UFC Fight Night: Jessica Eye vs Cynthia Calvillo. Initially targeted as a barnburner bantamweight showdown between Petr Yan and Marlon Moraes, the main event on June 13, will instead feature a flyweight bout between two less distinguished fighters.

Let me preface my subsequent tirade by clearly stating that women have an obvious and clear claim to the main event throne. There have been numerous WMMA bangers that have deserved the prized top billing of cards: Ronda Rousey submitting Liz Carmouche in the historic first female main event in UFC history, Holly Holm ending Rousey’s career with a brutal head kick at UFC 193, and Amanda Nunes’ dethroning of Cris Cyborg at UFC 232 in just 51 seconds, exhibiting an overpowering offensive display that no one could have predicted. Yet for every women’s match that lights up social media and sets stadiums alight, there are five drawn out pitter-patter striking or lay and pray snoozefests. The small pool of elite female talent in the UFC is growing, and you can guarantee that a rise in quality of fighters that will ensure more frequently entertaining bouts on a similar volume to the male roster. Unfortunately for the current UFC audience, we have to endure the transitionary period for female pioneers. Yes, there is a global pandemic. Yes, there are ongoing fighter wage disputes in the background preventing quality matchups. But good Lord, what has the sport come to that it has to promote this as a main event? Jessica Eye’s 2019 started with a CTE inducing knockout at the hands (well, technically foot) of Valentina Shevchenko and ended with a drawn-out decision over Viviane Araujo. Calvillo plays an equally villainous role in this criminal main event, settling on riding out decision victories whilst submitting only weaker opposition. Both are technically sound, well-rounded fighters that deserve to be ranked in the division. But this stylistic match-up screams 5 round decision in the most uninspiring way imaginable. Worse still, Eye managed to fuel her online detractors further by missing weight by a ¼ pound. The amount of weight is insignificant, by simply missing weight it is yet another red flag on the questionable main event.

For fear of being labelled a ‘casual’, a tag many of the UFC’s bootlicking twitter warriors are all too eager to place on anyone daring to criticise any of the organisation’s moves, I shall stop my criticism of main event choice. Instead, I shall further criticise it indirectly because of pettiness. Marvin Vettori embodies a classic heel. Claiming a chequered past regarding PED usage, and a brutish, hostile personality that ensures he worms his way under the skin of opponents, the UFC could easily have chosen to give Vettori a push. His opponent, Karl Roberson, has (downright offensively) missed weight twice (once for the 13 June event, once for the prior cancelled 13 May event), thus even providing an immediate narrative for the marketing team to work overtime painting a true grudge match between two middleweight up-and-comers. Finally (I promise), Vettori pushed the current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, to the brink in a split decision loss back in April 2018, and no doubt a rematch could prove a very lucrative event if the UFC was to lay some minimal promotional groundwork. Frustrating. Extremely frustrating. A five-round war between Roberson and Vettori within the smaller UFC Apex octagon would have been a delight. Bah!

Main Event

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Jessica Eye (15-7, 1NC) vs Cynthia Calvillo (8-1-1)

As the number one ranked flyweight contender, and owning a 4-1 record in the past five, Jessica Eye looks a dead cert winner on paper. Eye’s opponent, Cynthia Calvillo, is a ranked ten strawweight that has only moved up to fight at flyweight during her early amateur and professional career. Rather depressingly, however, is that the skill set required to be the number one contender at flyweight is shockingly low. The current champion, Valentina Shevchenko, possesses a striking ability beyond any of her fellow flyweight counterparts and will reign supreme bar any ludicrous mishaps. For Eye to hold the number one rank, therefore, says very little about her abilities. The positives for Eye? A solid jab (relative to flyweight opponents) that can establish range and force her opponents out of their defensive shell, allowing Eye to settle into her preferred counter striking style. Do not expect one-punch knockout power though. Instead, Eye often descends into high volume swarming that often look sloppy, but the technical segment of the attack has been secured long before. On the mat, Eye is generally a weight bully and can use her significant size advantage to lay on opponents and prevent them from escaping. Whilst not pretty, it is effective old school wrestling.

Calvillo started her UFC career with a bang, securing a third-round rear naked choke over Amanda Cooper back in March 2017. Leaning on the RNC as a favoured choke, employing it to finish half of all her (six) UFC fights, Calvillo is a competent grappler that struggles with takedowns. A bad combination, more-so for a fighter that is wishing to move up in weight against an opponent that is notably sizeable.

Predicted Result: Eye Decision

This damp squib of a main event will see Eye edge towards a unanimous decision, taking way more risks and looking far too bad, in a fight that she should easily win based solely on her ability to bully Calvillo through weight. One saving grace could be the smaller sized Apex octagon… I doubt it though.

UFC 238: Watch Valentina Shevchenko's Devastating Head-Kick KO Of ...
Jessica Eye on the wrong side of a head kick during her bid for the flyweight crown against Valentina Shevchenko, UFC 238. June 2019.

Result: Calvillo def. Eye // Decision (unanimous – 49-46, 49-46, 48-47)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️// Round ✔️

Co-Main Event

Middleweight (185)

Karl Roberson (9-2) vs Marvin Vettori (14-3-1)

As the true main event of the card, this bout has all the potential to be a real slobber knocker on the feet. Karl Roberson has missed weight twice for this fight, with the first involving a case of rhabdomyolysis (simply put: a common weight cutting related illness that can be fatal; scary stuff). On the scales, however, Roberson did not look too badly affected and thus there is no reason to question its potential impact on his performance. Roberson has a mixed 3-2 recent record, falling twice to first-round arm-triangle chokes against better grapplers, whilst eeking out his victories with slick outfighting style.

Marvin Vettori, love him or hate him, is an exciting fighter to watch. Lacking knockout power in a division that features some very heavy hitters should leave Vettori up -redacted- creek without a paddle. But relying on a stellar chin and a massive heart, Vettori has steadily racked up decision wins through high volume striking displays. Despite conceding technical quality to Roberson in this matchup, Vettori’s front foot pressure fighting could very well swallow Roberson’s more calculated offence in a similar fashion as to Glover Teixeira’s victory back in January 2019,

Roberson’s significant striking accuracy of 52%, Vettori’s defensive vulnerabilities (absorbing 2.85 significant strikes per minute), and both men’s tendency to fall into long-winded affairs (Roberson and Vettori’s average fight time of 8:00 and 13:30 respectively) suggests this will be an attritional, striking war that will test the chins but more importantly the hearts of both men.

Predicted Result: Vettori Decision

In a larger octagon, Roberson would fare slightly better as it would allow more space for his outside striking to blossom. At UFC Apex, Vettori will thrive in the close-quarters battle and will turn it into a hellish Stalingrad hand-to-hand war.

UFC Fight Night 29 Review - Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori by ...
Marvin Vettori pushes the action against current Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya at UFC on Fox: 29. April 2018.

Result: Vettori def. Roberson // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 4:17

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Main Card

Lightweight (155)

Charles Rosa (12-4) vs Kevin Aguilar (17-3)

Charles Rosa represents a dynamic grappler who was overwhelmed by the increasingly popular, Bryce Mitchell, just last month at UFC 249. Although swallowed for much of the match, Rosa showed real grit and determination as he survived several attempted submissions. Defeating Kyle Bochniak (the man who ‘exposed’ Zabit Magomedsharipov) by decision, yet falling short against Yair Rodriguez and Shane Burgos, means that Rosa has fought well (and most importantly, long) against opposition of a significant quality.

Kevin Aguilar is the favourite in this match-up, despite the name-brand value of his resume. Losing a clear decision against rising contender, Dan Ige, and offering no response to Zubaira Tukhugov’s ground and pound, Aguilar is coming off a two-fight slide. Despite this, Aguilar holds a monster reach for his height (5’7” tall and 73” reach) and a strong TDD (86% takedown defence in the UFC) which will likely neutralise the threat of Rosa’s grappling.

Predicted Result: Aguilar Decision

Expect Aguilar to keep Rosa striking for large portions of the fight, an area where Aguilar will thrive.

Result: Rosa def. Aguilar // Decision (split – 29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Featherweight (145)

Andre Fili (20-7) vs Charles Jourdain (10-2)

A hidden gem of a fight! Fili comes into the fight as a betting favourite despite coming off the back of a decision loss to Sodiq Yusuff. Fili adopts a counter kickboxing style that is ever-improving, most importantly, employed against solid competition (Myles Jury, Michael Johnson, and the meme GOAT, Artem Lobov). More importantly, Fili is an energetic wrestler who often relies on his chin in favour of lightning-fast striking and a desire to take top position on the mat.

Jourdain is a powerful hitter who prefers to slug it out on the feet. Knocking out Doo Ho Choi is no easy feat and speaks volumes of Jourdain’s stand-up credentials. Unfortunately, there are few other quality fights of which to base assumption on Jourdain aside from a clear preference to keep the fight as far away from the ground as possible.

Predicted Result: Fili Round 3 TKO

Andre Fili has only fallen short to decision losses against ranked (or soon to be ranked) opposition in the UFC. Possessing a seemingly iron chin, and a knack to secure regular takedowns, it will result in Fili dominating proceedings and forcing the referee to intervene.

Result: Fili def. Jourdain // Decision (split – 29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Bantamweight (135)

Jordan Espinosa (14-7) vs Mark De La Rosa (11-4)

Don’t be fooled by Espinosa’s record, despite tough match-ups causing a 1-2 record in the UFC, Espinosa is a high volume striker with wicked TDD. Holding a weight advantage as a true bantamweight, Espinosa will be able to overpower any takedown attempts and have free reign to take the fight where he wishes – most likely, on the feet.

De La Rosa is a flyweight who is, unfortunately, trying to grapple with a much larger man. Conceding reach and mass, with a presumable game-plan of grappling, spells disaster for the fighter on a three-fight slide.

Predicted Result: Espinosa Decision

Bigger man overpower smaller man when skillset not significantly different. Big brain moment.

Result: Espinosa def. De La Rosa // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Mariya Agapova (8-1) vs Hannah Cifers (10-5)

Bit of a gimme fight for Agapova for her debut. Despite resembling a somewhat unknown entity having fought in various regional organisations (WFCA, Fight Nights Global, Invicta), Agapova is a well-rounded fighter with the ability to stop fights on her feet or a range of submissions. Hannah Cifers is on a rapid turnaround having just lost by kneebar to Mackenzie Dern a fortnight ago. Despite showing surprising improvements in her offensive output and TDD, the same weaknesses remain in her inability to get off the mat once landing on her back.

Predicted Result: Agapova Submission Round 3

A victorious debut against a flawed fighter who is without a full training camp.

Result: Agapova def. Cifers // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 2:42

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

Preliminary Card

Bantamweight (135)

Merab Dvalishvili (10-4) vs Gustavo Lopez (11-4)

In tandem with this entire card, Merab missed weight on the scales yesterday. Regardless, the decision machine that is Dvalishvili will continue his trend on Saturday night. The pandemic has forced the UFC to recruit unknown fighters to fill the cards out, and Gustavo Lopez is one such case. Making his UFC debut, Lopez has struggled against regional competition within the Combate organisation.

Predicted Result: Dvalishvili TKO Round 1

Dvalishvili will get the job done early, or treat this as a sparring session, no surprises here.

Result: Dvalishvili def. Lopez // Decision (unanimous – 30-26, 30-26, 30-25)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

Julia Avila (7-1) vs Gina Mazany (6-3)

Mazany is a fighter who has been, for the most part, used by the UFC to push other fighters. Holding a 1-4 record in the UFC, losing to less than quality names, Mazany is an aged competitor who will struggle against the rounded credentials of Avila. This is more of a ‘opponent is worse’, than ‘fighter is superior, sort of match-up.

Predicted Result: Avila TKO Round 1

Result: Avila def. Mazany // TKO (punches) Round 1 0:22

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Flyweight (125)

Tyson Nam (18-11-1) vs Zarrukh Adashev (3-1)

Coming in from Bellator, Adashev will surely prove too strong in his match-up with perennial journeyman, Nam. Nam will test Adashev’s gas tank, but failing any slip-ups, this should be a routine decision cruise.

Predicted Result: Adashev Decision

Result: Nam def. Adashev // KO (punch) Round 1 0:32

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Welterweight (170)

Anthony Ivy (8-2) vs Christian Aguilera (13-6)

I simply don’t know either of these men, I am not an avid watcher of LFA nor FURY FC. After a quick browse online, Aguilera seems to be a favourite. To be an arse, I shall choose Ivy.

Predicted Result: Ivy KO (clean) Round 2

Result: Aguilare def. Ivy // TKO (punches) Round 1 0:59

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Prediction Accuracy

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Eye vs Calvillo

Winner: 6/10

Method: 5/10

Round: 4/10

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 10/20

Method: 12/20

Round: 10/20

Takeaway comments: Adashev, look at how they massacred my doughy boi!

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