UFC Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale: Biggest winners, losers from Las Vegas last night

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

MMAmania.com runs down the list of “Who’s Hot” and “Who's Not” from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale last night (Nov. 30, 2013), nominating the biggest winners and losers from the “Diaz vs. Maynard 3” event that aired on FOX Sports 1 live from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 may not have been as eventful as we had hoped it would be, and the same could be said for the event Finales.

However, the main event was a different story.

After more than five hours of decision-filled and slow paced fights, Nate Diaz brought home the victory in the rubber match against Gray Maynard, stopping him in the first round after punches in bunches had "The Bully" out on his feet.

The women's Bantamweight TUF winner this year was Julianna Pena, who stopped Jessica Rakoczy with one second left in the first round to become the first-ever female to win the promotion's tournament.

Chris Holdsworth was crowned TUF 18's men's 135-pound winner, submitting David Grant in the second round via rear-naked choke. It is another submission win for Holdsworth, who picks up his fifth straight submission victory.

Nonetheless, in mixed martial arts (MMA), each bout can have only one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs, while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows. Every competitor who steps foot in the eight-walled cage is looking for that moment of glory. Some capture it, others don't.

There were several shining stars on UFC's TUF 18 Finale, including spectacular tournament-winning performances and aspiring mainstays making the most of their opportunity. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from Las Vegas.

Let's do this:

Biggest Winner -- Nate Diaz

Not only did he snap a two-fight losing streak, Nate Diaz did something in the main event that he has not done since UFC 111 in 2010: Stop his opponent with strikes.

Diaz was able to finish Maynard, who was out on his feet, climbing back into the win column with one of the most impressive performances of his career.

Whether or not Diaz is heading to the Welterweight division, it seems somewhat foolish for him to leave lightweight after an excellent performance like the one he had last night -- unless he really cannot afford to make that weight cut at 155 pounds.

Also, Diaz should be the biggest winner after saving us from a very long night of fights, and delivering us with a technical knockout we can think about for quite a while.

Runner Up --- Julianna Pena

It took Pena one round to dismantle Rakoczy and stop her with some ground-and-pound to become the first woman to win TUF just one second short of seeing a second round.

It looked as if Rakoczy did not even belong in the same cage with Pena, who looked outstanding in the final, which was also her Octagon debut.

After defeating a seasoned vet like Shayna Baszler and avenging her loss to Sarah Moras on the show, Pena improves to 4-2 in her career and it looks like she will have a bright future in the UFC.With Dana White on her side at numerous events and the popularity she gained on television, there is no doubt Pena is extremely marketable moving forward.

This win also enabled Team Tate to go undefeated (2-0) over Team Ronda Rousey and Pena helped her friend Miesha Tate win the coaching war.

Biggest Loser -- Gray Maynard

Unfortunately for Maynard, contending for a championship is something that could be long gone.

Losing another trilogy in just two years, this one came at the hands of Diaz, literally, since the Stockton Lightweight threw a wide variety of punches to stop Maynard in the first round. "The Bully" has only one win in his last five bouts.

It is the second straight, first round stoppage loss for Maynard, and even if he found new life at American Kickboxing Academy, Maynard is no longer in the upper echelon of the division for now.

Runner Up -- Roxanne Modafferi

Everyone in the MMA community -- from fighter to pundit -- was secretly rooting for Modafferi to win her fight against Raquel Pennington.

Admit it!

Not only did "Roxy" look like she was doing everything well, and looked to be the more seasoned fighter in the early going, Pennington's power was too much for "The Happy Warrior" -- and she almost finished her in the third round as well. After seeing Modafferi lose in heartbreaking fashion on this season of TUF 18, this was equally as frustrating to watch.

Not only will she lose a roster spot in the UFC, the promotion would never sign a fighter who is on a six-fight losing streak -- and it is going to take a hell of a lot for "Roxy" to escape that.

For complete TUF 18 Finale results and fight coverage, including play-by-play coverage, click here.

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