Julianna Peña Makes History, Wins The Ultimate Fighter 18For the first time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship crowned a female winner of The Ultimate Fighter tonight at the TUF 18 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada. Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña stopped Jessica “The Ragin'” Rakoczy to become the TUF 18 women’s bantamweight winner.

In other action on tonight’s card, bantamweight prospect Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke earned a Unanimous Decision win over Peggy “The Daywalker” Morgan. Raquel “Rocky” Pennington scored her biggest victory to date by outpointing popular veteran Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi.


Peña (5-2-0) wasted no time in taking tonight’s co-feature to the ground, but Rakoczy (1-4-0, 1 ND) scrambled back to her feet against the cage. The fighters exchanged knees until Peña tripped Rakoczy to the mat again. This time, she passed to mount and rained down punches as Rakoczy covered up in defence. Rakoczy was unable to buck and escape, and Peña continued to drop punches and elbows until the fight was finally stopped at the 4:59 mark of the first round.

While she did not endear herself to some of her castmates during the filming of TUF 18, Peña proved that she was a legitimate prospect in the division by taking out Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler and Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras to advance to the tournament final. Peña’s win over Rakoczy earned her a six-figure contract with the UFC and the distinction of being the first female winner in TUF history.


Duke (3-0-0, 1 NC) got off to a quick start with left and right hooks against Morgan (2-1-0) and she pulled guard with a tight guillotine choke. Morgan escaped, but Duke transitioned to a triangle choke and scored with elbows from her back throughout the opening round. Both fighters landed punching combinations in round two, but Duke got the better of the exchanges and she sealed the round by throwing Morgan to the ground in the final seconds.

In round three, Duke punished Morgan with punches, knees and body kicks. However, her attempt to drag Morgan to the mat with a bulldog choke ended with Morgan threatening with a rear-naked choke. Duke rolled over and benefited from an absurd standup from referee Kim Winslow. She rallied with flurries of punches late in the fight and all three judges scored the bout 30-27 in Duke’s favour.

Pennington (4-3-0) overcame a slow start to defeat Modafferi (15-11-0) in a close fight. Modafferi mixed up her strikes well with jabs, kicks and combinations in the opening round. She kept Pennington on the defensive until the final minute when Pennington landed two hard elbows and a right hand. Pennington was much more aggressive with her striking in round two and she stuffed a takedown. From the top, she landed some solid punches and fought off a Modafferi armbar attempt.

With the fight seemingly up for grabs, both women landed big punches early in round three. Pennington backed Modafferi up with a one-two and she stuffed a takedown seconds later. Pennington punched to the body and avoided Modafferi’s armbars. Modafferi stood and Pennington took her down into mount with a guillotine choke. Modafferi appeared to be on the verge of tapping out, but she narrowly made it to the bell. The judges scored the fight 29-28 and 30-27 twice for Pennington, who earned a big win.



(Photo Credit: UFC)