Business continues to roll on for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as UFC on ESPN 10 is set to go down later tonight (Sat., June 13, 2020) inside the promotion’s UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a women’s Flyweight showdown between Jessica Eye and Cynthia Calvillo. In the co-main event, Karl Roberson takes on Marvin Vettori in a tension-filled Middleweight bout.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has given its female stars time to shine as headliners for two straight weeks now, as Amanda Nunes defended her Featherweight title against Felicia Spencer last week at UFC 249 (recap here). This week, Cynthia Calvillo and Jessica Eye will get their opportunity on ESPN. And if you don’t like it, well then “f*ck yall!” Cynthia’s words, not mine. Calvillo (8-1-1) started her mixed martial arts (MMA) career going 6-0 (3-0 UFC). After choking out Amanda Cooper and Pearl Gonzalez with back-to-back submissions, UFC president Dana White sang her praises during a post-fight presser, going as far as to compare her to Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. And when the boss is on your side, big things can happen. After defeating Joanne Calderwood, however, Calvillo ran into former division champion Carla Esparza at UFC 219. The wrestling standout then proceeded to dominate Cynthia for 15 minutes to hand her the first loss of her career, dashing her momentum. After the fight, it was revealed that Calvillo had failed a drug test, prompting United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) and the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to issue her a nine-month suspension. Another tough blow to her future aspirations. She bounced back nicely with two straight wins, but then fought to a majority-draw in her last outing against Marina Rodriguez. As it stands, Cynthia finds herself on the outside of the Top 15 looking in. A win over Eye — the No. 1 ranked fighter in the division — would change all of that.
After hitting a rough patch of four straight losses from 2015 to 2016, Eye really turned it around by going 4-1 in her last five bouts. During that span, she earned herself a title shot against current 125-pound champion, Valentina Shevchenko, at UFC 238. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out too well for “Evil,” as she was knocked out by one of “Bullet’s” vicious head kicks (see it here). Jessica bounced back nicely by taking out Viviane Araujo, but the loss to Shevchenko still haunts her, as she vowed to climb her way back to a rematch. A win over Calvillo would definitely help her cause, as there aren’t too many contenders behind her with long win streaks to make a case for a title shot. A loss, however, could force her to ponder a change in divisions. And seeing how she missed weight for the second time, that may not be a bad idea.
Let’s face it, it is not the most stacked card UFC has put together, but the COVID-19 pandemic has really put a damper in the promotion’s plans to “stack” every event moving forward in 2020 after a brief halt in production. This doesn’t help, either. The promotion is doing the best it can with the fighters it has at its disposal, especially since international stars are still stranded. But no fret, “Fight Island” is coming to the rescue. And while the first event on July 11 is stacked to the gills, it remains to be seen what the promotion has in store for the three events that follow.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
The event was originally set to take place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan with an entirely different cast of characters. Melissa Gatto was set to face Mariya Agapova, but visa issues forced Gatto out of commission, allowing Hanna Cifers to step in. Ryan Benoit was forced out of his fight against Tyson Nam for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Zarrukh Adashev.
And earlier this week (Thurs., June 11), Ray Borg was forced out of his fight against Merab Dvalishvili for personal family reasons. In his place, Gustavo Lopez, who was the former Combat Americas champion, was allowed to be relieved of his contract to step in and fill the void.
Despite all of the changes in the lineup, no actual injuries were reported for this event. However, Darrick Manner was forced out of his fight against Jordan Griffin after getting sick prior to weigh-ins.
23-year old Mariya Agapova will bring her talents to the Octagon as she makes her UFC debut in the Flyweight division against Hannah Cifers, who is fresh off a loss to Mackenzie Dern just a couple of weeks ago (video here). After failing to win her “Contender Series” fight against Tracy Cortez, Mariya went on to Invicta FC where she won two straight before getting the call up to the big show. Also, Christian Aguilera will look for his third straight win as he takes on fellow newcomer, Anthony Ivy. Having fought for Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) for the last few years, Christian has a wealth of experience under his belt with 11 amateur MMA bouts and 19 pro fights. Ivy, meanwhile, is just 10 fights deep into his combat career, but has proven to be promising. Winner of five in a row, Ivy has won all eight of his bouts via stoppage, so the man knows how to get the job done.
Also, former GLORY kickboxer, Zarrukh Adashev, will bring his talents to the Octagon after just four pro fights in MMA. At 4-1, Adashev went 3-0 under the Bellator MMA banner. The striking department is obviously his bread and butter, so it will be interesting to see how he does if the fights goes to the ground since there isn’t a whole lot of tape on him at the moment. Adashev didn't start his UFC career on the right foot after failing to make weight. In Tyson Nam, he will be facing a highly-experienced and hungry fighter, as he has lost two straight and eager for a win.
For a more detailed look at all of the new blood, click here.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
There really isn’t anything to write home about, as the underbelly is lacking a bit. That said, for a fight night event I have no issues with it being filled with “new blood” and up-and-coming talent who are simply scratching and crawling to make some moves up the competitive ladder. We've already discussed Christian Aguilera vs Anthony Ivy, as well as Zarrukh Adashev and Tyson Nam, so let us dissect the rest of the undercard.
Charles Rosa will look to get back on the winner’s podium after losing to Bryce Mitchell at UFC 249 a few weeks ago. Perhaps the quick turnaround will allow him to come in motivated against Kevin Aguilar, who has lost two in a row after winning his first 17 of 18 bouts.
Also, former Combat Americas Bantamweight champion, Gustavo Lopez, got the opportunity to fulfill his UFC dream after Ray Borg dropped out of his fight against Merab Dvalishvili. It’s a tough draw for a UFC debut, as Merab has won three straight. That said, Lopez is more than up for the task, as he has also won three in a row and has championship experience.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Mark de la Rosa is hanging on to his UFC roster spot by a thread after losing three in a row. That’s a far cry from his red hot start of 10-1. His opponent, Jordan Espinoza, meanwhile, hasn’t been that much better, dropping back-to-back fights to Matt Schnell and Alex Perez. Expect both men to come out motivated to pick up the “W” because another loss for either of them could signal the end of his UFC run.
Interest Level: 5 of 10
The co-main event will finally see Marvin Vettori and Karl Roberson put hands on one another. The two men were initially set to fight at UFC Fight Night 173 last April before COVID-19 halted those plans. They were then rescheduled for UFC 249, but after Roberson missed weight and ultimately diagnosed rhabdomyolysis, the bout was canceled. The two men really have it our for one another, nearly coming to blows at the host hotel in Jacksonville, Fla. To heighten the tension, Roberson missed weight, yet again, which won’t sit too well with Vettori.
Also, Team Alpha Male (TAM) product, Andre Fili, will look to get back on track after losing to Sodiq Yusuff at UFC 246, snapping his three fight win streak in the process. In his way is Charles Jourdain, who is coming off an impressive knockout win over Doo Ho Choi.
The main event is a critical fight for both ladies, as Eye is looking to prove she isn’t done as a threat at 125 pounds, while Calvillo wants to put on an impressive performance and get back on Dana White’s radar as a potential star for the promotion. Only one can take that step forward, while the other will find herself in deep hole.
Enjoy the fights!
Full Fight Card:
UFC on ESPN 10 Main Event On ESPN/ESPN+:
125 lbs.: Jessica Eye vs. Cynthia Calvillo
UFC on ESPN 10 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori
155 lbs.: Kevin Aguilar vs. Charles Rosa
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Charles Jourdain
135 lbs.: Mark De La Rosa vs. Jordan Espinosa
UFC on ESPN 10 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Mariya Agapova vs. Hannah Cifers
140 lbs.: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Gustavo Lopez (Ray Borg scratched)
135 lbs.: Julia Avila vs. Gina Mazany
125 lbs.: Tyson Nam vs. Zarrukh Adashev
Jordan Griffin vs. Darrick Minner(CANCELED)
170 lbs.: Christian Aguilera vs. Anthony Ivy
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 10 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.
For the rest of the UFC on ESPN 10 fight card and line up click here.