The Ultimate Fighter 14 now has its winners, as early favorites John Dodson and Diego Brandao both finished their respective finals fights in the first round.
Greg Jackson-trained John “The Magician” Dodson beat Team Alpha Male product TJ Dillashaw tonight to become the bantamweight winner of TUF 14, needing only 1:54 to do so. The fight hardly got going before it was over, with Dillashaw seeing his early offense negated when Dodson hurt him with a glancing blow. Seeing Dillashaw’s knees buckle, Dodson threw a crushing left hook that dropped his opponent and followed up with a torrent of ground and pound that prompted referee Herb Dean to call the fight.
Dillashaw fought for a single as Dean stopped it, but stood up on unstable legs. Many felt it was an early stoppage, but Dodson clearly had Dillashaw in trouble and had no qualms overtly celebrating his victory by doing parkour flips off the cage and acting generally rambunctious.
“Words cannot describe how I feel right now,” said Dodson. “Thank you everybody! I don’t care if you guys hate me, just watch me, please!”
Brazilian hard-luck story Diego Brandao was a heavy favorite to win TUF 14 in the featherweight division, but he didn’t do it the way everyone figured he would. A recent transplant to the Greg Jackson team himself, Brandao inspired great confidence in his ability by running through everyone he fought on the show, earning three straight victories by first-round knockout. Tonight though, Brandao was on the receiving end of the heavy punches, as wrestler-first Dennis Bermudez showed great improvement in the stand up department. After going back and forth for a spell, Bermudez sat Brandao down with a hard right hand. His follow-up torrent of ground and pound seemed close to ending things, but Brandao snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by rolling for a vicious armbar that had Bermudez tapping immediately.
Brandao became the featherweight winner of this season in the process and showed that he possesses potent finishing skills, standing or on the ground, proving that he has a bright future in the UFC.
The family-oriented 24-year-old was ecstatic in victory, saying afterward, “Now I’m going to be able to by a house for my mom in Brazil!”
The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale went down tonight from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.