Female Flyweights take center stage at UFC Apex this Saturday (June 13, 2020) when former title challenger Jessica Eye welcomes 115-pound standout Cynthia Calvillo to the weight class in a five-round main event. Before those two tussle, Marvin Vettori and Karl Roberson will finally have their long-delayed Middleweight showdown (not in a hotel lobby this time) and Ray Borg will attempt to rebound from his recent setback against Georgian takedown machine Merab Dvalishvili.
UFC on ESPN 10 will feature six “Prelims” undercard matches this time around; therefore, let’s chew on the first portion:
125 lbs.: Mariya Agapova vs. Hannah Cifers
Mariya Agapova (8-1) attempted to become the first Kazakhstani woman to join UFC by taking on Tracy Cortez on “Contender Series,” only to struggle with her opponent’s wrestling en route to a decision defeat. She then took her talents to Invicta, smashing Alexa Conners and Marilia Santos in a round apiece.
She has scored three wins each by knockout and submission.
“Shockwave” (10-5) rebounded from a UFC debut loss to Maycee Barber with consecutive victories over Polyana Viana and Jodie Esquibel, defying more than 2-to-1 odds against the former. She’s since dropped two straight, most recently tapping to a Mackenzie Dern kneebar less than two weeks ago.
She steps in for Melissa Gatto, who ran into travel restrictions, on five days’ notice.
If these two women were the same size, Cifers would have a real shot at derailing another young prospect. Agapova’s striking remains worryingly rough, and shifting gears from the grappling-happy Gatto to the power-punching Cifers with less than a week to adjust preparations can’t be easy. Unfortunately for Cifers, they’re not the same size; Agapova will have five inches of height and a brutal eight inches of reach on her.
Cifers still has the edge in kickboxing technique and could theoretically still hold her own on the feet, but she’s going to have a far harder time hurting Agapova than vice-versa. Power and aggression carry the day for the Kazakh youngster.
Prediction: Agapova via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Anthony Ivy vs. Christian Aguilera
After winning and twice defending the Fury FC Welterweight title, Anthony Ivy (8-2) took his talents to WXC, where he pounded out champion Willis Black to add another belt to his collection. He answered the call to face Gerald Meerschaert last Saturday when Ian Heinisch’s cornerman tested positive for COVID-19, but wound up being unnecessary after said cornerman was cleared.
He has knocked out five opponents and submitted another three.
A three-fight knockout streak carried Christian Aguilera (13-6) to a pair of LFA main events, where he fell short against Matthew Frincu and UFC veteran David Michaud. He bounced back with a knockout in another organization, then survived a late scare to take a decision over Eliziario on a January LFA card.
He gives up five inches of height and three inches of reach to “Aquaman.”
This fight will be as easy or as difficult as Ivy, who holds a considerable wrestling edge, decides to make it. If he focuses on maintaining top control and unleashing his powerful ground-and-pound, he should cruise past Aguilera without issue, as “The Beast” struggles to offer any meaningful resistance off of his back. If Ivy showcases his usual disregard for position or indulges in his strange obsession with losing back mount going for armbars, the heavy-handed Aguilera has the tools to violently punish “Aquaman’s” limited standup.
While Aguilera’s power is a concern, Ivy’s indefatigable pursuit of the takedown and seemingly bottomless gas tank mean Aguilera will only have seconds of each round to find that game-changing blow. So long as Ivy just sticks to pounding his head into the dirt and not compromising position in pursuit of submissions, he pounds Aguilera out sometime in the second or third.
Prediction: Ivy via second-round technical knockout
For more UFC on ESPN 10 “Prelims” fights remain to preview and predict, including a fun Featherweight brawl and the latest from top women’s Bantamweight prospect Julia Avila. Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 10 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 10: “Eye vs. Calvillo” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.