UFC Fight Night Report: Cynthia Calvillo Defeats Jessica Eye
By: Eric Marcotte
The UFC returned to the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada this past Saturday night for their 10th card on ESPN. The event was headlined by a bout in the women’s flyweight division, between former title challenger, Jessica Eye, and 10th ranked strawweight, Cynthia Calvillo. Following a devastating knockout loss to champion Valentina Shevchenko last June, Eye rebounded with a decision win over Viviane Araújo in December. Unfortunately, her win was somewhat marred by a notable weight miss, which also became the story of this fight, after Eye missed weight by 0.25lbs on Friday morning. Calvillo also missed weight in her last fight, a majority draw against Marina Rodriguez, which very well may have prompted her to move to 125lbs. In the co-main event, Marvin Vettori faced Karl Roberson, a fight that had been previously scheduled twice. Roberson missed weight by 4.5lbs.
The two-man commentary booth returned for this card, with the team of Brendan Fitzgerald and Paul Felder. Performance bonuses were awarded to Christian Aguilera, Tyson Nam, Mariya Agapova, and Marvin Vettori. There was no Fight of the Night bonus awarded.
*Christian Aguilera def. Anthony Ivy by TKO at 0:59 of Round 1
*Tyson Nam def. Zarrukh Adashev by KO at 0:32 of Round 1
*Julia Avila def. Gina Mazany by TKO at 0:22 of Round 1
*Merab Dvalishvili def. Gustavo Lopez by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
*Mariya Agapova def. Hannah Cifers by rear-naked choke at 2:42 of Round 1
*Jordan Espinosa def. Mark De La Rosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
*Mariya Agapova def. Hannah Cifers by rear-naked choke at 2:42 of Round 1
*Andre Fili def. Charles Jourdain by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Charles Rosa def. Kevin Aguilar by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Marvin Vettori def. Karl Roberson by rear-naked choke at 4:02 of Round 1
*Cynthia Calvillo def. Jessica Eye by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
CHRISTIAN AGUILERA (13-6, 170.5) VS ANTHONY IVY (8-2, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Less then a minute into the first round, Aguilera landed an overhand right hook that caused Ivy to stumble backward, and he just swarmed Ivy with strikes, throwing down bombs until referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight.
WINNER: Christian Aguilera by TKO at 0:59 of Round 1
Aguilera caught Ivy right on the side of the temple, and it was clear Ivy was hurt badly. Aguilera didn’t let up and picked up a great finish in his UFC debut. He has 11 pro wins by knockout, and it appears as though he has some legitimate power.
TYSON NAM (18-11-1, 135.5) VS ZARRUKH ADASHEV (3-1, 138.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Zarrukh Adashev missed weight by 2.5lbs. He took this fight on short notice after Nam’s original opponent, Ryan Benoit, pulled out earlier this week.
Roughly thirty seconds into the opening round, Adashev threw an inside leg kick, and Nam responded with a huge counter right hand that just floored Adashev, and this fight was over.
WINNER: Tyson Nam by KO at 0:32 of Round 1
This was a brutal knockout, right on par with some of the bantamweight knockouts from last weekend’s card. Tyson Nam was emotional after the finish, as this was his first win in the UFC after losing his first two by decision.
JULIA AVILA (7-1, 135) VS GINA MAZANY (6-3, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Mazany opened up with a pair of left hands, and then Avilla landed a knee up the middle and just started marching forward throwing wild strikes. She backed Mazany into the fence, and she kept unloading until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Julia Avila by TKO at 0:22 of Round 1
“Didn’t anybody tell them; we have time to fill tonight?” – Paul Felder.
Three fights in and not a single one made it past the sixty-second mark. I have to imagine that’s a record of some sort. Avilla is starting to pick up momentum, and with her only professional loss coming from a finger injury in the first minute of a 2018 Invicta fight, she is somebody to look out for at 135lbs.
MERAB DVALISHVILI (10-4, 139) VS GUSTAVO LOPEZ (11-4, 140) – CATCHWEIGHT
Dvalishvili took Lopez down early, but Lopez popped right back up and defended a second attempt. Both men landed some good combinations, as well as multiple strong kicks to the leg. Dvalishvili changed levels and took Lopez down once more. To his credit, Lopez was doing a great job of making his way back to his feet every time he was taken down in the first. Dvalishvili secured four takedowns throughout the first and was landing some huge ground and pound strikes at the end of the round. I scored the round 10-9 in his favor.
Dvalishvili landed a right hook that backed Lopez up to begin the second. He later threw a beautiful looping overhand right and took Lopez down after it connected. Dvalishvili moved into side control and just began to squeeze Lopez’s head as hard as he could. When it became apparent that he wouldn’t get the finish, he let Lopez up, and then took him right back down. I lost count of how many takedowns Dvalishvili completed throughout this round, but no question was up on the scorecards going into the final round.
Dvalishvili secured yet another takedown about a minute into the third, his tenth of the fight. His eleventh came about a minute later, and his twelfth came a minute after that. He took Lopez’s back, but when he attempted a submission Lopez scrambled back to the feet. All that meant is that Dvalishvili had an opportunity to take him down one more time, as he set a new personal record, with thirteen takedowns throughout the fight.
WINNER: Merab Dvalishvili by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Merab Dvalishvili has looked very impressive in his UFC career thus far, and this was another fantastic performance. He has improved leaps and bounds from his first fight in the promotion, which is apparent in his striking. He called out Sean O’Malley in his post-fight interview.
MARIYA AGAPOVA (8-1, 125.5) VS HANNAH CIFERS (10-5, 125) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Agapova was landing at a high rate early, and it was apparent that her size and boxing ability were giving Cifers problems. Cifers was getting tagged a lot in the opening minute and attempted to bring the fight to the cage to negate the reach advantage. Agapova separated and dropped Cifers with a left head kick. Cifers somehow managed to recover, but Agapova jumped on her back, seized the body lock, and proceeded to lock in the rear-naked choke, forcing Cifers to tap out.
WINNER: Mariya Agapova by rear-naked choke at 2:42 of Round 1
This fight was a three-minute beatdown. Agapova fought at a crazy pace for the short duration of this fight and overwhelmed Cifers with her striking, before picking up the submission finish. She called out Shana Dobson in her post-fight interview. She is now on a three-fight win streak, picking up a first-round finish in each of those wins.
JORDAN ESPINOSA (14-7-1, 135.5) VS MARK DE LA ROSA (11-4, 136) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Both fighters were fighting behind their jab early. Espinosa was looking sharp early, so De La Rosa changed things up by bringing the fight to the fence. They battled in the clinch as De La Rosa pursued the single leg. Espinosa defended the takedown and kept busy with elbows. De La Rosa spent a solid two minutes just eating these elbows, and Espinosa’s strike count by the end of the round was insane. This was an Espinosa round.
Espinosa continued to have an edge in the striking in the second round. De La Rosa went after the single-leg once again and continued to eat shots in that position. De La Rosa had a couple of moments of success when he went to the body and threw in the combination, but he wasn’t able to get enough off to win the round.
De La Rosa came out with a bit more fire in the third, and Espinosa took him down. Espinosa was landing some big ground and pound strikes and transitioned to a D’Arce attempt which De La Rosa escaped from. This was De La Rosa’s best round, but he was still walking into counters from Espinosa, and I ultimately scored the fight 30-26 for Espinosa.
WINNER: Jordan Espinosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
While De La Rosa had his moments, this was a pretty dominant win for Jordan Espinosa. After getting submitted in his last two fights, this was a great rebound performance for him. Espinosa called out Tyson Nam in his post-fight interview.
As for Mark De La Rosa, he is now in a very rough position, with four straight losses. One has to wonder if his next fight will be in the UFC.
ANDRE FILI (20-7, 145.5) VS CHARLES JOURDAIN (10-2, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
These guys were going for the kill early. Jourdain was swinging for the fences, and Fili’s counter striking was on point, as were his high kicks. Jourdain missed on a kick and Fili taunted. Felder speculated that there could be something wrong with Fili’s right arm after eating some kicks from Jourdain. Jourdain dropped Fili hard with a left hook, but did not engage Fili on the ground and allowed him to return to the feet. Fili landed a solid combination of strikes and a big slam to end the round. 10-9 Jourdain.
Fili was ending a lot of his combinations with kicks and was having a ton of success landing those. Jourdain connected with several kicks to the body. A spinning back fist landed for Jourdain. This was a very close round, but I felt that Fili was taking control of the striking exchanges, and was being the aggressor throughout the round. Fili secured a takedown with thirty seconds remaining, and I had it 19-19 going into the final round.
They swapped leg kicks to begin the third. Fili continued to look sharp here, but Jourdain would throw some big strikes to keep things competitive. Fili brought Jourdain to the ground once more and showed off his edge in the grappling department. They returned to their feet and traded for the next minute, but once again, Fili ended the round with a takedown. I scored the fight 29-28 for Andre Fili.
WINNER: Andre Fili by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Andre Fili looked very impressive here, and that has been a trend for him as of late. I was looking forward to this fight, and it lived up to my expectations. Despite the loss, I think Jourdain is somebody to look out for among the prospects at 145lbs. In his post-fight interview, Fili expressed his desire for a bigger name opponent, as well as his confusion at the split decision.
CHARLES ROSA (12-4, 155) VS KEVIN AGUILAR (17-3, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
The first round was a bit slow. Rosa had some notable success with leg kicks, and Aguilar worked his jab throughout the round. Felder stated that a shot from Aguilar opened a cut beneath the right eye of Rosa. At one point Rosa attempted a takedown, and Aguilar just threw a ton of hammerfists to shake him off. 10-9 Aguilar.
The second round more or less mirrored the first. When Aguilar let loose, he was typically successful, but those moments were few and far between. Rosa landed a pair of head kicks throughout the round that Aguilar no-sold. Neither fighter had that much success for the majority of the round, but Rosa was landing some big shots throughout the final 10-20 seconds that looked like they were hurting Aguilar. I had it 19-19 going into the final round.
Rosa was bleeding from that cut by this point in the fight. Both fighters were a bit more aggressive this round, but neither was pulling ahead. Rosa was starting to find a home for his straight left as Aguilar moved in. Aguilar was a bit more active this round, but I thought Rosa landed the bigger strikes, and I gave him the round.
WINNER: Charles Rosa by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
This wasn’t a great fight, and I did not think either fighter gave a great performance here. I agreed with the decision, but it really could of went either way. Regardless, this was a good performance for Charles Rosa after a rough loss to Bryce Mitchell a few weeks ago. He’s now been on a “win one, lose one” streak since 2014. For Aguilar, this marked his third straight loss, after starting his career 17-1.
KARL ROBERSON (9-2, 190.5) VS MARVIN VETTORI (14-4-1, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Karl Roberson missed weight by 4.5lbs.
There was some bad blood in this one after their last fight fell apart. Vettori landed a strong 1-2 and Roberson responded with a head kick not long after. Vettori went for the takedown, and Roberson almost got his back, but Vettori ultimately ended up on top against the cage. Vettori attempted a standing guillotine, and Roberson jumped off the cage to scramble out of it, but Vettori regained top control and started throwing down strikes, which forced Roberson to give up his back. Vettori sunk in the rear-naked choke, and Roberson tapped out.
WINNER: Marvin Vettori by rear-naked choke at 4:02 of Round 1
Roberson had some good scrambles, but it was clear Vettori had the edge in the grappling department. Vettori swore so much in his post-fight interview, most of it was censored. He expressed his desire for a ranked opponent, a post-fight bonus, and an Isreal Adesanya rematch in his post-fight interview.
JESSICA EYE (15-7, 1 NC, 126.25) VS CYNTHIA CALVILLO (8-1-1, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Jessica Eye missed weight by 0.25lbs. This was her second time missing weight at flyweight.
Slow start to the round. Calvillo landed a pair of head kicks, but they didn’t seem to phase Eye. Both fighters were throwing out quick combinations, but there wasn’t much behind them. Felder noted that Eye was looking considerably bigger than Calvillo. I scored the round 10-9 for Calvillo.
Both women found some success trading on the feet early in the second round. Calvillo eventually took Eye down and jumped on her back as Eye tried to get up. Eye did a good job of defending the choke, but they spent the rest of the round in this position, and this one was a much clearer round for Calvillo.
Again, the action was pretty even on the feet. Both fighters had a fine output, but there was no real power or consistent pressure from either of them that was a difference-maker. Calvillo changed levels when Eye loaded up for a big strike and took her down. She wasn’t able to do anything, but she controlled the final minute of the round. 30-27 Calvillo I guess.
Calvillo completed a takedown to begin the fourth round, this time having more or less the entire round to work. Calvillo was unable to advance, and Eye eventually made it back to her feet with two minutes remaining. Eye began to walk her down but wasn’t throwing anything. They exchanged some quick strikes in the pocket near the end of the round. I had it 40-36 for Calvillo going into the final round, and I thought Calvillo’s output and control time in this round probably won it for her.
Calvillo landed a decent right hand at the end of an exchange in the pocket. Eye was not fighting with the urgency of a fighter who could potentially be down significantly on the scorecards. She connected with a pair of right hands, and Calvillo promptly took her down once again. I scored the fight 50-45 for Cynthia Calvillo.
WINNER: Cynthia Calvillo by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
I didn’t think this was a great fight. Going into this event, I think most fans predicted that the fight would go more or less as this one did, so I guess I can’t say it was disappointing. Neither fighter pulled ahead on the feet, but Calvillo’s takedowns and top control were the difference-maker in this one. So, with this win, Calvillo has defeated the number one ranked contender at flyweight, which will put her in a very high position when the rankings are next updated. She isn’t ready for Valentina Shevchenko, but who at 125lbs is? Nonetheless, I believe the UFC will go with the originally scheduled Shevchenko/Calderwood, which could feasibly leave Calvillo with Katlyn Chookagian (who called Calvillo out on twitter).