UFC FIGHT NIGHT 177: Main Event Madness
By Jason Paglia
UFC Fight Night 177 has a fight card that is so bad, I’d rather eat glass. However, it’s my job to find the angle no matter how bad the card is, so I’ll give it the old college try. Here is the good news: Fight Island is happening next month. Four dates on the island, plus the fight card for UFC 251 is ridiculous. So, we’ve got that going for us… which is nice. OK, enough. Let’s do it.
JESSICA EYE (15-7)
Evil Eye steps into the Octagon Saturday as the #1 ranked Women’s Flyweight contender in the world. Jessica Eye made her amateur debut in 2008 when she went 5-0 and won the NAAFS women’s flyweight amateur championship. She got her first big break as a professional when she signed with Bellator, making her debut at Bellator 51 when she defeated Casey Noland. She would be released by Bellator and signed immediately by the UFC in the summer of 2013. She came into the UFC as a bantamweight where she amassed a 1-5 record. Desperate for a fresh st,art, she moved to the flyweight division in January of 2018 and has done nothing but win since, reeling off 3 consecutive victories. Then she ran into the machine know as Valentina Shevchenko. Eye had a chance at the championship and suffered one of the most horrific knockouts in the history of women’s MMA. She picked herself up and won her last fight against Viviane Arujo and looked good doing it. Now she headlines an event against Cynthia Calvillo. Can she continue her momentum and get one more title shot before she calls it quits?
The BEST of Jessica Eye
Her movement is fluid. Like most well-rounded boxers in the UFC, she cuts the angle very well. Her lateral movement around the cage in general is great. She will need that in spades again in Calvillo on Saturday night.
Jessica Eye’s striking is legit. Her boxing in and out of the pocket is smooth. She works behind her jab well, allowing a more comfortable setup for combinations. Her counter-striking game is excellent. She should use her legs more; her kicks are there but not as frequently as I would like.
The eye is very much a jack of all trades, master of none type of fighter. If you take BJJ out of the equation, her wrestling is quite strong, but she frequently would rather trade punches than take fights to the ground.
Eye’s hands are lightening even for the flyweight division. She landed 32 punches in the first two minutes of the Smith fight. I can’t land 32 punches in 2 minutes…. Can you?
The WORST of Jessica Eye
Since seeing a sports psychologist, Jessica Eye has been more consistent BUT, I am still not sold; it is completely behind her. The 3-0 run is excellent, but it wasn’t that long ago we were talking about the 1-5 Eye that was about to get cut from the roster. Why was she going to get cut? The inconsistency inside the Octagon.
She is ALWAYS walking forward, but when she is on her back foot, she is always LOSING.
CYNTHIA CALVILLO (8-1-1)
Cynthia Calvillo started fighting as an amateur mixed martial artist in 2012. Over four years, she accumulated a 5-1 amateur record. In 2016 Cynthia Calvillo made her professional mixed martial arts debut, and in five months, she won three consecutive fights. After those victories, the UFC took notice and offered Calvillo a ten-day contract to fight Amanda Cooper on short notice at UFC 209. She would take full advantage of her situation and beat Cooper via submission in the 1st round.
After the success of a victory on short notice, the UFC signed her to a short multi-fight contract to join the main roster and was immediately asked to come back and fight at UFC 210 against Pearl Gonzalez. With the momentum at her back, Calvillo stepped into the cage with purpose and went on to beat Pearl Gonzalez via 3rd round submission.
In the end, Cynthia Calvillo has amassed a record of 5-1 while fighting in the UFC. Calvillo is currently ranked the #10 strawweight fighter in the world and can really use a win against a top 10 opponent. Will she extend her win streak to 6 of her last seven fights?
The BEST of Cynthia Calvillo
If Cynthia Calvillo is known for anything, it’s the fact that she is a better wrestler/ grappler, then anything else she does offensively. I am not a massive fan of the skills that she has, so to me, that isn’t saying much.
Again, I ordinarily give this as a PRO for someone that had three submission wins in their career arsenal, but I feel like, despite her record, it’s slim pick ins for Calvillo. She does attempt two submissions per 15 minutes, which I assume is better than the average fighter in the division.
The WORST of Cynthia Calvillo
She may have 12 fewer fights than her opponent, but 12 fights could be a world worth of things you haven’t seen in the cage. She has had ten pro fights. She is still a baby in the game, and every fight is a learning experience at this point. She has not seen the speed in exchanges that she will see Saturday. How will she react to that? Who knows, she has ten pro fights…. Get my point
She might have been able to strike it out for three rounds with Courtney Casey and win because she wasn’t able to rely on the best part of her game getting her through the fight, but let’s be real. She has no power because she of her looping hook and her combinations are complete garbage. It leaves a lot to be desired.
WHO WIN THIS FIGHT?
It’s a tough call. The fight comes down to two clear paths to victory. Can Eye keep this fight on the feet, or can Calvillo take her down to the ground and grind Eye out on the mat.
Whoever decides that wins the fight. I think Calvillo has a better chance than usual of getting Eye to the ground because of the smaller cage. It will be easier for her to cut the cage off tomorrow night. If we are honest, it’s alarming that Viviane Arujo was able to take Jessica Eye down at will. She still won the decision because of her striking game, but that makes me feel uncomfortable.
I guess that Jessica works hard behind that snap jab, keeps moving, and uses leg kicks for separation, so she has time to throw her hands and keep her distance. In the end, I have to lean on Eye’s striking game, I guess, but I don’t feel great about this one.
Jessica Eye (-110) -DRAFTKINGS