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UFC 255 card: Katlyn Chookagian vs Cynthia Calvillo full fight preview

UFC Fight Night: Eye v Calvillo Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Flyweight contenders Katlyn Chookagian and Cynthia Calvillo will duel this weekend (Sat., Nov. 21, 2020) at UFC 255 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chookagian is one of the most established top talents at 125 pounds. There may not be an abundance of top fighters in that division, but she’s fought most of them, only coming up short recently to current or former champions. Still, she’s lost two of her last three, so this bout will serve as an opportunity to jump back into the title mix. Meanwhile, Calvillo recognized the opportunities available at Flyweight, abandoning the Strawweight division to immediately take out the top-ranked contender in Jessica Eye in a main event slot. As a result, Calvillo is now closing in on a title shot in just her second 125-pound fight.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each woman:

Katlyn Chookagian

Record: 14-4
Key Wins: Joanne Calderwood (UFC 238), Jennifer Maia (UFC 244), Alexis Davis (UFC on FOX 30), Mara Romero Borella (UFC on FOX 27)
Key Losses: Valentina Shevchenko (UFC 247), Jessica Andrade Jessica Eye (UFC 231), Liz Carmouche (UFC 205)
Keys to Victory: Chookagian is a crafty striker from range, and she’s really improved in the last couple years at sitting on strikes to land with more power. In addition, she’s grown more active with her takedowns, making her a more well-rounded threat.

Against Calvillo, Chookagian clearly wants this fight to take place on the feet. Calvillo isn’t the type to pressure and try to force a takedown. Instead, she is deceptively evasive at range then looks to time her opponents’ reaching punches with the level change and shot.

Fortunately, Chookagian does have the tools to disrupt that strategy. Namely, Chookagian has a pretty long jab, and she’s proven willing in the past to throw it to the mid-section. Combined with some smart lateral movement, the body jab will go a very long way in denying the takedown.

Otherwise, Chookagian must be careful with her low kicks. Calvillo has repeatedly scored takedowns off caught kicks, and she’s really good at trapping opponents on the bottom for long periods of time. “Blonde Fighter” would be well-advised to stick to calf kicks or snappy front kicks — this is not the bout to throw a naked low or body kick.

Cynthia Calvillo

Record: 9-1-1
Key Wins: Jessica Eye (UFC on ESPN 10), Joanne Calderwood (UFC Fight Night 113), Cortney Casey (UFC on ESPN 1), Poliana Botelho (UFC Fight Night 140), Montana Stewart (LFA 1)
Key Losses: Carla Esparza (UFC 219)
Keys to Victory: Calvillo is an expert grappler, fantastic in scrambles and ultra dangerous from top position. She showed improved kickboxing in her last match, largely picking apart the supposedly sharper boxer in Eye for the majority of five rounds.

Against Chookagian, the takedown is definitely key. Opposite a disciplined and patient range kickboxer, Calvillo may have to be a bit more proactive with her takedown attempts. She cannot hang back and wait to catch a kick, as Chookagian fights with a smart team behind her and tends to follow the game plan well.

A reactive shot or caught kick would be great, but Calvillo cannot just hope the takedown falls into her lap. She has to set up the shot behind her punches and be willing to grind along the cage for her takedown, otherwise there’s a real chance the perfect opportunity doesn’t happen.

The more chances Calvillo gives herself to take top position, the better her odds at victory.

Bottom Line

This may be a title eliminator.

For the first time in the division’s short history, there are multiple relevant contenders! At the moment, Jessica Andrade is the apparent frontrunner for the next title shot, given her brutal body shot finish over Chookagian. Lauren Murphy is also on a solid win streak and was supposed to fight Calvillo just a few weeks ago, but the fight fell apart and failed to re-materialize.

The most likely result here is that the victor faces off with Murphy for the title shot after Andrade. Of course, there’s always a chance the victor here can leapfrog “Bate Estaca,” though it seems unlikely. There’s also the slim chance Valenta Shevchenko were to lose at some point, in which case the likely instant rematch throws everything into disorder.

Ultimately, the division will sort itself out, but the winner of this bout is in a strong position.

Defeat looks different for the two women. For Chookagian, consecutive losses effectively pushes her out of the immediate title mix. Calvillo is a newer face at 125 pounds, so she can afford a single loss without losing too much relevancy.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 255 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 255: “Figueiredo vs. Perez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC 255, Katyln Chookagian and Cynthia Calvillo will throw down. Which woman will have her hand raised?

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