TUF 18 Finale Preview

tuf18_finaleThe end of the year is approaching and that means another The Ultimate Finale as the reality show that became the first step for the UFC to become an almost mainstream sport. This year the reality show would have a different twist to it through as the UFC looked to help build the newest division in the promotion. This year for The Ultimate Fighter 18 the house would include Bantamweight Women and Bantamweight Men. For the first time ever the house would be filled with women and men both fighting for the chance at a UFC contract and a chance to accomplish a dream. In the 18th season the women would take a lot of focus as they would put on some great fights and would be the main attraction of the show. It was well deserved that the women got a lot of attention but it did take away from the great bantamweight fighters on the male side of the competition. The men did not receive a lot of attention and went through the show silently but two men would work their way to the top of the heap and earn a spot in the finale. Chris Holdsworth and Davey Grant will face off for the Men’s Bantamweight TUF title in a matchup of similar styles. For Davey Grant the path to the finale was not what he had imagined as he would earn a submission of Louis Fisette but then would earn a spot in the final fight thanks to a DQ. For the first time in show history two fighters would miss weight and would be kicked off of the show. One of these was Anthony Guttierez, who earned a spot in the semi-finals with a DQ due to Cody Bollinger missing weight, as he would give Grant a free pass to the finale. It was not the way Grant wanted to get the chance to fight for the contract but it will give him some extra motivation. Grant is now looking to prove that he belongs in the finale and that he would have won the fight against Guttierez whether he made weight or not. In the other corner will be Team Tate’s second pick in Chris Holdsworth. Holdsworth would fight both of his scheduled fights and in both fights would end with a submission in the first round. He was a strong fighter throughout the show and enters the fight as a slight favorite to win it all. Holdsworth has made little noise aside from in the octagon and has easily made it through everyone they put in front of him. Both fighters have shown that they can strike and that they are good enough to submit anyone on the ground. In this fight there is a different factor that may play in though as Davey Grant has that bit of grit that makes him a scary fighter. Ultimately the fight will be an extremely close one with both fighters seeing equal skills in the standup and on the ground. Davey Grant will come out on top of this fight though as Holdsworth will be challenged for the first time and will fall to Grant in a unanimous decision. The men had a good run on the show but the women would be the main story of the show. Two women in particular would be the main story as Juliana Pena and Jessica Rakoczy would take their opportunity to the finale and earn the chance to win a UFC contract. Julianna Pena is the clear favorite in this fight as she was one of the best fighters on the show. Pena would earn two submissions on her way to the finale and would impress everyone with how refined she was as a fighter. The technical ability of Pena would rule in the octagon but in the opposite corner will be unrefined Jessica Rakoczy. Rakoczy is a great technical boxer but in MMA she is nowhere close to the technical ability of Pena. Rakoczy would get through the show using her superior boxing to earn a devastating KO of Roxanne Modafferi and to earn a unanimous decision victory over Raquel Pennington. Now she will have some time to prepare herself in the other aspects of MMA to try to compete with Pena in the octagon. Julianna Pena is the better fighter in this fight but it will be about how much Rakoczy has adjusted in her time since the fight. Still it seems that Pena will be able to take this fight although not as easily as she might think with a unanimous decision.

After the TUF 18 champions are determined the TUF 18 Finale will see two fighters enter the octagon with a fight of the night almost guaranteed. Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz have made a habit of putting on great fights including their own matchup in 2010. In their first meeting Gray Maynard would take the win via split decision and as a reward he would take one step towards the lightweight title. After his win against Diaz Maynard would take on and beat Kenny Florian earning him a title fight against Frankie Edgar. That would start the two fight series for the title where Maynard would come out on the wrong side of a draw and a loss. Since his title fights Maynard would win a fight against Clay Guida but would lose his last fight against TJ Grant. Meanwhile Nate Diaz would begin an up and down career. After losing to Maynard, Diaz would win two fights in a row and then lose another two in a row. He would then go on a three fight win streak that would earn him a title shot, which he would lose to Benson Henderson. Another loss after his title fight has put Diaz in a tough spot as he looks to hold on to his top 10 ranking in the lightweight division. Both fighters are looking for a similar result after the fight as they hope to move up the lightweight rankings and earn a spot opposite Anthony Pettis for the title. It is a challenge in this division though as the lightweight division is one of the toughest in the UFC. Both fighters sit in the top 10 of the division and a win against each other will be sure to help them towards another title shot. More than any of this though the fight between Maynard and Diaz is sure to be the best of the night as both will not only be going for the win but will be trying to get a fight bonus. It is an early favorite for the fight of the night and is sure to be a great end to a great night where two new fighters enter the UFC at the TUF 18 Finale.


Fight Card:

Main Event:
Gray “The Bully” Maynard vs. Nate Diaz (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Main Card:
Julianna “The Venezuelan” Pena vs.  Jessica “Ragin” Rakoczy  [TUF Women’s Bantamweight Title] (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Chris “Holds it Down” Holdsworth vs. “Dangerous” David Grant [TUF Men’s Bantamweight Title] (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke vs. Margaret “Daywalker” Morgan (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi vs. Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Akira Corassani vs. Maximo “Maxi” Blanco (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Rani Yahya vs. Tom “Stoneface” Niinimaki (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt vs. Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Sean Spencer vs. Drew Dober (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Josh “The Gremlin” Sampo vs. Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit (Facebook)

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