After the Ultimate Fighting Championship knocked all expectations out of the park last week at UFC 250, they follow it up this Saturday with UFC Fight Night: Eye vs Calvillo on ESPN and ESPN+.
This is the second week in a row that the UFC features a Women’s MMA fight as the main event, which speaks volumes for the sport’s progression considering the UFC did not have a single female on the roster until Ronda Rousey signed in November 2012.
This is a card fit for purists that does not carry a lot of star power, but there are some great matchups to look forward to this weekend. This preview serves as a great analytical resource before you hit your sportsbook to put that hard earned money down on your betting slips.
A couple of things to note here:
- Most of these matchups have been booked on short notice
- There are at least multiple fighters who have fought on a previous COVID card
- Four fighters are making their UFC debut
- One fighter was re-signed after a win on the regional scene after being cut in 2019
- Three fighters missed weight
- One bout was cancelled altogether after a fighter fell ill after cutting weight
Let’s take a look at each matchup.
Eye vs Calvillo
#1 Jessica Eye welcomes Cynthia Calvillo to the women’s flyweight division — sort of. Eye missed weight for the second time in a row by coming in at a quarter of a pound above the 126 lb. weight limit. Calvillo was a top 10 strawweight, however, her troubles at the scale makes 125 lbs. a healthier situation overall. Eye is a Cleveland tough former title contender, but Calvillo presents some real issues in this matchup.
Calvillo is a finisher with an impressive list of names on her resume who has only lost once in her career to former champ Carla Esparza. Calvillo has wins over Jojo Calderwood, Montana De La Rosa, Cortney Casey, Gillian Robertson, and more.
Eye has gone 5-6-1 in the UFC. She had back-to-back wins against #2 Katlyn Chookagian and Jessica Rose Clark, which earned her a title shot against champion Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko. Eye famously wore a “Bulletproof” outfit to a media opportunity right before the fight, only to be headkick KO’d in the second round. She rebounded with a decision win against #7 Viviane Araujo last December.
As of this writing, the line on this matchup is even money at -110/-110, which is pretty telling about the matchup on paper. The major question here is how the power of Calvillo will translate in a higher weight class.
Vettori vs Roberson
This is the third time this matchup has been booked. The first was a part of a cancelled card, the second was after Roberson fell ill and was unable to compete after weigh-ins. Vettori notoriously lashed out at Roberson in the hotel lobby following the cancellation in Jacksonville last month. Roberson was overweight by 4.5 lbs, which is flat out disrespectful to the sport, the fans, and most importantly his opponent.
Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori is the best fighter in the middleweight division that does not have a number by his name. He battled current champion Israel Adesanya to a Split Decision, and has big wins over Cezar Ferreira and Andrew Sanchez.
Let’s do some good ol’ MMA math and you can make of it what you will. In the common opponent, Ferreira, Vettori got the win, whereas Roberson got finished with a triangle in the first round.
The question here is, will the emotionally volatile Vettori be able to contain his anger and aggression? There is a risk level with this matchup that Vettori can come out hot and fade quickly after a furious flurry in the first. Sitting as a -225 favorite, Vettori likely nabs the decision and keeps the train moving toward becoming ranked.
Dvalishvili vs Lopez
Gustavo Lopez answered the call in the eleventh hour to replace Ray Borg who had a “family emergency” and withdrew from the card. For his UFC debut, he will be fighting Merab Dvalishvili. Merab comes from the Serra BJJ camp with #2 Aljamain Sterling as one of his main training partners.
Merab is the heavy favorite in this contest, sitting at -400. Expect Merab to come out and act like a wet blanket on the rookie and do not be shocked if this ends by submission.
Fili vs Jourdain
I love this matchup. Andre Fili is fun to watch and he is the toughest test to date for the 24-year-old Canadian phenom Charles Jourdain. Jourdain at 10-2 has a 100 percent finishing rate with seven KO/TKOs and three submissions.
Fili is a savvy veteran with a well-rounded skill set who is hard to put away on his feet, as only Yair Rodriguez has finished him with strikes. I like Fili in this matchup largely because of his experience and strength of schedule with his record. Fili has fought the likes of Max Holloway, Dennis Bermudez, Soddiq Yusuff, Calvin Kattar, and more in his 7 years with the UFC.
Expect Fili to try to drag Jourdain into deep water. Jourdain’s two losses are both by decision, which lends itself to this approach here. History tells us that if Jourdain does not put his opponent away, his chances of getting his hand raised are not good. Fili’s grappling should stifle Jourdain’s striking in this featherweight bout.
De La Rosa vs Espinoza
The good news here is, someone will end their losing streak. In the last five combined fights, Mark De La Rosa and Jordan Espinoza are 0-5 and have lost the last three by finish.
De La Rosa has six submission wins and is a dog at +132 against Espinoza who has been submitted in his last two fights. Although the UFC has said they are not cutting fighters who step up during the pandemic, De La Rosa is certainly on the hot seat. In general, anyone with three losses in a row is typically in danger of being cut. Perhaps, this adds some fuel to De La Rosa’s fire to turn the corner on this skid. Prior to his losing streak, his only career loss was to #12 Tim Elliott.
Putting $10 on De La Rosa’s moneyline will get you nearly $25 on the return.
Cifers vs Agapova
For the second time in two weeks, Hannah Cifers is back at it after losing to Mackenzie Dern by first round kneebar on May 30. She is scheduled to fight UFC debutant Mariya Agapova.
Cifers has had a tough go in the UFC, going 2-3 while getting finished by the likes of Maycee Barber, Angela Hill, and Dern, which is a likely factor in explaining the 8-1 Kazakhstani rookie being the -265 favorite.
Not only does Agapova have a strong chance at winning in her debut, she has a good chance at picking up a finish as well. Agapova has three KO/TKOs and three submissions in her career.
Rosa vs Aguilar
“Boston Strong” Charles Rosa gets a chance at redemption after getting dominated by Bryce Mitchell last month against Kevin Aguilar. Aguilar is attempting to bounce back from two straight losses against quality opponents in Dan Ige and Zubaira Tukhugov.
This one can go either way. Rosa is a blackbelt who was outclassed on the ground in his last outing, so he may be inspired to showcase his skills.
Avila vs Mazany
Julia Avila is the biggest favorite on the entire card at -500 at the time of this writing, but Mazany does bring solid experience to the octagon. Avila is a solid striker with a brown belt in BJJ, who has wins over UFC vets Nicco Montano and Marion Reneau on the regional scene.
Mazany is making her return to the UFC after being cut in 2019 after going 1-3 during her first run. If you’re feeling froggy, $5 right now on Mazany’s moneyline gets you a $22.50 return.
Avila may not make you a lot of money, but taking action on her moneyline is potentially a secure 20 percent return.
Nam vs Adashev
The line just came out on the Tyson Nam versus Zarrukh Adashev at -125/+102 favoring Nam. Adashev is also guilty of missing weight by 2.5 lbs, but in all fairness, took the fight on just a couple of days notice. Ryan Benoit just withdrew from the card for undisclosed reasons, and in steps the Uzbek kickboxing specialist Adashev. Adashev has just four professional MMA fights following his 19 fight kickboxing career. The line suggests this matchup is much closer than their records indicate.
Nam is a Hawaiian, and the Islanders love to bang. Adashev has double digit knockouts in his kickboxing career and two KO/TKOs in his MMA career. This lowkey may be one of the more entertaining fights on the whole show.
Two bangers in a lighting quick division? Take my money.
Ivy vs Aguilera
We have two debutants making the walk to open the show. In one corner, we have the king of the Fury Fighting Championship welterweight division, Anthony Ivy. In the opposite corner, Christian Aguilera is fresh off of an LFA win earlier this year.
Ivy comes in as a slight favorite, which is fair. He is on a five fight winning streak with five finishes, both on the feet and on the ground. Ivy is also the much taller and longer fighter in this matchup.
-Jordan Kurtz is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery and The MMA Plug and can be followed on Instagram at @CommentsFromThePeanutGallery and @TheMMAPlug303