With the last Finale spot on the line, brawler Raquel Pennington took on accomplished boxer Jessica Rakoczy to wrap up The Ultimate Fighter season 18.
Raquel Pennington (Team Tate) vs. Jessica Rakoczy (Team Rousey):
Round 1: First 30 seconds is a jab-fest and neither fighter looks willing to commit. Now 90 seconds in and not much action to speak of. A lot of bobbing and weaving. Rakoczy mixing in a few low kicks. Penny answers with her own. Now the hands are opening up and both ladies are swinging heavy leather. No attempt at the takedown yet from Pennington until Jessica swarms her with a combination and they clinch. Rocky pushes her into the fence and works through a guillotine to try to get the double leg. Jessica defending well but finally succumbs. Pennington can't hold her down and when the action gets back to the feet, we have a fence grab followed by another takedown. Round ends with Rocky on top. I have it Pennington 10-9 but not by much.
Round 2: Jessica controlling the stand up and Pennington showing no sense of urgency. Rocky with a few unorthodox kicks that go nowhere. Jessica picking her spots and looks crisp in her striking. Pennington clearly at a disadvantage here but seems content to throw hands. Let her bang, bro. Two minutes in and Rocky can't follow her corner's advice. Jessica backs her up with a combo. Pennington uncorks a few kicks but is throwing this round in the garbage by failing to put any mixed in her martial arts. Less than a minute to go and she finally shoots. Too little, too late as Jessica rests against the cage and remains upright until the horn. 10-9 Rakoczy.
Round 3: Touch of gloves and Rakoczy picks up right where she left off, working Pennington on the feet. I really don't understand this strategy. Fighting a champion boxer tied a round apiece and zero attempt to take the fight to the floor. This is like sparring as Jessica just gets to throw hands at will. Rocky's corner screaming for her to move forward and make something happen but she's just winging counterpunches and getting nowhere. Like round two, she waits until there is 30 seconds left on the clock to take her down and do some ground and pound. Won't be enough. 10-9 Rakoczy.
Final result: Jessica Rakoczy def. Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision
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