UFC on ESPN 10 Recap: Cynthia Calvillo wins flyweight debut over Jessica Eye

UFC on ESPN 10 was the third event held at the UFC‘s APEX, and the main event featured a women’s flyweight contest between Jessica “Evil” Eye (15-7) and Cynthia Calvillo (8-1-1). The card didn’t look incredibly strong on paper, but the fights were better than advertised tonight.

Calvillo impresses in flyweight debut

After struggling to make the strawweight limit of 115 pounds, Cynthia Calvillo moved up to flyweight. Standing across the octagon from her was the number one ranked flyweight in the world, Jessica Eye. Throughout the first round, both women seemed to be feeling each other out. Eye controlled the center of the cage, and seemed content to counter strike as Calvillo moved forward. Calvillo was able to land a few shots with some decent speed. Calvillo was able to land two flush head kicks early, but neither had enough power on it to do damage. Eye was able to catch Calvillo several times coming in, but Calvillo used her speed to land her shots as well. The first round was a very competitive striking match with neither woman trying to take the other down.

Calvillo came out in the second round with a little more pep in her step, but Eye continued to hold the center of the cage landing solid straight punches. About a minute into the second round, Calvillo finally shot for the first takedown of the fight. Eye stuffed the initial attempt, but Calvillo did a really good job of chaining her takedown attempts and got Eye to the ground. With about two minutes left in the round, Calvillo was able to secure Eye’s back. Calvillo was able to hold the back position for the rest of the round. The third round started a lot like the first round. Calvillo tried to use her speed on her feet while Eye held the center of the octagon. Both women landed some decent shots, but the round was won by Calvillo with about a minute left in the round when she was able to secure another takedown. Calvillo was able to secure Eye’s back for the second consecutive round.

In the fourth round, Calvillo was able to secure another takedown. For the third consecutive round, Calvillo was able to get to Eye’s back once the fight got to the ground. However, with about two minutes left in the round, Eye was able to get back to her feet. She spent the rest of the round chasing down Calvillo. Eye was able to land some solid shots which made the round a lot closer than it should have been. The fifth and final round was contested completely on the feet. Calvillo’s speed seemed to give Eye problems in the fifth as Calvillo continued to land the cleaner shots. With about two minutes left in the fight, Eye started pressing forward and sitting down on her punches. After getting hit with some clean shots, Calvillo was able to land a takedown on Eye. That takedown likely won Calvillo the round. On my personal scorecard, I had Calvillo up four rounds to one heading to the scorecards. The judges agreed with our scorecard giving Calvillo the unanimous decision victory (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).

Vettori Subs Roberson in the first

The co-main event of the evening was the fight that had the most heat on it leading into the evening. UFC middleweights Karl Roberson (9-2) and Marvin Vettori (14-4-1) were originally scheduled to fight a weeks ago. However, a tough weight cut, Roberson was not able to fight. Vettori confronted Roberson in their hotel lobby after the cancellation. Roberson then missed weight yesterday which added even more fuel to the fire. Both men entered the evening on two-fight winning streaks. In the first round, both men seemed to respect the others power early. About halfway through the round, the two men engaged in some grappling, and Roberson was able to get Vettori’s back for a few second. Vettori was then able to secure a takedown, and he almost secured a choke several times. With about one minute left in the round, Vettori landed some huge ground in pound which rocked Roberson. Roberson gave up his back, and Vettori secured a rear-naked choke which ended the fight. The third straight win for Vettori after losing a split decision to current UFC middlweight champion, Israel Adesanya. Vettori should be expecting a top-15 opponent in his next fight.

Fili takes close decision over Jourdain

One of the more anticipated fights of the evening was between UFC featherweights, Andre Fili (21-7) and Charles Jourdain (10-3). Fili came forward immediately and the two fighters looked to engage early. Jourdain and Fili exchanged some heavy shots in the first minute of the fight. Throughout the first round neither man tried to initiate any grappling as both men seemed content on a stand-up war. Fili seemed to be landing the more powerful shots throughout the round, but Jourdain floored Fili with about a minute left in the first round. Fili was able to work his way up to his feet after getting rocked. Both men continued to exchange the rest of the round, but with about ten seconds left, Fili landed a huge takedown and closed the round on top.

The second round started the exact same way as Fili immediately pressed the action to start. The two men continued to throw heavy shots at each other, but Fili continued to control the center of the octagon. Jourdain seemed content on hanging back and exploding forward with his combinations. While both men had their moments in the second round, Fili was more aggressive and seemed to be getting off first in the exchanges throughout the round. Jourdain landed some nice leg-kicks near the end of the round, but Fili landed a takedown which seemingly clinched the round for him. The third round featured some heavy exchanges early, but Fili was able to secure his third takedown about halfway through the round. Jourdain was able to get back to his feet, and he landed some heavy shots in the last couple of minutes. Fili did a good job of landing from the outside, but Jourdain was throwing smoke with everything he threw. Fili seemingly clinched the fight in the final twenty seconds when he was able to secure another takedown. In the end the judges gave the split decision victory to Andre Fili (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Espinosa hands De La Rosa his fourth straight loss

Jordan Espinosa (15-7-1) and Mark De La Rosa (11-5) was a fight where both men had their back against the wall in the UFC. Both men entered the cage tonight with multiple fight losing streaks desperately needing a win. One of the fighters really stood out in this contest. Espinosa was able to right the ship tonight giving De La Rosa his fourth consecutive loss. Espinosa was able to use his speed on the feet to keep his distance and land some solid shots. It became very apparent early that the only way De La Rosa would win this fight is by taking Espinosa down. De La Rosa was not able to land a single takedown, and he got rocked in the first round while he was on a single leg. Overall this was a pretty dominant performance from Espinosa, and the judges agreed giving him the decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26). One has to wonder if this is the last time we see De La Rosa in the UFC for a while.

Merab Dvalishvili spoils Gustavo Lopez’s UFC Debut

It was quite the eventful week for UFC bantamweight, Merab Dvalishvili (11-4). Just a couple of days ago, Dvalishvili was expecting to fight former title challenger, Ray Borg. However, due to a family emergency, Borg had to pull out of the fight. Combate Americas bantamweight champion, Gustavo Lopez (11-5), volunteered to take the fight in his UFC debut on short notice. Lopez has serious knockout power and a decent overall skillset, but I was concerned in this matchup going in with little to no prep. In our UFC on ESPN 10 preview, I said that Dvalishvili needed to lean heavily on the wrestling in this matchup, and that is exactly what he did. After entertaining the striking early, Dvalishvili focused most of the fight on taking things to the ground. Without training, it was hard for Lopez to stop Dvalishvili from taking him down. Lopez was able to land some solid shots throughout the fight, but nothing ever threatened to end the evening for Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili stuck to his game plan, and landed a UFC bantamweight record, 13 takedowns en route to a unanimous decision victory (30-26, 30-26, 30-25).

Final Takeaway from UFC on ESPN 10

This fight card received a lot of criticism throughout the week, but I think that the card delivered. I was very impressed with the flyweight debut of Cynthia Calvillo. I think after this win a fight with Katelyn Chookagian would make sense. Calvillo should jump right into the top five of the flyweight rankings after beating the previously top ranked contender, Jessica Eye. Overall, it was a very solid night of fights, and we have a new contender in the UFC’s flyweight division.

UFC on ESPN 10 Preview: Jessica Eye welcomes Cynthia Calvillo to flyweight

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.

Ray Borg out of UFC on ESPN 10; Gustavo Lopez steps in to fight Dvalishvili

UFC on ESPN 10 has last one of it’s main card fighters as former title challenger, Ray Borg (13-5), has pulled out of his fight against Merab Dvalishvili (10-4) due to personal reasons. We do not know why the former UFC title challenger had to pull out of this fight. This would have been his second performance at bantamweight after the UFC forced him to come up from flyweight due to weight issues. Stepping in on short notice to make his UFC debut is Combate Americas bantamweight champion, Gustavo Lopez (11-4).

UFC Debut For Lopez

Lopez comes into this fight on a three fight winning streak. All three of Lopez’s last three wins have ended in the first round. In his eleven career victories, he’s only gone to a decision once. This is a huge opportunity for the Cambate Americas champion who is getting to fight on a main card in the UFC on the biggest network in sports for his debut. With the lack of a camp, the UFC has decided to make this fight a catchweight fight. Instead of meeting at 135 pounds, the two fighters have agreed to meet at 140 pounds.

Dangerous Switch

For Dvalishvili, the opponent change is pretty significant. In Borg, Dvalishvili had an opponent where I thought the path to victory was relatively clear. He just needed to land two takedowns to secure the victory. If he got Borg down, I wasn’t sure Borg was getting back up. Dvalishvili is going for his fourth consecutive win in the UFC in this fight.  Now he’s got to go up against a very hungry, Gustavo Lopez, who has really good submissions as well as real knockout power at 135 pounds. This is a much more dangerous fight for Dvalishvili if you ask me. If you’re not familiar with Lopez, you can check out his last fight against Joey Ruquet below. Lopez knocked Ruquet out cold in the first round.