The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 has finally come to a close.
Last night (Nov. 30, 2013) at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Ultimate Fighting Championship crowned its first female TUF champion, Julianna Pena. Pena was Miesha Tate's first pick and showed that her coach's confidence was just.
So without any further delay, let's talk about last night ...
Nate Diaz has got sh*t to do ...
Diaz is essentially a younger version of his older brother, Nick Diaz. Some may even argue that he's a better version because up until this point, he hasn't displayed any signs of being a total and complete head case. As far as their skills go, Nate also probably has more upside as a fighter.
Don't tell him that because he believes his brother is the best fighter in the entire world. Maybe it's because he still looks up to Nick. Maybe it's because he actually believes it. But until that hero worship stops, I don't think we'll see the best of the younger Diaz.
Which is a total shame because what he did last night was absolutely beastly. He broke Gray Maynard and looked like a champion in the process (highlights here). If that's the fighter that can show up every time he's booked for a fight, the rest of the lightweight division should be terrified.
It's time for Maynard to hang 'em up ...
I hate being the guy who tells fighters when they should or shouldn't retire. I really do. But sometimes, at least in my head, they need to hear it from someone because I doubt their teammates and coaches are giving the that reality check.
The unfortunate truth is that Maynard was thoroughly outclassed by a better fighter who put an absolute beating on him. That wasn't a fight. It was a mugging and Maynard came out looking like a super old fighter just trying to relive the glory days.
He's not a top lightweight anymore. He's a guy who has been viciously knocked out in back to back fights and at this point, he's gotta think about his brain. Also, even though the fight only went 2:38, that really was a late stoppage.
The Ultimate Fighter happened ...
This season of TUF can be best summed up as "forgettable." I can't actually tell you anything about the guys who competed, which I guess makes sense since only the finalists were on the finale. Between the weigh in issues and just overall lack of talent, I didn't care about the men's side of the bracket.
On the other hand, I got the impression that the women didn't want to disappoint because they'd be held to a higher standard because of the nature of women's mixed martial arts (WMMA) still trying to gain acceptance from the larger MMA fan base.
Julianna Pena has a bright future if she's given time to further develop her skills (highlights here). Same with Chris Holdsworth. The rest of the cast probably shouldn't be fighting in UFC.
Additional Thoughts ...
- Maximo Blanco gets points for that backflip because well, it was impressive. But he also may be the biggest waste of talent and athleticism in mixed martial arts. That was a clear illegal knee and he has a history of throwing them. At some point, it's just not accidental.
- Akira Corassani called Blanco a "dirty" fighter and has a shattered nose and a concussion (see x-ray pic here). I'm not one to be a jerk, but that also would have happened if the knee was legal.
- So Jared Rosholt is a UFC fighter. That happened.
- Joshua Sampo is probably really regretting not cutting that additional pound and a half. He lost out on an awesome bonus check for having the "Fight of the Night."
- People were complaining that the Finale took a backseat to the Iowa State/West Virginia game, but really, college football is how literally every network gets major advertising revenue. More important, it's the "Prelims" so uhh ... c'mon.
- Kim Winslow was absolutely atrocious last night. Possibly the worst referee ever in any sport in history. She's that bad. It's completely unforgivable and it boggles my mind that she continues to get assignments from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Actually, no. I'm not surprised that Nevada keeps her employed because it has shown a complete disregard for actually caring about anything.
- If we're being honest, TUF 18 Finale wasn't that great. Outside of the main event between Diaz and Maynard, it was really difficult to get stoked on this card. Expect to see more events like that next year as UFC plans to hold around 50 in 2014.