29-Year-Old UFC Bantamweight 9-6-0
May 12, 2018 Raquel Pennington News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Pennington came up short in her quest for the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Amanda Nunes via TKO (punches) at 2:36 of Round 5 at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro.
Given the opportunity of a lifetime, Pennington essentially quit. She literally told her corner at the end of Round 4 that she "was done." Outside of a major injury that we don't know about, that's an unacceptable thing to say, especially in a title fight. Her corner ended up sending her back out there despite the fact she was mentally checked out and that was their fault. Pennington's year and a half on the sidelines clearly didn't include lessons in how to defend leg kicks. Her lead leg was about eight different colors by the time Round 1 was complete and she was never able to recover. Pennington spent the entirety of the fight trying to counter Nunes' combinations and she wasn't able to do so. Giving up a massive amount of brute strength to Nunes, Pennington was never the ideal title challenger. She did the best she could but the gap was just too much for Rocky to close. A four-fight winning streak put her in position for this opportunity, but there was zero reason to believe she ever had a reasonable shot of winning here. She is going to catch a lot of flack for her actions. The potential is there for Pennington to have a swift, sudden fall from grace.
Raquel Pennington: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisThe Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission is following suit with the recent 10-point plan adopted by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to monitor any fighter that gains back more than 10 percent of their body weight between weigh-ins and fight night. Like her opponent Amanda Nunes, Pennington will be subjected to similar checks. Pennington hasn't necessarily had a recent history of weight cutting issues, but the check-in seems to suggest that she has weighed in higher than California's recommended 148.5 pounds (for bantamweights) on a past fight night. As a result, keep an eye out for both fighters during Friday morning's weight-in if you plan to use either in any fantasy format. Pennington is currently listed as the betting underdog for Saturday's main event, checking in a (+400) or greater in most sportsbooks.
Fantasy AnalysisPennington last fought all the way back in November 2016, and was set to challenge Nunes for the women's bantamweight championship the next year at UFC 219, but she was forced out of competition after breaking her leg in a hunting accident. Now, after a long recovery, Pennington will finally get her shot at the title vs. Nunes.
Fantasy AnalysisPennington last fought Miesha Tate in November 2016 and has won her previous four decisions, but will not be able to challenge Nunes for the women's bantamweight championship in December. Pennington's leg was broken when landed on by an ATV during a hunting trip earlier this week and will be out of commission for an extended period of time.
Fantasy AnalysisTate announcing her retirement following the fight is certainly going to take some of the spotlight off of what was a dominant effort from Pennington. She picked Tate apart on the feet, particularly with the jab, and she was able to outwork the former champion in the grappling exchanges between the two women, which is something no one would have thought possible before the night began. Pennington has now won four-straight fights and she just defeated the woman who entered Saturday as the #1 ranked female bantamweight by UFC.com. It's November 2016 and Raquel Pennington will almost certainly find herself as a top-five 135-pounder by the time Monday rolls around. She deserves it.
Fantasy AnalysisAlthough it has been far from pretty at times, Pennington is sporting a 5-2 career record during her UFC career and she is going to be the first fighter to make the walk to the octagon during a UFC pay-per-view from Madison Square Garden. Pennington is a below-average athlete so it's a bit difficult to figure how she has consistently defeated more talented opponents, but she has managed to find a way. Tate actually has a similar skill set to Pennington, but the former champion is seemingly better in every facet of the sport. This would be by far Pennington's biggest upset to date.
Fantasy AnalysisPennington was far from her best, but she still managed to land three takedowns and 81-of-102 (80 percent) total strikes. Pennington isn't a great athlete, so there are going to be fights where she doesn't appear to be getting a whole lot done, but she is currently riding a three-fight winning streak and is suddenly 5-2 in her first seven UFC bouts. Entering the night as the No. 8-ranked bantamweight, Pennington appears to be considerably worse than the seven women ranked ahead of her, but she keeps on grinding out victories. It's been an impressive run for the veteran.
Fantasy AnalysisPennington isn't going to get much respect in the women's bantamweight division, but she continues to prove the doubters wrong. Pennington is now quietly 4-2 in the UFC, with the two losses being a setback to former champion Holly Holm and a split decision loss to the tough Jessica Andrade. Pennington gets by on grit and determination, but she is athletic enough to compete against opponents who have more natural ability. Her ceiling is still very limited, but she is on a nice run at the moment.
Fantasy AnalysisAlthough Pennington dropped a split decision to Holly Holm in her last fight, she looked pretty good in that fight and it continued on Saturday. The finish came when Andrade foolish fell to her stomach in an exchange along the fence and Pennington immediately took her back and sunk in the choke. Pennington couldn't match the strength of Andrade, but she was clearly winning the standup exchanges and she looked composed on the ground when Andrade attempted a submission. This has to be considered a fairly big upset. Pennington had a below .500 record for her career coming into this one.
Fantasy AnalysisIt took the UFC roughly 48 hours to find a replacement for Carmouche. Pennington looked surprisingly competent in her last fight against Holly Holm, but she could very well struggle with the massive strength of Andrade. It seems like a worse matchup than Carmouche would have been.
Fantasy AnalysisAs of this moment, the UFC plans to try to keep Pennington on the card and find a replacement for Carmouche. We will let you know when more information is released.
Fantasy AnalysisPennington looked surprisingly solid in her last fight (a split decision loss to Holly Holm in February), but she's just roster depth at this point. It's never a good sign when a fighter has a record below .500, as Pennington currently does.