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UFC seeks to capitalize on women's flyweights

By Lou Finocchiaro  (Point Spread Weekly) 

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Jessica Eye

Last week’s UFC 250 dazzled viewers with flash knockouts, sensational submissions and only four decisions. Recognizable names facing career-defining opportunities filled the fight card, and the matchups entertained.  

This week’s slate at UFC APEX in Las Vegas is composed of more obscure fighters. They’re booked here to help the UFC exhaust the remaining fighters in the U.S. who wish to fight before the organization moves offshore to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in late June. There, the incredible backup of fighters from elsewhere in the world will get their opportunities.

Last week’s release of Aljamain Sterling moved “Insight the Octagon” profitability to: 16-5 + 11.9u for 2020.

Jessica Eye –110 vs. Cynthia Calvillo -110, women’s flyweight (125 pounds)

Women’s flyweights headlining a UFC card means the main event most likely will go a full five rounds.

Calvillo is ranked 10th in the strawweight division (115 pounds). She is tough, determined and unrelenting with her forward pressure, and she moves up to flyweight as she consistently struggles to make the 115-pound limit.

Calvillo’s assets are wrestling and her ability to call on her conditioning as an advantage similar to most mixed martial artists possessing a deep wrestling base. She’ll have to press Eye and force her backward into the cage, then to the floor. Floor position is mandatory if Calvillo has any hope of winning.

Eye is versed in Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling and BJJ. Her childhood was mighty, mighty tough, and she totes some nasty with her when she enters the cage.

This is Eye’s sixth fight at 125 pounds after competing at 135 for most of her career. Eye, who is dropping weight, is used to competing against larger, stronger women, while her opponent will be moving up from a smaller division and must navigate Eye’s size and strength.

Eye is 2 inches taller and will have 2 inches of arm-reach advantage and 1 inch in the legs. She has had 23 professional bouts to Calvillo’s 10.

In my judgment, Eye’s physicality, size and strength provide her an advantage in keeping this fight a striking affair. Coupled with her experience against larger, more competent opponents, I regard her as very dangerous in this fight provided she can thwart Calvillo’s attempts to manhandle her down to the floor for a flogging.

This fight opened a dead pick-’em and remains at that price.

Eye -110

Marvin Vettori -200 vs. Karl Roberson + 180, middleweight (185 pounds)

This will be a fascinating fight, as it is the third time these two have been scheduled to get it on. They were set to scrap May 9, but Roberson came in 1.5 pounds over the limit. He then had complications due to cutting weight, which led to the bout’s cancellation. The two bumped into each other in the hotel lobby later that day, and emotions got the best of Vettori, who showed his frustrations in a yelling episode caught on video.

Vettori is the more complete fighter with the more impressive resume, and he should be favored. But the anger and emotion he emitted that day forces me to consider the guy as potentially dangerous to wager on as temper, anger and high emotion do not always work in a fighter’s favor inside an octagon.

I’m yearning to regard Roberson as a live dog. If I can pick up any pent-up frustration, anxiety or verbal venom from Vettori in the days leading up to this fight, I’ll be tempted to consider Roberson. But the time is now to watch Vettori’s demeanor as well as his favorite’s price, as I expect that to continue to grow and present enhanced opportunity on Roberson as we near the opening bell.

This fight opened Vettori -150 vs. Roberson + 130 the first time it was scheduled, and I regard that pricing as more reflective of this matchup than current pricing.

Vettori’s meltdown was spurred not only by Roberson missing weight but by the numerous cancellations Vettori had experienced over the previous weeks. Remaining in fighting condition for so long is terribly demanding, and Vettori has been victimized by terrible luck enduring many postponements. I’ll be paying very close attention to how he manages himself this week. And if I were Roberson, I’d be poking at Vettori with a stick at every opportunity to try to incite him.

Monitoring

This year favorites in the UFC stand 93-53-3 for 62.4% after going 9-3 last week.

Last year favorites ran 62.3% after holding at better than 65% for several years.

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