Pennington fought Duke on Episode 6 of "The Ultimate Fighter," and their epic battle outshone the UFC Fight Night 29 card that preceded it.
"From the very first exchange, I knew I was in for a good fight," Duke wrote on her blog. "One of the very first punches she landed busted my nose pretty good and from the beginning of the first round on, I had a hard time breathing. There wasn't much of a feeling-out process. We both were attacking with bad intentions and you could feel the intensity between us. All those shots were being thrown hard. It instantly pushed the fight to a pace where we were trying to break each other.
"After the first round was over, I went back to my corner and felt like I had won the round, but I knew it was close. Coach Edmond told me I was doing the best with my clinch and my knees, and that I needed to attack with them more. I thought to myself, "If I can push hard and fight like this is the last round, I can finish her or win the decision.
"However, she came out in the second round with the same attitude. She pushed forward and landed some big shots that started to really add up and do damage. At one point she had me against the cage and was teeing off on my head trying to finish me off."
"That was one of the hardest two or three fights of all time [in my career]," Shields said following the bout, unfazed by the crowd's boos. "It ranks up with [Georges St-Pierre] and [Dan Henderson]. [Maia] is a phenom. I expected that going in. He gave me all I could handle. I'm thankful I got the win."
Prior to the Shields vs Maia main event, Matt Hamill and Thiago Silva put on a sloppy fight that the Brazilian eked out.
"I think it was a bad fight; I had a bad weight cut, which was my own fault," Silva said after the bout. "I disappointed the UFC, but I'll make up for it. I had many chances to knock him out, but I gassed out.
"It was a bad fight -- even though I won. He takes punches well, but I feel I could have finished it and just didn't have the energy. I am not pleased at all."
Luckily for fight fans, Pennington and Duke were there to save an otherwise unmemorable night of fights. WMMA is definitely here to stay.