TUF 18 Season Finale took place last night, showcasing some great fights from top to bottom. There were some obvious winners and losers from the event:
Nate Diaz: Diaz is the biggest winner of the night. Coming into this trilogy fight, Diaz needed a win as he was finished by Josh Thomson in his last UFC outing. He dominated Gray Maynard from the opening bell, utilizing crisp strikes that Maynard didn’t have an answer for. Now, Diaz cracks the top five in the lightweight division again, and he’s certainly proving to be an elite fighter still.
Julianna Pena: Pena dominated Jessica Rakoczy in the first round, landing shot after shot from the top until the ref was forced to step in. The win secured her place in history as the first-ever women’s TUF winner. She’s going to be a great addition to the bantamweight division, and if she can keep developing, she may get a title shot soon.
Chris Holdsworth: Holdsworth was also fighting for a UFC contract, and he dominated David Grant thanks to his improved strikes and jiu-jitsu. He ended up getting the rear-naked choke and just like Pena, Holdsworth is going to be an exciting addition to the bantamweight division. He trains out of Team Alpha Male, so the sky is the limit for him.
Gray Maynard: This was Maynard second consecutive loss by way of TKO, and his chin seems to be suspect now. All of the damage he took in his bouts with Frankie Edgar and T.J. Grant may have finally caught up to him, and he may never get the chance to fight for a title again.
Maximo Blanco: Blanco landed an illegal knee to Akira Corassani, which is unfortunate because he seemed to be the superior fighter in the cage. This is a huge setback for Blanco, as he can’t get his win bonus and he’s going to have to learn the UFC rules going forward.
Roxanne Modafferi: Roxanne didn’t look spectacular against Raquel Pennington, losing a unanimous decision. This was probably her last shot at making waves in the UFC, and it doesn’t look like she has the skills to compete at the highest level anymore in the bantamweight division.