Last weekend, UFC put on a highly lucrative and anticipated show with the headlining rematch between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Flyweight bout between Jessica ‘Evil’ Eye (15-9) and Joanne ‘Jo Jo’ Calderwood (15-5) was one of the fights on the undercard at UFC 257, and it was the latter who got the job done.
Earlier last year, Calderwood was ranked #3 in a prime position to challenge the champion of the flyweights Valentina Shevchenko. Unfortunately, the fight was cancelled as Shevchenko pulled out due to a leg injury.
While Calderwood was waiting for her title shot, she made the decision to fight with another top contender Jennifer Maia. As it happened, Maia won with an armbar submission in the final seconds of the first round. This immediate outcome could not have been worse for the Scotswoman, who now has to fight her way back into the top five contenders to get another shot at Shevchenko.
Last weekend’s performance against Jessica Eye has moved Calderwood to #6 and it shouldn’t be too long now before another title shot arises.
Coming into the morning bout in Abu Dhabi, the two fighters had some bad blood between them. The animosity boils down to a few Twitter digs and some alleged bullying behaviour around the Fight Island campus, but no more than that, it seems. Jessica Eye promised to be in the best shape of her career, declaring that she would have no excuses were Calderwood to beat her.
Both women are equally matched in age and height, though, Eye has a very slight reach advantage over Calderwood. Eye’s background in boxing was her main weapon for this bout and she landed some brutal body blows while in the clinch. But, in turn, she absorbed many vicious knees, bodykicks and even elbows each time the two broke out of a clinch.
Overall, Calderwood displayed the more impressive arsenal, utilising her Muay Thai ‘Art of Eight Limbs’ background. Both in close range and from a distance, Calderwood was able to gauge her range and land ceaseless strikes, in particular, low kicks and push kicks to the thigh, shin and body.
The most significant moment came in the form of a front kick square in Eye’s face at the beginning of the second round. Calderwood continued to pile on the damage to Eye’s face in round three, with nasty right hands that caused swelling and then a cut to open above Eye’s left brow.
The judges ruled a unanimous decision win for Joanne Caldwerwood, putting her back in talks with the UFC for a potential title shot at flyweight.
In her post-fight interview, Calderwood expressed she was willing to put in one or two more fights before facing the reigning champ.
The match-up between the two is incredibly exciting and promises to be one of the most exciting UFC fights in the works; both masters of Muay Thai, we can expect to see Calderwood showcase some of her groundwork against the champ whose takedowns are some of the scariest in the organisation.
Moreover, we can expect Calderwood’s overall game to improve dramatically as her recent move to Syndicate MMA Gym in Las Vegas has finally bestowed her with the female training partners she has always wished for.