Jessica Rakoczy was trapped. Mounted. Checkmated. Punch after punch came down from Julianna Pena, and Rakoczy had nowhere to go. All Rakoczy could do was cover up and hope to survive to the horn. Second after second ticked away, then the clack of the 10-second warning. There was hope. And then there wasn’t. The hail of strikes never stopped, so ref Mario Yamasaki had to stop them. He stepped in between them, and just like that, the fight was over, a technical knockout.
After eating 66 strikes, Rakoczy just wanted that one second, but after her initial protest, she admirably backed off.
"It’s one second but I understand it is what it is, and the referee has to do what he has to do," she said in The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale post-fight press conference. "I should have been moving more."
That seemed to be a fair assessment. Rakoczy left with a hematoma above her right eye and a cut below it, along with some bruising and a cut on her left eye. But the surface damage wasn’t the reason, it was the fact that she was trapped and could not escape, and was taking powerful strikes for an extended period.
Rakoczy’s stance is commendable. It has to be extremely difficult to swallow that last second. Only eight times in UFC history has a fighter been stopped with one tick left in a round. But despite her fighting pride — Rakoczy went 33-3 in pro boxing before moving to MMA — she wouldn’t take the easy out.
"Julianna’s very strong," she said. "She’s a tough fighter and we knew she was going to come straight forward and [try to] overwhelm me. She did exactly what she needed to do. I just needed one more second to try and get it back on my feet. But I give her credit, she’s a great fighter. It is what it is."