Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight contenders Jessica-Rose Clark and Jessica Eye squared off last night (June 23, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 132 from inside Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore.
We’re just a couple dozen or so women’s Flyweight fights deep into the UFC’s newest division, which means just about anyone with a recent victory is a potential title contender. Since Clark hand was raised twice already, that makes her extra special, earning her an opportunity to really cement herself as a contender last night.
Unlike much of the new division, Eye is not a recent addition to the roster. The boxer picked up a couple decent wins at Bantamweight but mostly was out-worked by larger fighters. The Flyweight division became an option just as Eye desperately needed an alternative, and now she’s very much in the mix.
After an exchange of jabs opened the bout, the athletes settled into their rhythm. Clark slipped her head back-and-forth, looking to advance at an angle and land an overhand across the jab. Eye, meanwhile, stayed behind her jab, and she successfully timed Clark with a counter cross well early.
The second half of the round was very much a case of volume vs. accuracy. Clark surged forward with good combinations and tried to find a home for the left hook, but she missed more often than she landed. On the other hand, Eye was far more selective with her volume and landed a bit more consistently.
Eye seemed to edge a competitive round.
Clark seemed to find her timing a bit more in the second, landing a clean overhand and finding more success with her body-head combinations. Eye took notice and caught a body kick, but she was unable to maintain the takedown for more than a few seconds. When that failed, Eye adjusted to increase her activity. This time though, Clark continued to land the better shots, catching Eye standing to tall with looping shots. Furthermore, Clark did a nice job of stepping forward when Eye tried to kick, creating good counter opportunities.
A big flurry at the bell seemed to ice the round for Clark, and each woman needed a strong third round to win the bout.
Both women seemed to know it too, as they traded heavy shots to open the round. In particular, Eye put her foot to the gas early, stalking the Aussie for the first time in the fight. Before long, however, the fight reverted to its previous tempo and trends.
With about two minutes remaining, Eye landed a nice trip takedown into half guard. If we’re being honest, Eye did very little with her top position, but she held on and passed to side control, finishing the fight in top position.
It was enough to secure the decision.
For what seems like the first time in a very long while, Eye fought smart and used all her skills. Historically, she tends to under perform and coast in fights that are very close. In this bout, when things were getting tough, Eye made a conscious decision to increase her volume and look for the takedown.
On a similar note, Eye did a great job of answering her opponent’s combinations. Many times, Clark would land a heavy shot or clean punch, only to be forced to run away from a flurry. Even when Clark exited at an angle, Eye would chase after her and end with a kick, which did a lot to even up the numbers and make the judges ignore the shot Clark had just landed.
Next up for Eye should be a top five fight, such as a showdown with Sijara Eubanks.
On the other hand, Clark needed a big moment and never seemed to get one. She was a bit slower to find her range and did well in the second once she figured that out, but on the whole Eye seemed to have a bit more pop in her punches. That can easily be the decider in a close fight, and giving up the late takedown sealed the deal against the Aussie.
Clark was at her best when switching stances and hiding kicks behind her punches, something I’d like to have seen more of. A takedown attempt or two also may have helped, but really it was a close fight until the final two minutes of top control, so it’s hard to be too critical.
Last night, Jessica Eye extended her win streak to two in Singapore. Is Eye a contender at 125 lbs.?
For complete UFC Fight Night 132 “Cerrone Vs. Edwards” results and play-by-play, click HERE!