The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller comes barreling down the home stretch tonight when the final episode airs on Spike TV. The live finale at The Palms in Las Vegas is still to come Saturday night, but the reality-show portion of the 14th season comes to a close this evening.
And even if ends with a thudding faceplant, the last season featuring pre-recorded mayhem on Spike will have been a smashing success.
Whether intentional or not, the UFC brass have saved the best for last.
By design or by happenstance, several factors came together and conspired to make this installment the best yet.
First and foremost, the organization made an excellent choice when it decided to use the final version of TUF in its current format to introduce the casual fans to the feather- and bantamweight divisions.
The familiarization added another element to the tried-and-true story arcs of (A) highly trained athletes competing for a professional contract; and (B) volatile personalities locked in a confined space to force interaction. Furthermore, the smaller fighters are generally the more active ones so 135- and 145-pounders promised and delivered some scintillating action.
Second, the powers-that-be landed the right coaches—Jason Miller's surprisingly mellow and cerebral approach to the exercise was the perfect foil for Michael Bisping's brash arrogance and emotional appeal.
Finally, there was a healthy dose of good old-fashioned luck.
It would appear the best fighters made it into the house and then progressed through the competition. The most exciting participants avoided upsets and injuries, which meant we got the best possible matchups and the results lead credence to that assertion. Additionally, the house was stacked with colorful personalities, but none so objectionable that things took a dark turn for the worse.
All in all, it's tough to see a better (realistic) scenario for TUF's last hurrah on Spike and we still have two fights to go. So tune in tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and join us as Bleacher Report brings you live commentary on the final installment of The Ultimate Fighter.