(“Alright boys, this one’s for all the marbles. Well, maybe not *all* the marbles, but some of the marbles. There will definitely be marbles involved, that much I can promise you.” Photo via MMAJunkie)
After three months of an Ultimate Fighter season that we lost interest in around episode 10, we’re finally at the finish line. Tonight’s TUF 18 Finale card in Las Vegas is headlined by a quasi-rubber-match between Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz — assuming that Nate’s high school reunion doesn’t run late. But the rest of the lineup shouldn’t be overlooked. For one thing, the main card is 60% female, which is unprecedented for the UFC, and the winner of the women’s bantamweight final could theoretically wind up fighting her own TUF coach in the not-so-distant future.
Handling our liveblog of the FOX Sports 1 main card is Matt Kaplan, who will be sticking round-by-round results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and shoot us your thoughts in the comments section.
Preliminary card results
- Akira Corassani def. Maximo Blanco via disqualification (intentional foul), :22 of round 1
- Tom Niinimaki def. Rani Yahya via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Jared Rosholt def. Walt Harris via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Sean Spencer def. Drew Dober via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
- Joshua Sampo def. Ryan Benoit via submission (rear-naked choke), 4:31 of round 2
Hey now. So who else is ready for the fight card of the year? Possibly the decade. Oh snap, here come the fighting robots: “It’s tiiiiime!” Man, I feel it deep in m’ plums.
Chael Sonnel just said Jessica Rakoczy is the “eight-time world boxing champion.” Some part of that statement is wrong. I’m not going to look it up because he didn’t even seem to believe that.
Submission of the Season: Three rear naked chokes and one armbar. I like Sarah Moras in this one. Feel free to vote on my behalf.
Raquel Pennington vs. Roxanne Modafferi
Rd. 1: Both ladies work the jab early; Modafferi opens with some kicks to the lead leg of Pennington. Modafferi is a bit more actice, whereas Pennington seems to be waiting on that right hand. Good 1-2 from Modafferi. Pennington hasn’t thrown anything in combination just yet. There’s a good right from Pennington, right on cue. Modafferi is throwing in volume, but Pennington is blocking most of the shots and landing the right hand with some success. They clinch against the fence. Modafferi looks for the trip, but Pennington seems to have the strength advantage. Nice elbow from Pennington right there. Back to the center of the cage we go. Good jab from Pennington, who’s picked up momentum and lands a big right at the bell.
Rd 2: Pennington is busier and looks strong. Modafferi lands a good left to the jaw and rushes in for a takedown, but Pennington holds her off. Pennington lands some good short elbows as the two break from a clinch against the fence. 1-2 from Pennington. Big right hand from Pennington; Modafferi wants no part of the fisticuffs and drops for the takedown. Pennington stuffs it and lands in Modafferi’s guard. Modafferi landed some elbows from the bottom, but Pennington is up and starting to score with the right hand from above. Whoa. Modafferi may have Pennington’s left arm. Nope, she’s out and back to her feet. Modafferi is still down. And she’s up. Pennington takes the center of the cage and fires that right hand again. Pennington lands a big lead left hook before the round ends.
Rd. 3: Pennington is the better striker, and Modafferi’s chin is real high. This could end badly. Pennington stuffs a takedown and swats away Modafferi’s flicking jabs. Modafferi is taking shots to the jaw as she circles away. Pennington controls the brief clinch, muscling Modafferi around at will. Modafferi misses a spinning back kick, eats a 1-2, and is stuffed on her takedown attempt. Pennington drops ‘bows from side control, and now from the guard of Modafferi. Modafferi wants the arm, but Pennington is posturing her way to safety and doing damage from top position. They’re up. Pennington wants the guillotine. Deep. Deep deep. Not quite. The fight ends with Pennington on top of a flattened Modafferi, still working for that guillotine.
Raquel Pennington wins via unanimous decision (30-27 X 2, 29-28).
Jessamyn Duke vs. Peggy Morgan
Rd. 1: Fists fly right away from both fighters. Duke lands a lead left. Morgan lands a left of her own now. Duke scores with a combo. Duke clinches as Morgan presses; Duke lands some knees. Duke works for an arm-in guillotine as she drops to her back. She’s squeezing as Morgan bridges forward. Morgan is in Duke’s guard. She pops up, but Duke wants the triangle. Duke elbows from the bottom. Morgan’s left arm is keeping her safe for now, but Duke is working from the bottom. Plenty of punches from Duke. Duke transitions to the triangle and lands some elbows. Duke elbows the neck and ears of Morgan. That looks unpleasant. Morgan just got battered.
Rd. 2: Again both fighters answer the bell with punch combinations, but it’s Duke who seems to have the striking advantage. Morgan jabs, but Duke comes over the top with the left hook. Duke just misses with the uppercut. Duke lands a right and then a left hook. Morgan is hanging in there, though. Morgan is landing her jab, but her head’s on a stick and she’s eating punches from Duke. Duke lands some knees to the body in the clinch. Right-left combination lands for Duke. More hooks from Duke. Morgan lands a jab; Duke counters with a right hook. That seems to be the story of this round. Duke lands a takedown at the bell.
Rd. 3: Morgan comes out aggressive, but Duke is the better counterpuncher and her head movement is superior. Duke kicks to the body, clinches, knees the body, and punches the face. Again Duke is landing her right hook-left hook tandem, and Morgan’s face shows it. Morgan wants a takedown. Duke does too apparently. Duke drags Morgan to the ground with a bulldog style headlock. Duke has the headlock, but Morgan is on Duke’s back. Morgan’s head is free, and Duke is flattened on her belly with Morgan working for the choke. Duke escapes and has Morgan in half guard. Morgan is punching, looking for a guard pass. Referee Lurch stands them – bad stand-up – and it’s Duke landing those hooks. And that’s that. Morgan’s face is jacked up.
Jessamyn Duke wins via unanimous decision (30-27 X 3).
Chris Holdsworth vs. Davey Grant
Rd. 1: Grant opens with some kicks to the outside of the lead leg of Holdsworth. Holdsworth misses with a huge overhand right. They clinch against the fence now, and it’s Grant with some good body shots. A big right from Holdsworth connects. Holdsworth wants Grant on the mat, but Grant is withstanding the attempt and looks for a takedown of his own. Good knee tot he body from Holdsworth. Grant lands a right hook to the body and misses the follow-up left hook upstairs. Holdsworth grabs a single leg, but Grant again holds him off. And it’s Grant now who goes for a slam. Holdsworth with a knee. Holdsworth’s jab is working for him. Fighters trade knees on the fence. Grant has the body lock, goes for a throw, but it’s Holdsworth who’s on top now. Holdsworth is in Grant’s guard as the round ends.
Rd. 2: Grant catches a head kick (after catching the shin to the face) and kicks the outside leg of the Californian. Grant with a body shot and a strong push kick. Holdsworth goes for the single leg, Grant counters with a choke, but Holdsworth escapes, takes down Grant, and is in side control. Grant’s nose is bleeding pretty badly. Holdsworth takes Grant’s back. Body triangle – check. Holdsworth gets under the chin, squeezes, ball game. Holdsworth proved to be the bigger, more proficient fighter tonight.
Chris Holdsworth wins via submission (rear naked choke), 2:50 of Rd. 2
Julianna Pena vs. Jessica Rakoczy
Rd. 1: Rakoczy opens with a short lead hook, and Pena charges in, pressing her against the cage. Pena finds herself on top as the two take it to the canvas. Both fighters pop up, and Pena is again muscling Rakoczy against the fence. Rakoczy lands a knee to the body, but Pena drags her down. Pena is in half guard now, dropping bombs. Rakoczy tries to get up, but Pena ain’t having it. Uh-oh. Pena is mounted and throwing leather. Rakoczy is trying to push Pena off with those long legs, but Pena is too high. Big elbow from Pena. Punches are a plenty. Rakoczy is covering up sort of intelligently, but Mario Yamasaki calls it with about 3 seconds left.
Julianna Pena wins via TKO, 4: 59 of Rd. 1.
Gray Maynard vs. Nate Diaz:
Rd. 1: No glove touching (no surprise), and we’re off. Maynard takes the center of the cage. Diaz lands some early jabs and a nice hook. Maynard gets the takedown and settles into Diaz’s guard. Maynard muscles Diaz against the fence. They’re up. Nice throw from Diaz, but Maynard is up. A cut is opened above the left eye of Maynard. An overhand right from Maynard hits Diaz on the side of the head. Diaz landed some left hands and Maynard is hurt. Diaz is keeping his distance and teeing off. Big uppercuts, right crosses, left hook. Maynard looks to be in trouble, and Yves Levigne stops is. That was a shit ton of punches that landed flush by Nate Diaz. Wow.
In the replay, you can see that a short left started it all. Diaz stayed poised and landed flush shots on Maynard, who may have been out on his feet.
Nate Diaz wins via Rd. 1 TKO (2:38).
Hey now. Can Nate say “motherfuckers” on Fox Sports 1? If not, too late.
(P.S. Ronda Rousey says of her friend Nate Diaz’s win, “It was great to end the night on a high note.” Weed reference?)