TUF 14 Finale: 10 Reasons Michael Bisping Will Destroy Mayhem Miller
This past Thanksgiving weekend, we all had a lot to be thankful for. One thing I'm very thankful for is the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter.
The UFC needed more bantamweights and featherweights, and the reality show delivered. There are plenty of great prospects for the UFC's two new weight classes. This cast of fighters also delivered some of the best fights in TUF history!
Unlike TUF 13, we also got to see two coaches who really and truly don't like each other. The pranks were creative and entertaining. Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller clearly didn't like each other from day one, but the animosity between them grew by leaps and bounds as the season progressed.
Both men did an admirable job training their fighters, although Mayhem was probably just a little better at it.
There were great fights and great personality conflicts. Akira Corassani was definitely this season's bad boy. The really surprising thing was that the UFC did not pursue a rematch between Akira and Dustin Neace.
At the end of the day, the 14tth offering of the UFC's reality show has given us everything we could have possibly asked for except one: an evenly matched pair of coaches.
Whether you love him or hate him, one thing is obvious: Michael Bisping is going to kick the crap out of Mayhem Miller. In fact, this is probably the worst mismatch that we've seen in TUF history.
Without further ado, let's take a closer look at this mismatch.
1. Michael Bisping Has Been Facing UFC-Level Competition for a Lot Longer
There's no great shame in losing a fight to Georges St-Pierre. The problem is that loss to GSP is the only UFC fight on Jason Miller's résumé. Miller hasn't fought on MMA's biggest stage for almost seven years.
No doubt Mayhem Miller has grown a lot as a fighter since then. But in spite of everything he's accomplished fighting in Japan and around the world, there's just no substitute for getting it done inside the Octagon. Just ask Jake Shields.
Michael Bisping will have home-field advantage against Miller, fighting for the 15th time in the UFC. Sure, the crowd will boo "The Count," but I think Bisping is used to that sort of thing by now.
What's most important to consider: Michael Bisping fights very well inside the Octagon and has 11 victories to prove it.
2. Bisping Has Better Boxing Than Mayhem
The best-remembered moment in Michael Bisping's UFC career is no doubt getting knocked out by Dan Henderson at UFC 100.
But few will recall that before the H-Bomb landed on Bisping's chin, "The Count" was easily out-pointing Henderson by sheer volume of strikes. Had Hendo never landed the big home-run shot, Bisping probably would have won that fight by unanimous decision.
There are only a handful of UFC fighters that have good enough technical boxing to make a potentially successful run as a pure boxer.
Frankie Edgar is one. Junior dos Santos is another. Michael Bisping falls into that same category. Just as we see with JDS and Edgar, "The Count" is very good at hitting and not getting hit back.
Bisping is by no means a one-punch knockout threat—at least not on the same level as Dan Henderson. But what he lacks in raw power he more than makes up for in precision and volume of strikes.
3. The Count Has Better Kicks and Knees Than Mayhem Too
Michel Bisping is a two-time British national champion kickboxer, and with 13 of his 21 career wins coming by KO or TKO, it's obvious that his kickboxing skills have translated well to his MMA career.
Bisping is very good at mixing things up. He throws punches, kicks and knees from angles or straight down the pipe, all to good effect.
Bisping's power and knockout prowess is extremely underrated too. He's 11-3 in the UFC with seven of his wins coming by knockout. Having 64 percent of your UFC wins coming by stoppage due to strikes is pretty impressive.
Michael has great kicks, knees and an excellent clinch game.
Mayhem is an average striker at best. He has a total of six career wins by KO/TKO, all of them against relative nobodies.
To say that Mayhem Miller has a puncher's chance in the striking portion of this contest is probably being too generous.
4. Footwork and Head Movement
Michael Bisping is quick on his feet and very adept at moving side to side. He's very skilled at ducking or sidestepping an opponent's strike and landing his own.
Sideways movement makes him a difficult target to hit and an even more difficult target to take down.
It also helps him set up and land a large volume of strikes without getting hit back. When fighters do land strikes against Bisping, they rarely do so with their full power.
If he can't get the fight to the ground, Jason Miller is going to spend the duration of the fight chasing after Bisping and getting peppered with strikes all the while.
5. Mayhem Miller Can't Take Michael Bisping Down
It's pretty obvious that against a striker like Michael Bisping, Jason "Mayhem" Miller desperately needs to take this fight to the ground. Unfortunately for Miller, he won't be able to make it happen.
Michael Bisping has better-than-average wrestling for a UFC fighter, but his takedown defense is absolutely superb. There may be only two or three middleweights in the entire UFC with better takedown defense.
More importantly, fighters who manage to score a takedown on Bisping inevitably see him popping back up to his feet again.
Only strong high-level wrestlers like Rashad Evans and Matt Hamill have managed to keep The Count grounded for long.
Jason Miller does not have the skills to put Michael Bisping on his back and keep him there.
6. Michael Bisping Is a Lot Better on the Ground Than You Think
Yes, Michael Bisping's specialty is standing and trading, but that's not his entire game by any means. He's actually a very skilled grappler. He regularly mixes his punches, kicks and knees with shooting in for takedowns—a very good tactic for keeping opponents guessing.
What may come as a surprise to most is that Bisping has been training in jiu-jitsu since he was eight years old. That means he started to learn jiu-jitsu at about the same age as your typical elite wrestler. In fact, it wasn't until Bisping was 15 years old that he got any significant training in anything else.
We seldom see Bisping's ground game because he's so successful finishing opponents standing up. But if Mayhem Miller manages to get Michael Bisping down on the ground, Mayhem will soon discover that The Count is quite comfortable fighting him there as well.
7. Michael Bisping Can Choose Where the Fight Takes Place
We can expect Jason Miller to spend most of Round 1 trying and failing to get the fight to the ground. Sure, we've seen Bisping get taken down before, but it's taken high-level wrestlers like Matt Hamill and Rashad Evans to actually keep him down.
After having no success for the first five minutes, Mayhem isn't going to have much choice in the matter. He's going to have to give it up and fight The Count standing and trading.
This means this fight will take place where Bisping is strongest and Mayhem is weakest.
8. Michael Bisping Fights Better Angry
It doesn't seem to take much to get on Michael Bisping's nerves, and Jason "Mayhem" Miller has definitely managed to do it.
In any combat sport, getting in your opponent's head and making them seriously angry is an art form.
Now in the vast majority of cases, getting your opponent angry is actually a good thing. When you're fighting somebody who is angry, they typically leave openings and make mistakes they wouldn't ordinarily have made. From there, it's just a matter of exploiting those openings, seizing the opportunities and making them pay for it.
But some fighters actually fight better angry.
Nick Diaz and Brock Lesnar are just two examples of guys you really don't want to play that game with. Michael Bisping is another one of those guys who actually fights better when he's angry.
Prior to his last fight, Jorge Rivera did a first-rate job of seriously pissing Bisping off.
Michael's behavior in that fight makes just about everyone this side of the Atlantic want to kick the crap out of him. That makes it easy to miss the fact that Bisping lost nothing of his technical prowess, was attacking with greater power and kept it all together while going after Rivera like a man possessed.
You might say that Mayhem has more reason to be angry at Bisping than the reverse—and you'd be right saying it. But whether it makes sense or not, at the end of the day, Bisping is seriously pissed off at Jason Miller.
9. Bisping Eats Guys Like Jason Miller for Breakfast
Jason "Mayhem" Miller is pretty well-rounded. He's a decent striker and Muay Thai fighter. But his best game is submissions fighting. With 14 of his 24 wins coming by submission, making opponents tap out is clearly what Mayhem does best.
Michael Bisping has already fought and beaten fighters with that same skill set many times. Not only has he beaten them all, he beat most of them by knocking them out.
The Count has the following "Mayhem clones" on his knockout hit list: Eric Schafer, Elvis Sinosic, Charles McCarthy, Jason Day and Denis Kang. He's also beaten Miller-like fighters Dan Miller and Yoshihiro Akiyama by unanimous decision.
Bisping has been beating submissions specialists for his entire UFC career, and he's been making it look pretty easy. Miller is exactly the type of fighter that Michael Bisping specializes in destroying.
10. Michael Bisping Has Never Been Submitted
Clearly, Jason Miller's best skills are his submission skills.
Unfortunately for Miller, Michael Bisping isn't going to be tapping out on Saturday.
As we've already seen in the last slide, Bisping has faced a lot of submissions specialists, and none of them has managed to do what Miller undoubtedly wants to do on Saturday: submit Michael Bisping.
What are the odds that Mayhem can do what another seven submissions specialists and 17 other fighters couldn't do? In 24 fights, you'd almost expect somebody to get The Count to tap just once, but nobody has.
If you're expecting Bisping to tap out, let me offer you this advice: Don't hold your breath.
Jason Miller is probably durable enough to go the distance, but Michael Bisping is going to win the fight by unanimous decision.