The Ultimate Fighter 18: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate continued tonight on FOX Sports 1. This season features 8 men and 8 women bantamweights battling together in The Ultimate Fighter house for the first time in the show’s history. Tune in each week as the fighters, coached by UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and rival Miesha Tate, vie for a six-figure UFC contract on FOX Sports 1. [Spoilers Below]
Very abbreviated lead-in for tonight’s fight with the focus being on how both women are dealing with lingering injuries from previous fights on the reality show. Pennington is dealing with a banged up hand and Rakoczy is dealing with a shoulder injury and both reaggravate the injuries prior to their semifinal bout. Both coaching staffs talk about how these injuries will affect their fighters in the show’s final aired bout. Both make weight easily and it is fight time.
Jessica Rakoczy (Team Rousey) vs. Raquel Pennington (Team Tate)
Rd. 1- Kim Winslow is our referee. JR is using her boxing to control distance early and while she isn’t landing heavy shots, she is scoring. RP is focusing on getting her timing down but is mostly just chasing and occasionally throwing a counter or one loaded shot. JR is landing well still but RP is starting to find some success with legkicks and a push kick. JR’s jab is very good today. JR lands a great combo that backs up RP but RP drops to a takedown to get the fight to the floor. JR defends across the cage and stops RP’s momentum before the Team Tate team member finally powers a takedown but does not do anything off it and JR stands and throws elbows. RP gets it back to the canvas after JR makes a simple wrestling mistake and she finishes the round on top. Close round, but MMAFrenzy has it 10-9 Rakoczy.
Rd. 2- JR feels she lost the first and comes out firing her jab. RP is still finding some success with kicks but her striking is not nearly as crisp as it usually is. JR with a great counter combo on a RP rush and she connects with another one soon after. RP lands a few nice punches as her corner is imploring her to be more active. Hard combo landed by JR and her boxing pedigree is a big factor so far. Nice legkick by RP but a follow up shot is negated by a slick counter straight by RP. Another 1-2 by JR lands and she looks to jab the body again. RP drives on a takedown with 0:45 left and it is not technically sound by any means and JR spends the remaining part of the round fending it off. MMAFrenzy has it 10-9 Rakoczy (20-18).
Rd. 3- JR doubles up on the jab and drops a jab to the body is well. RP has really struggled to find her range in the striking game. JR with a nice combo and again she evades well. To the head and body for JR again. Nice pair of right and left hooks by JR and she lands the combo again.Hard legkick by RP lands and that’s been her best strike tonight. RP tries a single but pays for it as JR tags her. Stiff hook from JR lands flush and it bloodies the nose of RP in what was the best strike of the fight so far. Ninety ticks left in the round now. Nice combo by JR and she backs out at the end to avoid being taken down. Head and body again by JR. RP with a takedown attempt with 0:30 left and she gets it but takes more damage than she dishes out as the round ends. MMAFrenzy has it 10-9 Rakoczy in a close, but decisive, fight (30-27).
Jessica Rakoczy def. Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision (30-27,30-27,30-27)
The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finals:
Chris Holdsworth (Team Tate) vs. David Grant (Team Rousey)
Juliana Peña (Team Tate) vs. Jessica Rakoczy (Team Rousey)