TUF 18 Finale results: Julianna Pena becomes first TUF women's champion

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Julianna Pena surprised the mixed martial arts world when she submitted cagey veteran Shayna Baszler in the first round of The Ultimate Fighter 18 women's bantamweight ttournament.

These days, though, no one is surprised to see "The Venezuelan Vixen" get her hand raised at the end of the fight.

The Team Tate fighter punctuated the first-ever women's TUF season on Saturday night with an impressive victory over Jessica Rakoczy Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.


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The Spokane, Wash. native put on a ground-and-pound clinic and got the TKO finish at 4:59 of round one.

Pena (5-2) established her dominance early on with a takedown. While Rokoczy, a Team Rousey fighter, got back to her feet after that one, she didn't get back up after Pena executed a textbook trip.

Pena rained down punches and elbows, and while referee Mario Yamasaki gave Rakoczy (1-3, 1 NC) every chance to continue, he finally waved things off with one second left in the round.

"I wouldn't have been able to do this if [Tate] didn't put me on this team," Pena said. "She's a very tough girl, she hung in there, I can't believe I got the finish with one second left."

As the breakout star of TUF 18, Pena said the best is yet to come.

"I'm very excited," she said. "I can't wait to put in more work I'm just getting started."

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