The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale: What We Learned from Pena vs. Rakoczy

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2013

Credit: Sherdog.com

The first-ever female Ultimate Fighter has been crowned as Julianna Pena absolutely mauled boxing champion Jessica Rakoczy.Β 

Throughout The Ultimate Fighter season 18, Pena delivered scary performance after scary performance, and this was no different. While Rakoczy is a great counter-striker, Pena gave her no space and took her down, jumped to mount and went nuts on her.

For the first time in a long time, Pena exits The Ultimate Fighter and enters the UFC as a force to be reckoned with. So what did we learn?

Julianna Pena is a Monster

Seriously. I've only said "oh ****" four times while watching women's MMA. Once was when Sarah Kaufman slammed Roxanne Modafferi, once was when Ronda Rousey turned Miesha Tate's arm into a balloon animal, and the other two were Julianna Pena.

Pena is one of the few women that enters the cage with the clear objective of hurting their opponent. The only other woman that really applies to, at least for me, is the champion herself.

She rushes in, throws hard, wrestles people to the ground and punches them until the ref has had enough. We'll see how far she gets in the UFC from here, because she proved that she was a shark among guppies on TUF.

Jessica Rakoczy is Just Not There Yet

Jessica Rakoczy is a boxer. Mixed martial artist? Not yet.

She has all the tools to succeed. You're a fool if you think she doesn't. She's an honest-to-goodness elite striker, but even as Pena gave her chances to escape, Rakoczy didn't know how to capitalize.

That's something that will come with time, if she chooses to stay in mixed martial arts. Right now, though, she simply doesn't quite know how to handle a fighter like Pena, and is likely to see every fighter she faces for the indefinite future employ her strategy.

Women's MMA Can Still Salvage a Show

Roxanne Modafferi vs. Raquelle Pennington was a savvy veteran surviving against a bigger, stronger opponent. That's the long way of saying it wasn't exciting.

Jessamyn Duke vs. Peggy Morgan was illuminating in regards to the strengths and weaknesses of two physically impressive female fighters. That's the long way of saying it was mildly interesting.

Julianna Pena vs. Jessica Rakoczy, though, showed what the fans have come to expect from ladies' fights. Two ladies throwing caution to the wind and going for the win with everything they have. This fight, combined with the main event, salvaged a somewhat lackluster card.

It Isn't a Great Night for Team Rousey


Ronda had a fighter in either tournament's final and both lost.Β 

The TUF 18 coach was emotionally invested in her fighters' success to a fault during the season. It showed as she held back tears as two of her fighters battled in Duke vs. Morgan.

It definitely wasn't her team's night, however, and both her finalists left the cage empty-handed.


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