UFC on ESPN returns to the Apex Centre yet again before it moves to fight island and it is headlined by a Women’s Flyweight clash between Jessica Eye and Cynthia Calvillo. Although the betting propositions look limited, there are still some interesting clashes such as Karl Roberson vs Marvin Vettori, Merab Dvalishvili vs Ray Borg and Andre Fili vs Charles Jourdain that are intriguing encounters. As I have struggled to find value or put faith in fighters on the main card I have turned to the undercard for my selections below.
While both these women are top fighters the fact this is the UFC main event is hard to get excited about. Neither have a massive following and Calvillo has made a scene after defeats in her UFC career that doesn’t particularly warm your heart. While Eye with a win over Calvillo is unlikely to get another title shot, a Calvillo victory could see her as the next challenger for Shevchenko. This is Calvillo’s first fight moving up to Flyweight after having numerous issues making weight. Eye has a striking advantage but the key to this fight is whether Calvillo can get Eye to the ground. If she does, she has some world class jiu jitsu and top control that will cause Eye some serious problems. Eye’s weakness on the mat has been exploited previously and this bodes well for Calvillo. However, Carla Esparza picked apart Calvillo on the feet when they met, and she is predominately a wrestler. It is a typical striker vs grappler match up and it really is a coin flip fight and one I don’t see as a betting proposition. I would lean towards Calvillo, but I can’t put my faith in her to get this to the ground when she didn’t successfully takedown Courtney Casey in any of her six attempts in her last fight and she goes up against a bigger woman here. I’m leaving this well and truly alone.
TIP: No Bet
Karol Rosa’s pull out has left Avila with a new opponent in Gina Mazany. Mazany lost 3 of her 4 UFC fights before stopping Valerie Barney in King of The Cage to earn herself a return to the UFC. Mazany is tough but what a terrible second chance UFC opportunity she has in the form of a fight against Avila. Julia Avila has only the one loss on her record where she suffered a terrible finger compound fracture that stopped the fight. Since then she has won her next three, finishing two of the three fights inside the first two rounds. In her UFC debut she buckled Pannie Kianzad twice before securing a unanimous decision victory and Kianzad has since won against Jessica-Rose Clark. This is a terrible mismatch, as Avila could in a few years be up near the top of the women’s Bantamweight division and the same can’t be said for Mazany. Avila has a natural power and strength advantage to keep this standing and unless Mazany can get this to the mat every round she is going to get dropped and finished. It really looks a matter of when not if Avila gets the finish.
Zarrukh Adashev steps in as a very late replacement for Ryan Benoit against Tyson Nam who tries to halt his two-fight skid. Nam came into the UFC on a two-fight win streak before failing to Sergio Pattis and Kai Kara-France. Neither of those losses are awful and his loss before that was to Zhalgas Zhumagulov in Fight Nights Global and he is set to debut at UFC 251 and is one I am excited to follow as I have a big opinion of him. Nam really should be winning this as Adashev only has the four professional fights and lacks any form of a ground game. Adashev’s only route to victory is to KO Nam early and since Nam has only been knocked out twice in his career, once in 2006 and once in 2013 to one Marlon Moraes, that outcome looks unlikely. This is Nam’s chance to prove he belongs in the UFC and he will do that here.
Christian Aguilera has won his last two and comes into this fight off a unanimous decision victory over Glaucio Eliziario at LFA 81 in January. He gives up a five-inch reach advantage to his opponent Ivy, who holds a substantial wrestling edge over Aguilera. Ivy was a tentative replacement to face Gerald Meerschaert at UFC 250 before Heinisch was cleared to fight and faces a more favourable match up here in his UFC debut. This is likely to go one of two ways; most likely Ivy outwrestles Aguilera landing bombs from top control before the ref steps in to stop it or Aguilera’s natural power catches a sloppy Ivy takedown attempt putting him out. Either way the fight looks to not go the distance and end by knock out.
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