TUF featherweight winner gets fight, submission awards
Diego Brandao hoped winning the title of featherweight “Ultimate Fighter” would get him on the way to helping his mom and family in Brazil. With a pair of bonus awards Saturday, he’s off to a great start.
Brandao won Fight of the Night on Saturday for his win over Dennis Bermudez at the TUF 14 Finale – and also took home the Submission of the Night award. Each was worth $40,000, giving Brandao $80,000 in bonus money for his one-round fight to go along with the TUF 14 featherweight crown. And new bantamweight TUF champ John Dodson took home the bonus for Knockout of the Night against T.J. Dillashaw.
Brandao was a more than 3-to-1 favorite against Bermudez. But the underdog came out strong to start the fight. Brandao turned things around and landed a big right hand. But Bermudez landed a big right of his own late in the round and eventually found himself diving in for ground and pound trying to finish the fight. But the back-and-forth first round finally settled in Brandao’s favor when he latched onto Bermudez’s left arm and rolled over for a fight-ending armbar.
Dodson danced to the outside of most of Dillashaw’s strikes in the early going of their bantamweight fight. But just over 90 seconds in, he connected with a big shot that put Dillashaw on his knees. Though Dillashaw popped up quickly, Dodson dropped him again and only needed a couple short shots on the ground before the fight was stopped.
Brandao was not the first double bonus winner in TUF Finale history. At the TUF 7 Finale, Dustin Hazelett also won Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night. But it was the first time in TUF Finale history that all four bonus awards went to contestants from the house. Fifteen of the 16 fighters from the TUF 14 house fought on Saturday’s card. Only Akira Corissani was absent due to an injury; he was replaced by Josh Clopton, who lost his preliminary fight to get into the house. The last TUF season with all members of the house represented at the live finale was Season 8.