TUF 18 Bet: Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (-280) vs Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi (+200)

PenningtonThe Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale Date: November 30, 2013 Arena: Mandalay Bay Events Center City: Las Vegas, N.V. Women’s Bantamweight bout: Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (-280) vs Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi (+200) Fight Breakdown: The TUF 18 finale on FOX Sports 1 will feature a battle between two female fighters features on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, as the very tough Raquel Pennington takes on a longtime veteran of the sport in Roxanne Modafferi. Pennington is the favorite in this match-up at -280 ($280 t win $100), while Modafferi is the underdog at +200 ($100 to win $200) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. RAQUEL “ROCKY” PENNINGTON (3-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is making her promotional debut, coming off consecutive losses to Cat Zingano and Leslie Smith under the Invicta banner. Since then, she competed on The Ultimate Fighter reality series, where she fought her way into the TUF house, and earned her way to the semifinals by outpointing Jessamyn Duke, in what will almost certainly be the Fight of the Season. Unfortunately for Pennington, her success did not continue in the semifinals, where she took on Jessica Rakozczy. She went into the fight with her arm and hand being injured, and her gameplan of outgrappling Rakozczy did not deem successful, as she lost a unanimous decision. “Rocky” has good wrestling skills. She is very strong and is good at taking her opponents to the mat once she gets a hold of them, though she is not as good as keeping them down there and doing damage. She fights well on her feet, as she possesses real power in her hands. Her boxing is good and improving; when she connects, her opponents really feel it. She is strong enough to put just about any lady at 135 to sleep in front of a sold-out crowd. My main concerns with Pennington are her mental focus, and Octagon jitters. I think she will be nervous, but also focused on putting on an impressive performance. She is generally well-conditioned, and even considering jitters, I think she will be able to go the distance without a problem, if necessary. ROXANNE “THE HAPPY WARRIOR” MODAFFERI (15-10 MMA, 0-0 UFC) took a five-fight losing streak with her to The Ultimate Fighter, where she earned her way into the TUF house with a submission victory. Once in the house, she lost in the quarter finals to eventual finalist Jessica Rakozczy. In the Rakozczy fight, Modafferi displayed very poor footwork, striking, and a very bad gas tank. She also did not seem to be very big on heart, as she wilted and quit when she got tired. “The Happy Warrior” makes her promotional debut inside the Octagon this Saturday night, and as Miesha Tate has repeatedly put it; she is one of the pioneers of Womens Mixed Martial Arts. She began her career a decade ago, and over seven years, amassed a 15-5 pro record. Seven years in, something happened to her. I think her personal life got in the way of her love and dedication to the sport, and she went on to lose her next five fights. She did not display anything on the reality series that made me think “she’s back!” She generally did not seem very hungry to me. She did not seem to want it as badly as the other girls. As I already mentioned, Modafferi has awful striking skills. Her footwork is terrible, and she packs no power in her punches. However, she is a very talented submission artist, and if she gets the fight to the mat, it is her world. Fight Prediction: Modafferi’s cardio may or may not be improved since being on The Ultimate Fighter, but I’m sure her striking is still very bad. Her only hope to win this fight is to get it to the mat, and try to find a submission. Against Pennington, that’s going to be a tough call, as she is the stronger of the two, and has good takedown defense. I think Pennington will keep the fight standing, and her power will prove to be too much for “The Happy Warrior”. Gabe’s Pick: Raquel Pennington by TKO (0:57, round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Raquel Pennington (-280) 14u to win 5u, and Under 2.5 rounds (-135) 6.75u to win 5u. Pennington is a “MONSTER PLAY” for me, of which I am currently 7-1. (I am calling them ‘monster plays’ now, instead of ‘max bets’.) She is one of two monster plays that I will have for this card. I really feel like she will win by knockout, but just in case Modafferi toughs it out and makes it the distance, I decided we shouldn’t risk anymore on the ‘under’ prop than we already are. But another reason I like the prop is for the very slight possibility of Modafferi catching Pennington with a sub. I will be giving out props for this fight, as I await odds to come out, so make sure you’re following me on Twitter @GabeKillianMMA.

Written by Gabe Killian

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