The UFC is on fire right now with a ton of hot news and fights every weekend. With that, the UFC hosts it’s third event at the APEX this weekend for UFC on ESPN 10. The event will be headlined by the popular, Cynthia Calvillo (8-1-1), who is making her flyweight debut against former title challenger, Jessica “Evil” Eye (15-7). While the main event choice has received it’s fair share of criticism, there are some solid fights on the card Saturday night. With that in mind, let’s dive into the card and breakdown some of the fights scheduled for this Saturday.
UFC flyweight debut for Calvillo against “Evil” Eye
Cynthia Calvillo was a very bright prospect in the UFC’s strawweight division. Calvillo made her debut back in 2017, and she won her first three fights in the UFC including a win over Joanne Calderwood who is next in line to fight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. Calvillo then ran into Carla Esparza who gave Calvillo her first career loss. Following that fight, Calvillo’s biggest adversary was her weight. She would miss weight multiple times which is why she is now moving up to flyweight. Calvillo is training at AKA, and I expect to see some improvement in her striking in this fight. She has pretty good wrestling, and I think the lack of a weight cut is going to help her stay fresher throughout the fight.
Jessica Eye has had a very interesting career in the UFC. When you look at her UFC record of 5-6-1, you would not think of her as a top fighter. However, since dropping down to flyweight from 135 pounds, Eye has seen her fortunes in the UFC change. She’s gone 4-1 since the drop with her only loss coming by way of a vicious head kick to the champion, Shevchenko. Eye has some pretty good hands is the type of fighter who always seem to do just enough in the judges eyes to get a decision. She doesn’t have knockout power, but she lands at a decent enough clip to win decisions.
To me this fight is going to come down to how Calvillo looks in this new weight class. I believe that she has more tools than Eye does, but it’ll be interesting to see her go up against someone stronger than she is. We are talking about two women who used to fight two weight classes apart. If Calvillo is able to mix her takedowns in with her striking, I think she can walk away with a decision. If the fight stays at range, I think Eye can have a classic performance where she just does enough in the judges eyes. The odds are even for this fight, and I can see why. I don’t see either woman getting a finish, so it will be a coin toss in the hands of the judges. I’m going to go with Calvillo here by the slightest of margins.
Prediction: Cynthia Calvillo by Split Decision
Karl Roberson vs Marvin Vettori
The co-main event of the evening is the fight that I’m looking forward to the most. We have Marvin Vettori (14-4-1) taking on Karl Roberson (9-2). These two men were supposed to fight a month ago, but due to Roberson getting sick from his weight cut, the fight was called off. A video went viral of a furious Vettori going after Roberson in their hotel lobby. These two men do not like each other, and they finally get to fight. Vettori has looked really good in his last couple of fights where he’s won against Cezar Ferreira and Andrew Sanchez. Vettori is the kind of guy who is going to constantly press forward in a fight. He’s pretty well-rounded with solid striking and a really good wrestling base. He’s got great submission skills which might come in handy during this fight.
Last year, Roberson dropped down from 205 to 185 and has won his first two fights at middleweight. Roberson has very good striking, and his power is going to translate really well at this weight class. The one knock on Roberson is his lack of ground game which could really hurt him in this fight. Expect Vettori to push the pace a lot in this fight, and for Roberson to win, his counter striking is going to need to be on point. If this fight stays on the feet, I definitely think that Roberson can win, but I see this fight getting taken to the ground throughout the fight. A popular pick in this fight is Vettori by decision, but I’m going to say that Vettori gets in a dominant position in the second round, and finishes the fight with an arm-triangle choke.
Prediction: Marvin Vettori by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) – Round 2
Merab Dvalishvili vs Gustavo Lopez
The third fight of the main card features a catchweight bout between Combate Americas batamweight champion, Gustavo Lopez (11-4), and Merab Dvalishvili (10-4). Dvalishvili was originally scheduled to fight Ray Borg on Saturday night, but due to personal reasons, Borg pulled out of the fight. Lopez decided to step in on short notice to fight Dvalishvili. Because Lopez is stepping in on such short notice, they have decided to make the fight a catchweight fight. Lopez is making his UFC debut on the heels of three consecutive first round finishes. In eleven career victories, Lopez has only gone to a decision once. Lopez has a great overall game, and I’m very interested to watch him make his debut on Saturday night, even if he didn’t have a camp to prepare. Him stepping in like this shows the kind of fighter that Gustavo Lopez is.
Dvalishvili has looked pretty good in his last three outings. Dvalishvili has won all three of his fights by unanimous decision. Dvalishvili is very strong and has a very strong wrestling base. With a lack of a camp, this matchup favors Dvalishvili by a lot. With no camp to prepare, you can’t imagine that Lopez’s cardio is at peak condition. Dvalishvili needs to really engage in the grappling early on in this one. Expect Lopez to come out very fast early on, but I’m not sure he will be able to stop Dvalishvili from taking him down. Even if he can keep Dvalishvili off of him in the first round, the last two are going to be a handful. I like Lopez, but it’s hard to see him pulling off a victory on such short notice over Dvalishvili.
Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Unanimous Decision
Andre Fili vs Charles Jourdain
The second fight of the main card is a very interesting matchup between UFC veteran, Andre Fili (20-7) and Canadian prospect, Charles Jourdain (10-2). Fili is a very solid fighter who has been in the UFC for a long time. Fili made his UFC debut back in 2013, and for the most part, has only taken losses against top level competition. You could consider him a little bit of a gate keeper in the featherweight division. Five of his six losses have been to guys like Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Katter, Michael Johnson, and Sodiq Yusuff. Fili fights very well from distance, and he does a great job at mixing hin some grappling. He’s going to be a very tough matchup for the 24-year-old Canadian.
Jourdain shocked everyone in his last UFC appearance by knocking out Doo Ho Choi in Korea. Jourdain has ten professional wins, and he’s finished all ten of those wins. Jourdain has really good power, and he’s got some solid submission skills to go along with it. From what I’ve seen, he does lack a little in the wrestling game which might hurt him in this matchup, but overall, he’s a very bright prospect for the UFC. This is a very tough matchup for Jourdain. While Jourdain has very good power, Fili is one of the tougher guys to put away. Yusuff, Katter, and former champion, Max Holloway, couldn’t put Fili away. I think Fili is going to use his five-inch reach advantage well in this fight to stay on the outside. Jourdain’s best chance is to catch Fili coming in. Fili is going to mix in some wrestling in, and I think he’s going to be able to take Jourdain down a few times throughout the fight.
Prediction: Andre Fili by Unanimous Decision
Jordan Espinosa vs Mark De La Rosa
The main card on ESPN kicks off with a flyweight contest between Jordan Espinosa (14-7) and Mark De La Rosa (11-4). This is a very important fight for both men as they both enter this fight on multiple fight losing streaks. De La Rosa bounced back from his UFC debut loss to Tim Elliot by winning back to back fights which got him a shot at top contender, Alex Perez. Starting with the Perez fight, it’s been all downhill for De La Rosa, losing three consecutive fights including getting knocked out in his last performance. De La Rosa needs to make this fight ugly to win. He’s got a decent all-around game, but he doesn’t really shine in any one area which might be his problem in this matchup.
Espinosa grabbed a win in his UFC debut against Eric Shelton, but since then, he’s lost back to back fights by getting submitted in the first round. Espinosa has really good speed, and very good wrestling. I think Espinosa has a clear advantage going into this fight with his speed and overall game. I think he’s going to need to keep this fight clean by keeping De La Rosa down when he takes him down, or picking him apart using his speed on the feet. I just think when it comes down to it that Espinosa has more paths to victory. I think he snaps his two-fight losing streak by handing De La Rosa his fourth consecutive loss in this one.
Prediction: Jordan Espinosa by Unanimous Decision
UFC of ESPN 10 Outlook
This is definitely not the strongest card that Dana White and the UFC has put together, but there are some intriguing matches on this card. I’m very interested in watching the Fili/Jourdain matchup as well as the co-main event. I would not go into this card expecting to see a lot of finishes. Yes, it will likely be a long night of decisions, but I think we are going to see a couple of really good and action packed fights along the way.