Nate Diaz was sure he had beaten Gray Maynard the last time they fought in 2010. He left no doubt about the outcome Saturday night.
Diaz stopped Maynard with a barrage of heavy punches against the cage in the lightweight main event of the The Ultimate Fighter Finale 18 card at Mandalay Bay.
“I won, that’s what’s up,” Diaz said when asked to describe the onslaught.
The only respite from the beating came about 30 seconds into it when Diaz raised both hands in the air as if to question why Maynard still was standing and why the referee had yet to step in.
Diaz went right back to the pounding and left referee Yves Lavigne no choice to call it at 2:37 of the first round. As soon as the fight was stopped, Maynard tried to take a few steps and then staggered to the ground.
Diaz submitted Maynard when both were castmates on Season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but Maynard evened the score by winning a split decision in 2010. Diaz questioned the decision and still believes he should have won.
Maynard, who is 1-3-1 in his past five fights after starting his career 10-0, got an early takedown and looked to be finding a rhythm. That changed when Diaz landed a big shot against the cage about 90 seconds into the fight. Maynard never went down but didn’t recover from the shot and essentially became target practice for the precision striking of Diaz.
Also on the card, Julianna Pena became the winner of the first-ever women’s tournament on “The Ultimate Fighter” with a first-round knockout of Jessica Rakoczy, and Chris Holdsworth earned the men’s season title with a second-round submission of David Grant.
This season of the reality show featured a men’s and women’s bantamweight tournament with eight men and eight women living in the house together and competing for the season title in two tournaments.
Pena continued her dominant run through the field by securing an early takedown against Las Vegan Rakoczy, an eight-time world champion boxer.
Rakoczy briefly got back to her feet, but Pena put her back down. With about 90 seconds left in the first round, Pena worked to full mount and rained down a devastating assortment of punches and elbows until the fight was stopped with one second remaining in the round.
Holdsworth also won by taking advantage of his edge on the ground.
Holdsworth hit Grant with his shin on a left head kick attempt and got the fight where he wanted it when he and Grant went to the ground in the ensuing scramble. The jiujitsu ace wrapped up a bloodied Grant until finally securing a rear-naked choke at 2:10.
The main card was rounded out by two fights between females from this season of the reality show.
Jessamyn Duke survived a precarious position flat on her stomach in the third round but otherwise controlled Peggy Morgan for the better part of 15 minutes on the way to a win by unanimous decision.
Also, Raquel Pennington earned a unanimous decision over Roxanne Modafferi, perhaps the most universally liked competitor to ever appear on the show. Modafferi couldn’t get the fight to the ground, her comfort zone, and was overmatched in the standup.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.