The Ultimate Fighter 14's (TUF) TJ Dillashaw weighed in today at 135.5 pounds, while his opponent tomorrow night, John Dodson, weighed in at 134 pounds, setting the stage for the first-ever bantamweight final in Ultimate Fighter history.
Likewise, Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez weighed in today at a slim 146 pounds, while his opponent, Diego "Ceara" Brandao came in on point at the 145-pound limit, thus the featherweight final is also set.
It was a difficult road to Las Vegas for the finale for all four men, but it was a road worth traveling for them to earn their spots in the most prominent mixed martial arts promotion in the world.
For the first time in quite a while, things in the featherweight and bantamweight bracket are how things are supposed to be for any season of TUF featuring two weight classes: two finalists representing one team and the other two finalists representing the other, which begs the question:
Who wins the contracts?
Will Dodson and Bermudez take it for a Team Mayhem main card sweep before the coaches duke it out? Will Brandao and Dillishaw take the contracts for Team Bisping? Will there be some combination of two of these finalists, or will we see Dana White do his rarity and publicly offer one or both of the losers of each bout a contract after a winner is decided?
There is some educated logic in the prediction for the latter-most, since the runner-up usually sticks around for a little bit anyway, but Dodson and Brandao have the best chances of success from where I'm spectating.
To beat both men, it takes an overpowering ground game, since both men can take some clean shots without much worry, and, while Dillashaw and Bermudez showed excellent wrestling on the show, Dillas never had to try to keep Dodson on the ground, nor did Bermudez have to keep Brandao on the ground.
Brandao is more the striker in the fight with Bermudez, and Dodson has his own wrestling game to help him control the bout against Dillashaw, but if you ask around, most of the people picking Dillashaw are aware that Dodson does not look like a natural bantamweight.
Dodson knows that people see him as a natural flyweight, and that people are a bit hesitant to give Dodson a chance to hold his own at 135 pounds when it counts, but Dodson's speed and his ability to pace himself should pay dividends towards his success tomorrow night.
Plus, let's not forget that both Brandao and Dodson represent Jackson's MMA, so they are always around fighters with solid wrestling and have therefore maintained some very good takedown defense, which brings us to Brandao.
As stated before, Brandao's a striker predominantly, but he also has a good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) game, one which is only not seen because he does a good job with defending takedowns, and that's where the trouble starts for Bermudez.
What will Bermudez have to say for himself if Brandao consistently defends the takedown attempts and keeps landing bomb after bomb on him?
There will be nothing to really say, but Bermudez will feel it, just as Dillashaw will feel everything Dodson lays in on him, and both Team Jackson fighters will be the men to take home the contracts on this season's finale.
Hopefully, when all is said and done, the fights will be so entertaining that all four men are publicly offered contracts after what should be the two most breathtaking finale bouts in the history of TUF.