(Round two of Dillashaw vs. Delorme, via IronForgesIron)
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.
The plan is a success. TJ gets armbarred, leglocked, slammed, punched in the face, etc. It’s an ego-check, no doubt. But finally Dillashaw takes Akira down hard, and Akira walks off nursing his elbow. Still amped up, TJ starts slugging with Marcus, and the sparring session escalates into an all-out war followed by a shouting match. Bisping actually thinks it’s good for their training, but he and Tiki step in to douse the tension and prevent further in-fighting.
Delorme is cleared to bang. His doctor told him not to kick with the swollen foot until the fight, and the illness actually helped keep his weight down. Now, he just needs to knock some rust off before it’s go time.
Mayhem wants to get even for the towing of his car, so he gets some of his blue-collar buddies to haul in highway barricades and block in Tiki’s fancy pickup truck. Tiki sees it, and cries on the inside.
Final pre-fight chatter: Roland had a restaurant outside of Winnipeg, but sold it to pursue his fighting dream. TJ says he’s not one of those typical wrestlers that just wants to lay on you; he wants to have exciting fights. Roland thinks his grappling will be the kryptonite to TJ’s wrestling. Says Dillashaw: “It gives me confidence when guys are scared of my abilities and what I can do.” Delorme has a four-inch reach advantage. Okay? Let’s get to it…
Round 1: Delorme fires a leg kick, Dillashaw catches it and takes him down. Delorme pops up, avoids a guillotine. Dillashaw almost catches another kick. He muscles Delorme to the mat, and starts punching from inside guard. Dillashaw passes to side control and drops some elbows. Delorme spins out and escapes. Nice uppercut from Dillashaw, Delorme returns with strikes. Another takedown from Dillashaw. He tries to take Delorme’s back, Delorme rolls to defend. Heavy ground-and-pound from Dillashaw, who’s landing and smashing Delorme up. Delorme gets up, Dillashaw hangs on to a leg and trips him down. Dillashaw looks for a choke on the ground. Delorme escapes to his feet, lands a body shot and a jab. Dillashaw connects with a right straight. Punch and body kick from Delorme. Dillashaw shoots, lands some knees from clinch. Delorme trips Dillashaw down and tries to work his jits, but Dillashaw reverses and ends the round on top. Big round for TJ.
Round 2: Dillashaw lands a right straight that knocks Delorme on his ass. Dillashaw starts celebrating, but Delorme stays conscious, so Dillashaw has to dive on and continue beating on him. Dillashaw with big elbows and punches from the top. Delorme trying to work his guard, but he’s dazed. Delorme tries to explode out, but Dillashaw stays on him, takes Delorme’s back and ends the fight with a choke. TJ Dillashaw makes it into the bantamweight semis.
Delorme has quite a lump on his face from the punishment Dillashaw was dishing out. He’s emotional. “I wanted it,” he says, choking back tears. “I didn’t get it.”
The score ends up 5-3 in Team Miller’s favor at the end of the quarterfinals, which means that two of his 135-pounders will have to fight each other in the semis. The coaches and Dana White bring in the fighters one by one to get their input.
First, the bantamweights come in. TJ Dillashaw wants “Vanilla Ice,” Dustin Pague, as it would be an exciting fight against somebody with a hole in his game. John Dodson wants TJ, or Johnny Bedford because Bedford fought three of Dodson’s teammates and beat them. Pague and Bedford both want to fight their teammate, Dodson, for being a snake-ass snitch. Mayhem and Bisping both agree that TJ and Dodson are the best 135-pounders, and would produce a great fight. (“Finally we agree on something,” Miller says. “Well, don’t get used to it,” Bisping says.)
The featherweights are brought in next. Bryan Caraway implies that he wants to fight Diego Brandao in the finals, but not in the semis. Unfortunately for him, the coaches both want Caraway vs. Diego and Akira vs. Dennis Bermudez.
The semis are announced. At bantamweight, TJ Dillashaw will meet Dustin Pague, and John Dodson will face Johnny Bedford. Akira says TJ picked the easy road again. Dodson says Bedford is too lanky too deal with him, and Pague compliments Dillashaw on being a “pretty good looking guy.”
At featherweight, it’s Akira Corassani vs. Dennis Bermudez and Diego Brandao vs. Bryan Caraway. Akira says Dennis is scared of his standup. Bermudez wants to pay Akira back for all the pranks in the house. Caraway, as expected, isn’t pleased with his matchup. He thinks him vs. Diego is “the true finals match.”
Says TJ: “Caraway is definitely scared of Diego. I train with Caraway back home and I know how good he is…he has to start believing it too. Diego’s super mentally strong, and Caraway isn’t, and that might be a factor in this fight.”