UFC books JoJo Calderwood – Lauren Murphy

Just as the action was getting under way at UFC 260, we learned some breaking news. MMA Junkie was the first to report this evening that the promotion has finalized a matchup between top flyweight contenders Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5) and Lauren Murphy (14-4).

The matchup will take place at UFC 263 which is scheduled for June 12th. Calderwood will enter the contest as the sixth ranked flyweight in the UFC. She will be looking to take another step towards a shot at the flyweight title.

Last year, Calderwood was set to challenge for the flyweight title. The UFC booked her against Valentina Shevchenko in June. However, the champion suffered a knee injury and needed more time to prepare.

Instead of waiting on the sidelines, Calderwood decided to take a fight against Jennifer Maia. This ultimately proved to be a massive mistake as Maia would submit Calderwood in the first round and take her title shot.

Calderwood returned back at UFC 257 in January where she met Jessica Eye. She put on a very good performance and walked away with a decision win. This is going to be a massive fight for her on June 12th.

UFC title eliminator?

Lauren Murphy has been on quite the run in the UFC since 2019. Since the calendar turned over to 2019, Murphy has won four consecutive fights including wins over Andrea Lee and Roxanne Modafferi.

In her last fight, Murphy secured her first submission win at UFC 254. After the fight was over, Murphy said that she wanted a title shot. However, given her status in the division, that was always going to be a long shot.

Murphy is currently ranked third in the flyweight division. If she’s able to come out at UFC 263 and put on a dominant performance against JoJo Calderwood, it’s going to be hard to deny her of a shot at the title. Should be an excellent fight on June 12th.

What’s next for JoJo Calderwood after UFC 257?

This past Saturday at UFC 257, Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5) took on Jessica Eye (15-9, 1 NC) on the PPV main card. Both of these flyweight contenders had a lot on the line on Saturday night.

Whoever won this fight was going to be in a position where they could get a top five opponent next. However, a loss would put them way back in the UFC flyweight division. Calderwood had a lot to prove on Saturday night.

Originally, JoJo Calderwood was supposed to get a UFC title shot back in June of last year. However, Valentina Shevchenko injured her knee and the fight was scrapped. The promotion offered to allow Calderwood to wait for the title shot.

However, Calderwood wanted to stay active. She said that she didn’t want a lengthy layoff leading into her first UFC title shot. With that in mind, she took a fight against Jennifer Maia. She was submitted in the first round and as a result, lost her UFC title shot.

At UFC 257, she had the chance to get back on track and that’s what she did. Over the course of three rounds, Calderwood used her effective kicks and knees to keep Eye at range. She mixed up her shots well and was able to walk away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC 257?

As mentioned, Calderwood was supposed to get a title shot last year. With this win at UFC 257, I think she’s right back near that conversation. However, she’s going to need one more win to get that shot at the title.

In looking at the rankings, I believe there are a couple of matchups that make a lot of sense for Calderwood. For Calderwood’s next fight, I would pair her up against either Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) or Lauren Murphy (14-4).

Both of those contenders are near a title shot, however, we already know that Jessica Andrade is getting the next crack at the UFC title. Chookagian and Murphy should honestly fight, however, Murphy doesn’t seem interested in that matchup.

I think the promotion should put Calderwood against one of those two contenders with a title shot on the line. Again, Calderwood was supposed to get the shot before Shevchenko was hurt. She still deserves to be in the conversation.

If the UFC pairs up Calderwood with one of those two, the winner would be in a great position to challenge the winner of Shevchenko – Andrade. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation at flyweight plays out.

After losing at UFC 257, what’s next for Jessica Eye?

This past Saturday at UFC 257, we saw a bit of a grudge match in the flyweight division. Former top contender, Jessica “Evil” Eye (15-9, 1 NC), took on Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (15-5).

This fight between top contenders was going to be big for the UFC‘s flyweight division. Both ladies were entering this contest off of a loss so the winner would move back towards the top while the loser would really get shuffled back.

Eye and Calderwood had a very entertaining bout at UFC 257. For the most part, these two ladies stood and traded over the course of three rounds. Throughout the fight, Eye just appeared to be a step behind JoJo Calderwood.

Calderwood was able to use her kicks and her knees to really keep Eye from getting going on Saturday night. In the end, the judges unanimously gave the fight to Calderwood.

Jessica Eye was leaning on her boxing a little too much at UFC 257 and it cost her. She never really got any momentum going and was out of range when it comes to significant strikes most of the night. The former title challenger has now lost two straight.

What’s next after UFC 257?

In 2018, Jessica Eye moved to the UFC’s flyweight division. Finally, it appeared that she would be fighting in her natural weight class after struggling for years in the bantamweight division.

Right away, it looked like Eye belonged. In 2018, Jessica Eye went 3-0 which included a win over Katlyn Chookagian. Those wins led her to UFC 238 where she earned a shot at the champion, Valentina Shevchenko.

That is where things were derailed a bit. Eye was completely outclassed by Shevchenko and was knocked out cold in the second round by a headkick. Eye was able to bounce back at UFC 245 when she beat Viviane Araujo by decision.

However, 2020 was a rough year for Jessica Eye. She dealt with some health issues outside the cage and lost a decision to Cynthia Calvillo. That was her only fight in 2020 and now she’s just lost her first fight of 2021. After these losses, Eye has gone from first to eighth in the rankings.

So what does the UFC do with Jessica Eye? In looking at the rankings, I think a good next opponent for Jessica Eye would be Roxanne Modafferi (25-18). Modafferi just lost on this trip to Fight Island.

However, Modafferi is 3-3 in her last six fights. Her wins have come against Antonina Shevchenko, Maycee Barber, and Andrea Lee. Her losses have all come against some of the better flyweights in the UFC.

A matchup between these two ladies makes sense from a rankings perspective and it makes sense just looking at where they are currently at in their careers. Not sure if this is where the promotion goes, but it’s the fight that makes the most sense to me.

JoJo Calderwood outpoints Jessica Eye at UFC 257

One of the more intriguing matchups at UFC 257 was the flyweight contest between Jessica Eye (15-8) and Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-5). Both of these top ten flyweights were looking to bounce back after taking losses in 2020.

2020 was a tough year for the UFC‘s Calderwood. Calderwood earned a title shot and was expected to fight Valentina Shevchenko in June. However, the champion suffered a knee injury and the fight was going to be pushed back.

Calderwood wanted to take another fight instead of wait for the shot. She was looking at a lengthy layoff and didn’t want that heading into a title shot. Calderwood took on Jennifer Maia and was submitted in the first round. Maia took away Calderwood’s UFC title shot.

2020 was also not a great year for Jessica Eye. Eye is a former UFC title challenger and spent a good portion of the year ranked as the number one contender. However, that changed when she headlined a fight night against Cynthia Calvillo.

Calvillo was making her flyweight debut and used her superior grappling to beat Eye by a decision. Eye tumbled in the rankings and was looking to get back towards a UFC title shot with a win tonight.

UFC 257 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 257 flyweight contest kicked off with both ladies meeting in the middle with a big exchange. These two didn’t waste any time at all. Calderwood looked for knees in the clinch while Eye worked the uppercuts.

After a couple of exchanges, Eye pushed Calderwood up against the fence in the clinch. The two separated and Calderwood landed a very nice 1-2 off of a leg kick. After that, Eye went right back to clinching Calderwood but ate a knee for her efforts.

Calderwood was able to break the clinch and she landed a body kick. Jessica Eye did a good job of landing a couple of good shots before the two clinched again. Calderwood again was able to break free. Halfway through the round and the two exchanged big shots before they clinched again.

Eye was able to get the better of the position and she started landing good knees against the fence. She then was able to land some good body shots, but Calderwood countered with knees. The separated and both started exchanged again.

Through the first round of this UFC 257 flyweight contest, Jessica Eye continuously was getting the best of the clinch. A furious pace to the first round and I’ll lean towards Jessica Eye after one.

Round 2

The second round at UFC 257 kicked off with a big body kick from JoJo Calderwood. The two clinched and they both landed body shots in the clinch. Calderwood then landed some clean shots on the outside.

After that, she then landed a big front kick to the face. Calderwood then popped Eye with a clean 1-2. Eye was trying to close the distance, but Calderwood was catching coming in. Both ladies exchanged clean jabs with three minutes left in the round.

The two clinched again and Calderwood landed a couple of clean knees. Eye did land a couple of nice shots to the body. Calderwood then landed a nasty body kick and followed it up with a clean right hand.

Another good body kick lands for Calderwood. Eye was pushing forward, but Calderwood was touching her up in the second. Eye landed a clean jab with 90 seconds left in the round, but Calderwood countered with some good body kicks.

Calderwood was really connecting everywhere with the kicks in the second. She started working calf kicks before going back to the body. Jessica Eye was able to catch Calderwood spinning in the final minute and Eye landed a takedown. Despite the takedown, I have this UFC 257 contest even heading into the third.

Round 3

This UFC 257 flyweight contest was up for grabs heading into the third round. Calderwood opened the striking with a couple of body kicks. Jessica Eye closed the distance and was able to force a clinch 20 seconds in.

For the next minute of the fight, Eye was just controlling Calderwood against the fence. Not a ton of action and the referee was threatening to separate. Eye was trying to take Calderwood down, but Calderwood’s defense really halted the action.

Halfway through the round and Calderwood landed a knee, but she couldn’t separate from Eye. Finally the referee separates the two and Calderwood landed a couple of clean shots to the body.

Eye tried to clinch again, but Calderwood defended well. Calderwood then popped Eye with a couple of shots. Jessica Eye was trying to throw, but she was out of range. Calderwood then hit her clean with a right hand that forced a takedown attempt.

Calderwood sprawled well and forced the fight back up. The two then clinched and Calderwood started landing good knees to the body. When the two separated, Calderwood continued to look for shots. Eye looked very tired.

The two clinched against the fence and Calderwood started landing big shots. Calderwood landed a big knee and Eye gets cut open. The round comes to a close and Calderwood should get the decision here.

JoJo Calderwood def. Jessica Eye by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

UFC 257 Preview: Jessica Eye – JoJo Calderwood

At UFC 257 we will see a battle of two top ten flyweight contenders on the main card. Jessica “Evil” Eye (15-8, 1 NC) will take on Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-5) in a key battle at women’s flyweight.

2020 certainly didn’t go as planned for JoJo Calderwood. Calderwood started the year believing that she was going to get a UFC title shot. In fact, the UFC booked her against Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) for the title in June.

However, Shevchenko ended up having a knee injury and the fight was delayed. Calderwood wanted to stay active and decided to take a fight against Jennifer Maia (18-7-1). This proved to be a massive mistake as she was submitted in the first round and lost her title shot.

Calderwood is just 1-2 in her last three fights. However, both of those losses came to former title challengers. She will look to bounce back against another title challenger tomorrow night.

Jessica Eye also didn’t have a 2020 that went according to plan. She ended 2019 strong with a big win over Viviane Araujo (10-2). However, she was then tasked with welcoming Cynthia Calvillo (9-2-1) to the flyweight division.

Eye didn’t look good at all in that fight and she lost a five round decision to Calvillo. That was the only time we saw Eye in the octagon in 2020. It’s worth noting that she’s still one of the UFC‘s best flyweights having only lost twice since moving up to 125.

UFC 257 Prediction

This is a very intriguing matchup and I could see both of these ladies getting their hands raised at UFC 257. When it comes to the striking, I believe that Calderwood is going to have the advantage on the feet tomorrow night.

I believe she has a much more diverse attack especially when she mixes in her kicks. Jessica Eye has some pretty decent boxing, but we really don’t see her mix it up that much. That said, she does strike in bunches would could be key at UFC 257.

I don’t think either of these ladies is going to score a finish tomorrow night. To me, this is going to be a contest of who scores the most. If we stay purely at boxing range, I think Eye can pull this decision out.

However, I’m actually going to lean the other way in my prediction. I believe that Calderwood is going to come out with something to prove tomorrow. Maybe look for her to utilize the clinch and mix in her kicks. This fight will be close, but I’ll lean Calderwood on the cards.

Prediction: JoJo Calderwood by Split Decision

UFC Vegas 5 Preview: Can Derek Brunson stop the Edmen Shahbazyan hype train?

The UFC returns to it’s home base tomorrow night. The promotion is back at the APEX with a solid card that is headlined by middleweights Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) and Derek Brunson (20-7). Let’s take a look at the main card for UFC Vegas 5.

Can Brunson stop the UFC’s Golden Boy Shahbazyan?

The main event of the evening is a three round middleweight contest featuring Shahbazyan and Brunson. The fight is three rounds due to the fight originally being planned as the co-main event.

Shahbazyan comes into this fight with a ton of hype. Many people believe than he’s the next big thing in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

The promotion has been bringing him along slowly and the 22-year old phenom has answered the call every time. He took on Brad Tavares in his last fight and put on a clinic.

Shahbazyan has very crisp striking. He throws clean straight shots and possesses dynamite in his hands and legs. In addition to that, he’s got really good grappling. He’s truly a well-rounded guy.

Despite hating the name, Derek Brunson is the gatekeeper of the UFC‘s middleweight division. He doesn’t lose to guys in the lower half of the top 15, but he always loses against top five talent.

Brunson is coming into this fight coming off of back-to-back wins. In his last fight, Brunson was dropped in seconds against Ian Heinisch but bounced back to grab a decision victory.

Brunson has a wrestling background that he mainly uses for defensive purposes. He boasts an incredible 100% takedown defense. Brunson also has really good power and he’s used that in his knockout wins over Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall.

While Brunson is a very solid fighter all around, he’s very hittable and I think he’s very chinny. To me, this fight reminds me a lot of the Israel Adesanya fight with Brunson.

Brunson was there to take on the guy everyone viewed as the next big thing. In that fight, Brunson got lit up like a Christmas tree and stopped in the first round. Brunson has been stopped in the first round four times in his career.

While I’m not saying Shahbazyan is Style Bender, I think the fight is going to go the same way. I think the accuracy and the speed of Shahbazyan’s shots will just be too much. I don’t believe Brunson has the chin to make it out of the first round. In my opinion, Shahbazyan will prove he’s the real deal tomorrow night.

Prediction: Edmen Shahbazyan by KO – Round 1

Joanne Calderwood vs Jennifer Maia

The co-main event of the evening features a likely title eliminator match in the UFC women’s flyweight division as Joanne Calderwood (14-4) takes on Jennifer Maia (17-6-1).

Taking this fight was an interesting choice for Calderwood. She is stepping up on short notice, but she was next in line to face UFC flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. That fight had been booked but cancelled due to the champ’s injury.

Now, Calderwood is taking on a dangerous contender in Maia and putting her title shot on the line in this one.

Calderwood comes into this contest 3-1 in her last four fights with the lone loss coming against Katlyn Chookagian. Calderwood is one of the more entertaining fighters in the division.

When she’s striking, she throws with decent volume and has a wide range of striking techniques. You will likely see her throw some spinning techniques. In addition to that, she’s very good in the clinch. She does a fantastic job of landing good shots from that position.

Maia is the former Invicta flyweight champion and she’s coming into this contest 2-2 in her four UFC fights. Her two wins coming against Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi.

Maia is the type of fighter who’s not elite anywhere, but she’s very good everywhere. She’s got decent striking, she’s got decent submissions, and she’s got good offensive grappling.

For Maia to win this fight, she really has to push the pace and land with volume. I’m not sure either of these ladies will be getting a finish, so the highest output might take this one.

While it’s extremely dangerous to risk her title shot, I like JoJo Calderwood to come through tomorrow night. I just think she’s going to use her range well and I think she’ll be able to control the grappling positions. Expect some cage work tomorrow night.

Prediction: JoJo Calderwood by Unanimous Decision

Vicente Luque vs Randy Brown

The third fight of the evening is a popular fight of the night pick as UFC welterweights Vicente Luque (18-7-1) and Randy Brown (12-3) go to war.

Luque ranks just outside the top ten in the welterweight division. He’s 11-2 in his last 13 fights with his only losses being to Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards.

Luque has one of the better killer instincts in the UFC‘s welterweight division. When he hits people, they go down. He’s also got very good submission skills which could come into play in this fight. Luque is coming off of a doctor stoppage TKO victory over Niko Price back in May.

Randy Brown came to fame as one of the first guys to appear on Dana White’s Looking for a Fight. Since joining the UFC Brown is 6-3 with wins over Mickey Gall and Bryan Barberena.

Brown is coming off of a win over Warley Alves by triangle choke last November. Despite his wrestling background, Brown is the type of fighter who loves to strike. He’s got good length and pretty decent stand up.

In this fight, it would be wise for Brown to try to use some of his grappling to neutralize Luque’s power. At least give Luque multiple attacks to think about.

When thinking about this fight, I definitely believe that Randy Brown can win with his skillset. However, I don’t think he will. I believe he will have some success, but Luque will catch him before the fight is over.

Prediction: Vicente Luque by TKO – Round 3

Lando Vannata vs Bobby Green

The second fight of the main card is a rematch between lightweights Bobby Green (25-10-1) and Lando Vannata (11-4-2). Both men fought to a draw back at UFC 216.

Back in 2014, Bobby Green was emerging as a top contender in the lightweight division. He was coming off back-to-back wins over top guys like Josh Thomson and Pat Healy. Then, his career took a sharp downturn.

Since the Thomson win, Green is just 2-5-1 in his last eight fights. Green had retired after the Trinaldo loss last year, but he returned back in June to face Clay Guida. Green picked up a decision win in that fight.

Bobby Green has pretty good stand up and he’s got very good defensive grappling skills. He’s got pretty good speed as well in his striking.

Lando Vannata came into the UFC at 8-0. He became a replacement to take on the lightweight divisions boogieman in Tony Ferguson in his debut. Vannata almost finished Ferguson in that fight which shocked everyone.

Many people believed that Vannata would become one of the top contenders at lightweight after that fight. However, it hasn’t gone that way. Vannata is 3-3-2 in his last eight fights. He is also coming into this fight like Green coming off a decision win.

Vannata has good pop in his shots and throws a very diverse striking attack at his opponents. That could be a key in a fight against a guy like Green who mainly uses his boxing. In their first fight, Vannata was able to hurt Green bad on the feet.

This is a fight that I keep going back and forth on. I’m not entirely sure which Bobby Green is going to show up on fight night. If this was prime Green, I’d lean that way. However, I think Vannata is going to be able to get it done.

In the end, I think the diverse striking attack and higher output numbers from Vannata will help him. This is truly a fight that I think will be razor close. Don’t be shocked to see the judges split here.

Prediction: Lando Vanatta by Split Decision

Trevin Giles vs Kevin Holland

The opening fight of the UFC Vegas 5 main card is a middleweight contest between two prospects in Trevin Giles (12-2) and Kevin Holland (17-5).

Giles came into the UFC with a lot of hype behind him. He got some pretty good wins over guys like Brendan Allen and Ryan Spann on the regional scene before he made the UFC jump.

After debuting with back-to-back knockout victories, Giles is just 1-2 in his last three fights. Many people (including myself) thought he lost the split decision to James Krause which is his only win.

Giles is pretty good everywhere offensively. He’s got good grappling offense and he’s got good power with solid striking. Giles does fade in the later rounds so it’ll be very important for him to get off to a good start.

Much like Giles, Kevin Holland had a good amount of hype behind him when he started with the promotion. He got a nightmare of a first draw in Thiago Santos which he lost by unanimous decision.

Since that loss, Holland is 4-1 and he just fought back in May stopping Anthony Hernandez in under 40 seconds.

Holland is extremely long holding an 81 inch reach. He’s extremely well rounded and has pretty good cardio. In addition to those qualities, Holland has a very good chin which he showed off in that Santos fight.

When thinking about this fight, I struggle to see a path to victory for Giles outside of a knockout. When you go down the list, Holland beats him in most categories.

I think Holland will use his reach well in this fight, and I think he will do solid in the grappling exchanges. I’m going with a decision, but Holland could get a third round finish in this one.

Prediction: Kevin Holland by Unanimous Decision

UFC Vegas 5 Outlook

This card is so entertaining from top to bottom. There are a ton of intriguing matchups, but all eyes are going to be on Edmen Shahbazyan. Can he break through and become the next big UFC superstar? That is a question that will be answered tomorrow night.

UFC: JoJo Calderwood accepts replacement fight against Jennifer Maia

The UFC‘s top contender in the women’s flyweight division is not waiting around for the champ to get healthy.

Top contender, Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (14-4) has decided to take a short notice fight against Jennifer Maia (17-6-1) on the UFC‘s upcoming August 1st card.

Calderwood was scheduled to fight the undisputed queen, Valentina Shevchenko (19-3), back in June. However, the champ has been healthy and there haven’t been any updates on when she’ll be ready to return.

Instead of waiting around, Calderwood is stepping up to take a fight next week. Calderwood would enter the contest 3-1 in her last four fights with the lone loss coming against Katlyn Chookagian.

Huge UFC flyweight implications

This fight is presenting itself to be a massive opportunity for Maia. Maia will come into this fight ranked sixth in the UFC‘s flyweight rankings whereas Calderwood is ranked third.

If Maia is able to pull off the victory, it would vault her right into title contention. This is a massively risky fight when you think about it for Calderwood.

Maia is coming off a loss to Chookagian, but prior to that, she had won two consecutive fights against former UFC title challengers Alexis Davis and Roxanne Modafferi. Maia is no joke.

Whoever wins this fight on August 1st might be next in line for a crack at Shevchenko. Although, if Maia wins, you might see the UFC pivot to Cynthia Calvillo who won her flyweight debut back in June.