ. It’s a pretty simple plan, really — they plan to beat the shit out of him at practice.
(Brandao vs. Siler. Fight starts at the 1:09 mark. Props: IronForgesIron)
After the fiasco that followed the Akira/Neace fight last week, Team Mayhem coach Ryan Parsons wants to give Michael Bisping a piece of his mind. “You’re the kind of guy that can’t keep his motherfucking mouth shut,” Parsons tells him. “Which is why you’re the most hated fighter in the UFC. I get it now.”
“I earn a lot more money than you, motherfucker,” Bisping says, clearly a 1%’er.
“Go spit on somebody,” Parsons says. And so on. Bisping feels that Team Miller should take their loss like men, and that Parsons should fuck off.
The next fight has already been announced as Diego Brandao (Bisping’s #1 featherweight) vs. Steven Siler (Miller’s #4). Siler thinks that people don’t believe in his skills, but Team Bisping isn’t taking him lightly, especially because Brandao’s cardio is a little lacking during practice. Still, Bisping is excited to see what the half-crazy Brazilian can do.
(The end of Dustin Neace vs. Akira Corassani…OR WAS IT?? Gif props: IronForgesIron)
After Dustin Pague’s victory last week — which brought Team Mayhem up 4-0 on the scorecard, FYI — Dustin asks his team if they could do a quick “Glory to God” cheer, which Jason Miller actually participates in, even though he’s a die-hard atheist who usually loves to mess with religious people. That just shows what kind of coach Miller is. He let his fighter have his moment, and he didn’t even make Pague participate in a “Glory to Science” cheer afterwards.
As the fighters return to their prep-rooms, Diego Brandao is in Murderous Brazilian Mode (what else is new), and starts to yell at Steve Siler for some reason. “I’m gonna take you head off, bidge!”, etc. Michael Bisping explains that he’s unstable and just wants to fight. Fortunately, he’s in a welcoming environment for that sort of thing.
Mayhem gives Dustin Neace a cowboy hat with a B on it, which stands for “Beast,” his nickname. Josh Ferguson — previously known as “the dude in the cowboy hat” — lays down accusations of swagger-jackin’. (“Come on man, I got one thing going for me here, and you gotta rip it off?”) Oddly enough, Ferguson’s hat also has a ‘B’ on it, even though his nickname doesn’t start with that letter. Unless one of you knows its actual significance, I’m just going to assume it stands for “bumpkin.”
Bisping helps Stephan Bass prepare for a fight by pounding on him all day, like you do. GIFProps: ZombieProphet/IFI
It’s double-header week, and there’s no time wasted with extraneous detail — we’re right into discussion of the second featherweight fight picks. Jon Dodson is still insider trading with his boys on Team Death LeperkonLepraconLeapercorn Lucky Charms Mascots, and Louis Gaudinot passes along the scoop: Miller will announce Dennis Bermudez (Miller’s #1) versus Stephan Bass (Bisping’s #4). Bisping celebrates this intelligence coup by assigning Bass triple practice time. Most of this practice time consists of beating up Bass, blacking his eye in the process.
For the actual fight announcement, Bisping is so confident in his coaching to this point that he feels no need to actually attend the meeting. Miller puts a jersey on a sparring dummy and does an Australian accent, which is kinda close if you don’t really think about it. He goes on to confirm the fight we all already knew was coming.