It was Diego Brandao's turn in the cage this week, but not for long. | Photo: Daniel S. Archuleta
Last week, Team Bisping scored their first win over Team Miller and they handled it with class. Just kidding, they were jerks. Specifically, Hamid Corassani celebrated his win over Dustin Neace with a pseudo-chainsaw motion that had both corners leaping toward each other, earning Corassani a stern warning from an official.
The fiasco became more about the coaches than the fighters, as those two began to yell at each other. There really is some bad blood beginning to course through the veins of Jason Miller and Michael Bisping. In the lobby of the training center, more drama unfolds, as assistant coach Ryan Parsons tells Bisping, “You’re the most hated guy in the UFC. I get it now.” Bisping laughs it off, but the seed of future trouble has been sown.
The next fight on tap is between Steven Siler and Diego Brandao. Brandao was all over Siler last week, threatening to pound his face flat. Now, we hear a little of why Siler is involved in this imbroglio.
“I don’t know why Steve wants to fight Diego. I think it’s a respect thing,” says Miller, before discussing the “Brazilian mystique” which has everyone a little wary of facing Brandao. Everyone, that is, except Siler, who says later that he thinks that he and Brandao are the two top guys this season and, as such, they should be squaring off.
Siler is a softie at heart saying he misses his family, friends and girlfriend. “Missing Mary like crazy,” says Siler, name dropping his girl back home. While Siler remains a hopeless romantic, Brandao has reasons to fight for people back home as well.
Diego claims to have sold drugs and waived a gun around in previous years, back home in Brazil, before a friend talked him into leaving that life behind for fighting.
“The next day I sell my gun and give back the drugs,” says Brandao, remembering his turning point. Giving back the drugs... is that possible? How does that even work?
“These drugs haven’t been opened, I’d like to return them.”
“No receipt? You can exchange them for drugs of equal or lesser value.”
Seriously, Brandao does have a rather sad story, having lost his father at 14 and promising to take care of his family. Now he’s in a perfect position to do so. The Brazilian looks to be legit, but Siler is no slouch, having beaten the highly-touted Micah Miller to get into the house. The show leads us to believe that Siler’s cardio is infinitely better than Diego’s, as well.
All of these facts were tossed aside almost instantly when the bell rang, as Brandao rushes forward towards Siler with a leaping knee, garnishing a scream from his corner. “No!” screams Bisping, but before it’s fully out of his mouth, Brandao starts to uncork some power shots.
In the next few moments, it’s clear that Brandao is going to be just fine. He’s fighting at a different level of ferocity than Siler and has commanding power. Every strike he throws has an impact, and he just overwhelms Siler from the word go. Siler backs up against the fence and Brandao drops him with a left hook, following up with some more shots on the floor. Siler is out less than half-a-minute into their fight.
“After Diego knocks Siler out, the whole room goes quiet,” laughs Dana. “I felt like the rest of the 145-pounders were like, ‘Dude, can we just get our checks and get out of here?”
With two victories, Bisping is loving being on the winning side and tells Miller to ready for more. Miller’s still tending to a wounded fighter who has been dealt a major loss. As Bisping continues to chirp away, Miller asks “Could you be any more of a douchebag?”
Bisping finds this funny and refers to Miller as “Mr. Wacky Zany Character Guy,” believing that he’s giving Miller a taste of his own medicine. Instead, it’s just a sad display of sportsmanship from someone who should know better. After Team Miller leaves the ring, Bisping jogs after them looking for more and continues to bray insults at the bunch. Once back in his locker room, an exasperated Miller mocks Bisping for his infamous knockout loss to Dan Henderson in front of his charges.
“I don‘t know what makes Michael such an a------,” says Miller. “He might have a small penis, I don’t know.”
After that mess, Miller gets more bad news in the form of Roland Delorme’s foot. It’s looking pretty nasty and Coach Miller and Ryan Parsons tell Roland that he has to get it checked out ASAP, worrying that it might be a skin infection that could impact the other team members.
Finally, Bisping has control of a fight match up and he uses his time to address the teams with some proselytizing about the current state of affairs.
“There’s a few things we need to go over,” says Bisping, who then begins listing off all the areas in which Team Miller has committed errors. Each point he made ends with “...makes you look like an a------.” Miller rolls his eyes and his team is almost amused by it all.
Bisping announces John Dodson will be facing John Albert. Dodson races over and hugs Albert, because this cat is always clowning around. The story is less about the match up here and more about the match up that didn’t happen. Dodson’s the toughest dude left on Team Miller by most accounts and Team Bisping knows that one of their supposed studs T.J. Dillashaw passed the buck to “Prince” Albert when it came to fighting Dodson. Dillashaw requested to be matched up with Delorme, thinking it would make for a breezy back door entry into the quarterfinals.
“T.J.’s a draft dodger,” says teammate Akira Corassani, who isn’t impressed by the move. Dillashaw and Delorme are the last two left to fight, but there isn’t a square-off scene since Delorme is over at the emergency room. Mayhem informs both teams that Roland has an issue, but assures them he will be ready at fight time. T.J. raises his hand playfully as if he won and Bisping says he should, since the whole process is “merely a formality anyway.”
“Look at that face, how can you hate that face?” Miller says of Dodson. Dodson’s teammates are still giving him the cold shoulder, but he remains unaffected and ever-playful.
“Sorry, guys, but if you need a hug, I’m here for you, no?” says Dodson with outstretched arms.
Mayhem calls Dodson “pure energy condensed in his microframe,” but also warns that he’s “talented but lazy.” Dodson doesn’t back down from these charges, admitting that he’s never serious during training. He figures that’s what keeps him sharp.
Going into his fight with Albert, Dodson knows that his foe has several tools that work against him: he’s taller, a better striker and is more dangerous on the ground with his long limbs. Dodson still believes that Prince can’t handle his speed.
Dodson outclasses Albert in their fight, looking like a blur as he slaps him with high kicks, punches and whirls around him at a speeds unseen so far this season. Albert has no answer for Dodson, who easily removes himself from any position Albert tries to put him in. Dodson smiles and appears to be having fun, just like in practice.
In the second round, Albert is very tentative and Dodson is content to slow down a bit and cruise along, staying out of trouble and making sure that it looks easy. Dodson handily wins the decision.
“Maybe if I don’t hit him, I won’t piss him off,” says Dana, describing Albert’s game plan (or lack thereof) in the second round. Miller was disappointed in his own charge, saying that Dodson coasted and didn’t look to put Prince away.
“Yeah, I was fighting a conservative fight. If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying,” grins Dodson.
Bisping continues talking smack, even though his fighter lost.
“Back off to ‘Bully Beatdown,’” says Bisping referring to Miller’s MTV enterprise.
“I know one bully,” retorts Miller, holding up his fist.