Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight prospects Cynthia Calvillo and Pearl Gonzalez scrapped last night (April 8, 2017) at UFC 210 inside KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.
Man, these are some bizarre circumstances. Heading into this match, Calvillo made a name for herself with her short-notice success on last month’s pay-per-view (PPV), following it up by becoming the first person in years to appear to consecutive PPVs. That’s a significant accomplishment for a young career, but her opponent managed to inadvertently drum up some intrigue as well.
Two days ago, both women made weight without issue, but the fight was momentarily called off due to Gonzalez’s breast implants. Somehow, they escaped commission notice until weigh-in day. Luckily for everyone involved, someone, somewhere in the UFC pulled some strings and overruled the call, as the fight went down unimpeded last night.
Gonzalez opened the bout by walking her opponent down without throwing, keeping her guard high. It was an odd strategy, as she was able to block lots of punches, but a few also got through. Nothing too devastating landed, but Calvillo controlled most of the first four minutes simply by throwing more.
In the final minute, Gonzalez looked to change approaches by shooting for a takedown. She got in deep on the shot, but Calvillo maintained her balance and did damage. When Gonzalez finally did land the shot, it was directly into a triangle.
The bell saved her opponent, who was bloodied up.
Gonzalez actually threw punches to start the second round, which seemed a wise choice. Both women were landing, but Gonzalez was able to land a takedown directly into mount. A scramble ensued, but it was Calvillo who landed in top position.
Before long, Calvillo transitioned into back mount and the body triangle. Gonzalez defended the choke and scrambled well, but Calvillo transitioned between dominant positions and maintained top control.
Gonzalez needed to do something different in the final frame.
Gonzalez pressured hard to start the round, but both women were a bit fatigued. Gonzalez was landing some decent shots regardless, at least until Calvillo caught a low kick and converted it into a quick takedown.
On the mat, Calvillo quickly began hunting for an arm triangle choke, which allowed her to move into mount and then back mount. It took a couple attempts, but this time Calvillo managed to sink the arm under the neck and secure her second rear naked choke in about a month.
Calvillo has moved from an unknown to perhaps her division’s hottest prospect within mere weeks. Her two submission wins have been stellar, as she showed off great transitions and all-around grappling prior to pulling off the tap.
Additionally, Calvillo was able to display some stand up in this bout. In the first round, she spent much of her time poking for holes in her opponent’s defense. It wasn’t easy, but she found openings and cut her opponent, who’s an experienced boxer.
Next up for Calvillo should be a ranked opponent. For example, someone like Randa Markos would make a lot of sense and surely have some great scrambles.
Gonzalez proved her worth even in a loss. Calvillo is undoubtedly a tough customer and top prospect, but Gonzalez had her moments. She landed some good punches in the latter half of the bout, and at one point did threaten with an arm bar.
Really, Gonzalez’s issue came in scrambles, be it during takedowns or once on the mat. In scrambles, Calvillo came out on top each and every time, doing damage or gaining good position. That’s a difficult trait to deal with, and it ultimately cost Gonzalez the bout.
She’s still a fighter worth-watching moving forward.
Last night, Cynthia Calvillo secured another submission victory. Just how high can the Team Alpha Male prospect climb?
For complete UFC 210: “Cormier vs. Johnson” results and play-by-play, click HERE!