Armbar Gives Diego Brandao TUF 14 Featherweight Title Over Dennis Bermudez

Diego Brandao, left, submits Dennis Bermudez

Brazilian sinks miracle submission late in Round 1

Dennis Bermudez may not have been buying the Diego Brandao hype. But in the end, he had no choice.

Bermudez stood toe-to-toe with Brandao in the first round, eventually landing a big right that dropped his heavily favored opponent.

But when Bermudez moved in looking to land enough shots with Brandao on his back to finish the fight, he finally made a mistake. Bermudez left his left arm open, Brandao snatched it – and then snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. At 4:51 of the first round, Brandao submitted Bermudez with an armbar to become the Season 14 featherweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” – in arguably the greatest single round in TUF Finale history.

Though just one round, the fight was awarded Fight of the Night by UFC president Dana White after the card, giving Brandao and Bermudez each an additional $40,000. And Brandao won another $40,000 for Submission of the Night.

Bermudez came forward quickly and set the pace against the heavily favored Brandao. Standing in the pocket with him, Bermudez mixed in kicks and jabs.

Brandao (14-7, 1-0 UFC) weathered Bermudez’s early offense, though, and then landed a big right hand that dropped Bermudez (7-3, 0-1 UFC). Bermudez recovered and lasted long enough for Brandao to land a flying knee, take his back, land a slam and just miss the kind of kick that puts peoples lights out.

But just when it looked like Brandao was taking over, Bermudez landed a huge right of his own. He jumped all over his downed opponent and landed big shots on the ground, fending off Brandao’s upkicks before ultimately diving in for ground and pound in what would be a crucial mistake.

Bermudez left his left arm open, Brandao grabbed hold, rolled over and locked in an armbar for the ages, forcing a wincing Bermudez to tap with just nine seconds left in the round.

Brandao, a member of Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., gave Greg Jackson two students with TUF titles on Saturday after John Dodson won the bantamweight crown. Brandao had three knockouts on the show and said repeatedly he hoped to win the season so he could provide a better life for his family in Brazil. The $80,000 in bonus money alone should give him a good headstart. Brandao has now won four straight fights.

Bermudez, whose resume includes fights for M-1 Challenge and Shine Fights, has now lost three straight – all by submission.

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