Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) gave us another event worth talking about, as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 season came to a close over the weekend (Sat., Nov. 30, 2013) at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Watch video highlights of Pena's win right here.
In the main event, Nate Diaz was able to conclude the trilogy against Gray Maynard in devastating fashion (read full recap here), stopping him in the first round by strikes to climb back into the win column and send "The Bully" plummeting further down the ranks (watch video highlights here).
Diaz also took home the "Knockout of The Night" award.
Nonetheless, before all the action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip back to "Sin City." Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But, as we've done before, let us look at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage on Saturday night.
"I'm going to beat Gray Maynard. It's the third time fighting him. Finish it off and seal the deal. I won the first one. I think I won the second fight, too. You can ask him how he won the fight. I'll bet you he don't got too good of an answer. I've gotten better and I think he's gotten better, too."
-- Nate Diaz proved that there was no controversy in the rubber match, knocking out Maynard in the first round with a furious display of punches in bunches in the main event. The Stockton product can now look toward and Anthony Pettis with a little more clarity (more on his beef here), even if those fights do not make much sense at the moment.
"Obviously I want to get back to the belt, but I can't look past Diaz for sure. It's time for me to knock him out. Diaz throws up a lot of stuff, he can take a punch -- he's dangerous, but he's definitely beatable. My dangers are power, heart, speed, boxing -- of course, the takedowns. I think I'm better in all areas. He can take a punch, and I can give a punch -- and he's going to take a lot of my punches. I'm going to beat Nate Diaz and the trilogy, because I'm better -- I win."
-- Those are tough words for Maynard to swallow after succumbing to Diaz's onslaught and ending up finished by his opponent's superior striking. Diaz could have had better boxing coming into this fight, yet "The Bully" had a sizeable advantage when it came to power and wrestling. He was not able to find much success in the grappling exchanges, and any success he might have had was washed away after Diaz relentlessly tagged him on the feet until Maynard was saved by the referee, crumbling down to his knees after the fight was called off.
"I think what bugs me the most (about Rousey) just would be her all-around pretentious attitude. I feel like she's just a spoiled, rich brat. And that's what I think."
-- Julianna Pena kept it respectful with Jessica Rakoczy, whom she did not have a problem with. However, Pena was not shy to dish out some eyebrow-raising comments concerning Ronda Rousey, UFC women's Bantamweight champion and fierce rival of Pena's friend and former TUF coach, Miesha Tate. In fact, she continued the verbal assault after her fight as well. "The Venezuelan Vixen" has plenty of work to do in the Octagon for quite some time, but can we see these two square off in the future? Only time will tell.
"I was just like, maybe one day, that's what I want to do. I want to be on The Ultimate Fighter...and 18 seasons later, this is a crazy dream come true and at the tryouts they gave all the contestants numbers. I was number 18. I'm a big believer and I read in the signs, and I will be the next Ultimate Fighter."
-- Call it chance, luck, destiny or even a conspiracy, but Chris Holdsworth was crowned the men's bantamweight tournament winner at TUF 18 Finale and who knows if it had anything to do with being "18." The truth of the matter is "Hold It Down" earned the tag to be this season's victor and his submission game should be one to watch in the 135-pound division.
"He's a guy I'm looking forward to going and testing my skills against. One hundred percent, (I can stop his takedowns.) I present a level of athleticism he's never witnessed. It's a fight, not a wrestling match. You've got to go in there and earn that takedown. It's not going to be given to you."
-- Walt Harris' match up with Jared Rosholt was an interesting one to dissect before it all went down, and many believed Rosholt's wrestling was going to be the difference in this Heavyweight contest. The most successful Oklahoman wrestler ever had trouble finding opportunities to take down Harris and "The Big Ticket" dropped Rosholt early in the fight because of that. Ultimately, Harris did get taken down in the third round, which proved to be his demise. Nevertheless, he can take away some positives in the losing effort.
That wraps up another edition of "He Said What ?!," as we continue to provide recap coverage of TUF 18 Finale. For complete results and fight coverage for UFC's TUF 18 Finale, check out our story stream here.