The Ultimate Fighter 18 Week 13 Notes: History Made with First Female Finals Set

November 28, 2013
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Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate TUF 18 CoachesThe final episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate aired on Wednesday night and featured the final fight of the season between Team Rousey’s Jessica Rakoczy and Team Tate’s Raquel Pennington setting the stage for the first female Ultimate Fighter finals in the series’ eight-year history.

Pre-fight Injuries

Both women had fought twice heading into the semi-final round and carried with them nagging injuries.

While preparing for the Rakoczy bout, Pennington was working with teammate Louis Fisette and injured her right hand.

“Just working on some technique getting ready for the fight and took a takedown and threw him completely on me. It messed up my hand a little bit,” said Pennington. “And it hurts.”

“My forearm is still a little messed from mine and Jessamyn (Duke’s) fight, blocking her kicks and stuff. My shin hurts pretty bad. I thought I’d be worried about my stitches, but it’s my hand. I thought I broke it,” she explained. “The doc seen it and said my bone was popped out of place. So when he put it back in place it hurt so bad. It’s been swollen. It hurts to grip and everything. That makes me kind of nervous.”

Rakoczy was also feeling the effects of the grueling tournament prior to the fight. While sparring with Chris Beal, reinjured her shoulder, which has been bothering her all season.

“Today we went to spar and I get in there with Chris, strong Chris, and he hit me so hard with the right hand,” said Rakoczy. “Coming in, the first fight I hurt my shoulder. So I’ve been trying to ease it back but my shoulder just wasn’t a 100-percent. It just like shot through my arm all the way down to my fingers and it was just numb.

“That is just really frustrating when you can’t give a 100-percent. I need to be healed up,” she added. “You do what you can with what you have, so I’m making the best out of it.”

The Fight: Jessica Rakoczy vs. Raquel Pennington

Stylistically, Pennington is the bigger and stronger lady, but Rakoczy has a better boxing background and a speed advantage.

Rakoczy drew on her eight-world title boxing pedigree and stuck and moved. She used her jab to keep Pennington at distance and began mixing in combinations. Pennington secured a late takedown in the opening roun,d but Rakoczy landed elbows from the bottom.

As the fight wore on, Rakoczy’s speed and footwork began to take over. She moved in and out landing shots and outworked Pennington. When it was all said and done, it was clear who had won. As the last pick for Team Rousey, Rakoczy advanced to the finals by unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the fight 30-27.

“This has been one of the greatest camps I’ve ever been to and this experience has made me a better fighter,” said the single mom following the win. “I’m very happy and very pleased with everything that has happened. Even though I miss my son incredibly, it feels really great right now. I can’t even put it into words.

Coach Ronda Rousey said Rakoczy was the most improved fighter on the show.

“All I can say is that I pretty much beat myself before I even stepped foot in that cage. That wasn’t me out there,” said Pennington in defeat. “I just didn’t perform. I completely had a mental block going on. This sport constantly throws curve balls at you. Right when you think you have everything figured out, you really don’t.”

Rakoczy faces Julianna Pena in the finals on Nov. 30 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas to crown the first ever women’s The Ultimate Fighter winner.

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  • Jay Mcgarrity

    Pretty anti climatic season with such a boring semi final fight to follow a fight that didn’t even happen. I can’t put too much blame on Pennington as she hurt her hand and seemed reluctant to throw it like she did in previous fights. Rakoczy seemed content to just defend takedowns and point score her way to a decision, did not look like she was going after a finish at any point in the fight. I had such high hopes for this season but it definitely did not meet my expectations, extremely over hyped as well.

    • shakejunt

      almost every female fight was an upset of sorts and the men’s bracket seems to have produced some credible talent. definitely anti-climatic ending, but the season was overall entertaining.

      • L

        Raquel just didn’t show up at all. I remember watching the first round, waiting for her to throw the right hand (even though I knew it was hurt). I think we saw the difference between Mens MMA and Womens MMA last night.

        Although, last week, Anthony… Embarrassed every pro MMA fighter out there.

        • R

          You are an idiot.

        • shakejunt

          big supporter of wmma, but the difference wasn’t evident already?

    • Maddawgmar

      Rakoszy was nursing an injured shoulder all season long. You can’t blame Pennington because she was injured, but can blame Rakoszy, who had been injured the entire season yet still fought and won. Kinda hypocritical huh?

      • Jay Mcgarrity

        The reason why I said I can’t blame Pennington is because she was the reason the fight was boring. Don’t assume I’m blaming one side just because I’m not defaulting blame on the other, sometimes in life, nobody is to blame. Rakoczy was active the entire fight so if Pennington was able to participate more, it could’ve been an exciting fight. I didn’t bad mouth Rakoczy, just pointed out that it didn’t look like she was going for a finish no matter how beaten Pennington appeared to be. I realize they were both hurt, they literally promoted the fight as 2 injured fighters going at it.

        I’m not blaming these two girls for the anti climatic season as they did what they could. Aside from the two that didn’t make weight, can’t really fault anyone else for a season that I found kind of average, especially after all that Kool-Aid Dana had me drinking while promoting “this thing”.

  • Ks mma

    Man I’m sick of Rhonda. I hope everyone figures out how to defend that armbar since I think that is the only way she can win a fight. Was pretty sold on her before the show, can’t stand her now.

    • Lexington Steel

      And everyone is sick i this generic comment on the internet. “Ronda is showing her true colors gosh i cant stand her” ya ya we heard this all before. Its becoming clichè.

      • jake snod

        Rousey lost the fan base with her gutter mouth and uncouth actions. Just a slob.

  • steeltown65

    Really? You can’t find it exciting that women are getting a chance to show their talent and get paid for it. They have everything stacked against them. And as far as the fight went. I thought it was a smart fight by rackozy and a no show by Pennington. Plus they were both hurt. If this was a normal fight. They probably would have both pulled out due to injury. A boxer doesn’t brawl with a brawler. Rackozy new to Stick and move. Smart fighter. And for those who don’t lime Rhonda. She has to stay in character. It’s for her sake. If she thinks she looks weak she is weak. If somebody else thinks she looks weak. It makes her’s a mental thing.

  • jake snod

    Rousey destroyed the TUF show with her garbage act. TUF was terrible this season and all thefighters on TUF stink. Rousey stinks also.

  • jake snod

    Most any college athlete beats the living hell out of all the woman and men on TUF. Tiny midget elves

  • rouseyisthenameofshame

    dana’s cash cow is now just a cow to ufc fans.