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UFC on ESPN 10, The Morning After: Cynthia Calvillo helps, but women’s Flyweight still needs work

Here’s what you may have missed from last night!

UFC on ESPN 10 was not an event that will be remembered by most. Tyson Nam scored a tremendous knockout, there were several other quick finishes, and Andre Fili vs. Charles Jourdain was a very fun scrap. The only bout with immediate title ramifications, however, was the main event.

It just wasn’t a ton of fun.

That’s not Cynthia Calvillo’s problem. She performed well beyond expectations, utilizing her speed advantage to touch Jessica Eye with jabs, body shots, and left hooks. She moved in-and-out quite well, and her trip takedown succeeded far more often than not. Once on the mat, Calvillo proved her control just as impressive as her scrambles, locking down back mount for long periods of time.

It was very impressive work spread across five-rounds on short-notice. The women’s Flyweight division needed a new contender, and Calvillo’s performance filled that gap admirably. Next up is likely a title eliminator bout with Katlyn Chookagian, assuming UFC doesn’t just rush her to a title shot.

However, throughout the fight, one thought remained. Each time Eye plodded forward, threw a jab with zero hip commitment, or absorbed ANOTHER LEFT HIGH KICK as though it were invisible, the question popped back up.

Is this really the No.1-ranked contender at 125 lbs.? There’s no one better besides Valentina Shevchenko?

Unfortunately, Eye’s position atop all the other Flyweight contenders was earned. She has more Flyweight wins than anyone barring the champion, and they’re actually pretty good victories! Katlyn Chookagian is a solid fighter with an “L” on her resume thanks to “Evil,” and Eye’s most recent victory came against Viviane Araujo, who was briefly painted as the division’s future.

Eye earned her spot at the top, wherein lies the problem. Her performance last night proves a very bad look for the rest of the division. It highlights the absolutely massive gap between Shevchenko and anyone else who can make the weight.

There is, however, a silver lining. The 10th ranked Strawweight contender just moved up on short-notice and pretty easily handled Flyweight’s best non-Kyrgyzstani combatant. When the rankings are updated this week, Calvillo is guaranteed a spot in the top five and likely a title eliminator fight next. She scored a main event slot in her first fight at 125 lbs.

Clearly, there’s a lot to gain quickly at women’s Flyweight.

While that may not make an eventual Shevchenko title fight any easier, expect more Strawweights to follow Calvillo’s transition. None of this is to say Calvillo is the first former Strawweight to ease up on her weight cut, but the opportunity available has never been so clear! It only takes a couple wins to secure a title shot, which comes with financial and fame incentives.

It also comes with a chance of getting “Bullet-ed,” but hey, Weili Zhang isn’t looking like a cake walk either, and the road to her title is much more arduous.

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