Last night (Nov. 30, 2013) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's Bantamweights Raquel Pennington and Roxanne Modafferi went to war on the main card of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 Finale from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both members of Team Tate were in serious need of a win. Pennington was talked up as one of the best fighters of the show but looked incredibly flat in her semifinal loss to Jessica Rakoczy. There's no doubt she has talent but her 3-4 mixed martial arts (MMA) record doesn't show that yet.
Modafferi is an experienced veteran who was looking to prove she can hang with the new breed of female martial artists. She fell short in her first fight on the show, also losing to Rakoczy. It was time to sink or swim for Modafferi last night.
Apparently she chose the former.
Pennington didn't fight a flawless bout but she did enough to fight again in UFC. Let's take a look back at her decisive victory at last night's TUF 18 Finale.
When the fight began Modafferi put forth a much higher volume of strikes than Pennington, who was again hesitant. Modafferi came up short with a lot of it at first but eventually landed some good combinations. Pennington landed some strong single shots. Modafferi pushed Pennington up against the cage and another striking exchange ensued. The round concluded with Pennington cracking Modafferi with a huge right hand.
In the second round Pennington looked more comfortable with her striking. She landed a few one-two combinations and sprawled to avoid a takedown. Modafferi looked to lock up a triangle choke on the ground but was thwarted. Pennington rained down shots only to see Modafferi go for an armbar. Again Pennington defended the submission to a restart from the referee. Pennington landed a big left hook and straight right to end the heated frame.
Modafferi again looked to take the fight to the ground in the third. Pennington kept it standing and landed some crisp punches. Pennington stalked Modafferi down and countered a missed kick with two hard shots. She had top control but neither fighter was doing much. Modafferi sought out a few more submissions but they never really had a chance. Pennington locked up a tight guillotine standing and took it to the ground. She held it until the bell sounded, quite possibly locking up the unanimous decision win.
Although Pennington exhibited some of the tentativeness that spelled her doom on the show, ultimately she looked effective in all main facets of MMA. She threw much harder punches, defended Modafferi's takedowns effectively, and fought off all submissions while almost winning with one of her own. She'll get a chance to prove herself against another tough opponent at an upcoming UFC event. Pennington will be well served to pick up her pace and intensity in the time between now and then.
The loss is an especially damaging one for Modafferi. She lost two big fights on TUF and experienced a bad run heading into the show. Despite fighting some of the best women in the world, her record doesn't look all that impressive at 15-11. Modafferi's striking was active but had next to no power behind it.
That's simply not going to fly in the ever-evolving UFC Women's Bantamweight division.
Modafferi will most likely receive her walking papers from UFC but she could quickly end up in a smaller promotion like Invicta. It's unlikely that she'll ever be a serious contender in the deep waters of the UFC talent pool.
Raquel Pennington fought strong but left a bit to be desired last night. How will she fare in the rapidly improving UFC women's arena?