Nate Diaz stops Gray Maynard
LAS VEGAS -- Trilogy bouts have not been kind to Gray Maynard. Two years after Frankie Edgar knocked Maynard out in their third and final meeting, the UFC lightweight suffered a similar fate at the hands of Nate Diaz on Saturday.
Diaz (17-9) put an end to a recent two-fight losing streak, as he finished Maynard via TKO at 2:38 of the first round. The bout headlined "The Ultimate Fighter Finale 18" inside The Mandalay Bay Events Center.
"I won, that's what's up," said Diaz, when asked to give his thoughts on the fight.
The Stockton, Calif., native then signaled in his teammate, UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez, and called out the top of the 155-pound division.
"Just so everybody knows, the No. 1 and No. 2 lightweights in the world are right here," Diaz said. "This is our division." Maynard (11-3), who won his second meeting with Diaz via split decision in 2010, appeared on point early. He started off tracking down the lengthy Diaz with right hands, before scoring a single leg takedown.
It was far from smooth sailing on the floor however, as Maynard failed to control Diaz from top position.
Diaz submitted Maynard the first time they fought as contestants on TUF, but was happy to simply wrestle back to his feet this time.
After a quick break from an ensuing clinch, Diaz landed the straight left that dropped Maynard to his knee. The 34-year-old former No. 1 contender shot back up, but he appeared out on his feet. Diaz then battered him from one end of the cage to the other. Clearly hurt, Maynard never really attempted a takedown to slow the pace and could barely keep his hands up defensively.
Referee Yves Lavigne mercifully stepped in after a final 1-2 by Diaz.
Maynard has now suffered knockout losses in three of his last four fights. He lasted just 2:07 with T.J. Grant at UFC 160 in May. ESPN.com ranked him the No. 8 lightweight in the world heading into the contest.
Diaz rebounds from the first knockout loss of his career, which came against Josh Thomson in April.
Pena punishes Rakoczy
Julianna Pena did not want to stand and bang with a former professional boxer in The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale -- so she didn't.
The UFC's reality series has crowned its first-ever female winner and the result was emphatic.[+] EnlargeAl Powers for ESPNJulianna Pena, left, used her superior striking to take out Jessica Rakoczy.
Pena (5-2) dominated Jessica Rakoczy on the ground in a first-round TKO victory. Referee Mario Yamasaki called the bantamweight bout at the 4:59 mark. Rakoczy (1-4) was anticipating the takedown in this fight, but failed to stop it.
Within 30 seconds, Pena had closed on her with punches and secured a bodylock and takedown. Pena allowed Rakoczy back to her feet after being pushed back by an upkick, but she stayed attached to her along the fence.
Moments later, she scored a nice outside trip that put Rakoczy on her back in the center of the Octagon. After standing up briefly, Pena cleared Rakoczy's legs and passed her guard into side control.
She eventually moved into full mount, dropping elbows and hard punches until Yamasaki called it with just a second left in the round.
The win snaps what was a two-fight losing streak for Pena entering TUF. The Washington-based fighter has recorded finishes in all five of her professional wins.
Holdsworth makes good on TUF run
Chris Holdsworth had some nice moments on his feet, but the submission specialist relied on his bread and butter to close out a perfect TUF 18 run.
Holdsworth (5-0) took the TUF 18 bantamweight crown with a submission victory over Davey Grant.[+] EnlargeAl Powers for ESPNChris Holdsworth, right, showed off his striking skills before ending matters on the ground.
The finish came via rear-naked choke at 2:10 of the second round.
The Team Alpha Male fighter has now won each of his professional bouts via submission. He also submitted three opponents as a contestant on the reality show.
The finish ultimately came due to a choke, but it may have been Holdsworth's striking that set the tone of the tournament finals. He was clipped early by a short left hook by Grant (8-1), but responded immediately with a stiff straight right. In the second round, Grant caught a head kick attempt by Holdsworth, who then spun, regained his feet and landed a hard knee to Grant's nose.
The strike had a visible effect on Grant, as he started to bleed instantly from the nose. Holdsworth scored a takedown moments later and eventually took Grant's back and secured a body triangle. Once he slipped an arm under Grant's chin, it produced a tap quickly.
At 2:10 of the second round, it marks the longest bout of Holdsworth's career. Three of his five career wins have ended in the first round. Grant suffers his first professional loss since July 2009.
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