The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 officially concludes tomorrow evening from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. While the card lacks some serious star power, it still offers some very intriguing bouts that are worth tuning in for. Here are my predictions for the main card.
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Raquel Pennington
Modafferi was arguably the best female grappler in the house, but I am not confident in her stand up abilities against the durable and powerful Pennington. I fully expect Pennington to avoid the takedown and finish it on the feet.
Prediction: Raquel Pennington via TKO
Jessamyn Duke vs. Peggy Morgan
Both competitors were the tallest women in the house and have eerily similar fighting styles. The noticeable differences work in Duke’s favour. Duke has a better ground game and seems to utilize her reach far more effectively. Duke should be able to pick apart Morgan on the feet in what appears to be an early “Fight of the Night” candidate.
Prediction: Duke via Unanimous Decision
Chris Holdsworth vs. Davey Grant
Davey Grant has already held multiple title belts overseas, but it’s Holdsworth that enters the fight as an overwhelming favourite thanks to his three first round submission victories on TUF. Grant is very well-rounded and has a ton of potential, but will fall apart once the fight is inevitably taken to the ground.
Prediction: Holdsworth via Submission
Jessica Rakoczy vs. Julianna Pena
Rakoczy is a world champion boxer that will likely dictate the pace of this fight. With that being said, I sense that Pena’s tendency to brawl might actually pay off. Sure, she’s wild and not exactly technically sound, but she does possess a better than average ground game and has a great deal of power.
Prediction: Pena via Unanimous Decision
Gray Maynard vs Nate Diaz
In terms of relevancy at Lightweight and in the UFC as a whole, this is perhaps their most career defining moment. Historically, Nate Diaz has always struggled against wrestlers and this tends to be his achilles heel. Gray Maynard will look to take this fight to ground and remain there until the final bell.
Prediction: Gray Maynard via Unanimous Decision